A black and white drawing of a rock formation.

Continuous compliance is the practice of ensuring that you’re properly adhering to the compliance standards you’ve committed to on an ongoing basis, as opposed to just at the time of audit. This practice involves monitoring your compliance status at all times and resolving any issues that arise in a timely manner. 

The need for continuous compliance

OCEG’s GRC maturity model considers continuous compliance an integral part of GRC maturity. In its five-level model, the most mature GRC strategies establish a state of continuous improvement. Below are some of the benefits for obtaining a state of continuous compliance:

  • Optimized resource management: Continuous compliance enables your team to address compliance gaps as they arise. Often at the time of an audit, there are several gaps that need to be addressed urgently, which requires significant time and resources.
  • Less manual monitoring: Automated monitoring via a continuous compliance platform can check your systems for compliance gaps on a daily basis, without costing your team hours of time each week.
  • Fewer errors: Automated monitoring can also reduce the possibility of human error, making your compliance monitoring more accurate.
  • Reduce risks of noncompliance: Continuous compliance makes your program more reliable, ensures that you’ll pass your audit,  and reduces the risk of incurring fines, penalties, and other consequences for unaddressed compliance gaps.
  • Reputational benefits: A strong compliance program can help you earn trust with prospects and customers, which can have a positive impact on your bottom line. 

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What does a continuous compliance program include?

As you start planning your continuous compliance program, you’ll want to identify the processes you can automate to ensure your program is consistently continuous. Your program should include these aspects of continuous compliance:

A grid with the 6 aspects of continuous compliance

  • Vulnerability management: Vulnerabilities present opportunities for hackers to gain access to your systems and data. Automate your vulnerability monitoring as part of your compliance program so that you can address these dangerous vulnerabilities as they arise. 
  • Policy management: Many frameworks require you to have certain policies in place. Continuous policy management includes monitoring policy acceptance and adherence, screening these policies for any missing clauses or documents, and reviewing your policies regularly.
  • Vendor management: As part of your program, establish automated monitoring of your vendor contracts for security and privacy commitments and look for compliance gaps in your vendor management, such as unaddressed risks.
  • Data management: Data management in a continuous compliance program involves having security controls that ensure the privacy and integrity of your data at all times to make sure your data is always available to those who need it.
  • Risk management: As part of your program, you’ll need to continuously monitor for  new risks or risk changes. Risk management compliance requires you to identify, analyze, and minimize risks that could affect your business on a regular basis.
  • Incident management: Your continuous compliance program should include a strategic incident response plan, practices for ongoing incident monitoring, and methods for measuring and optimizing your incident response plan.

Best practices for achieving continuous compliance

Now you’re ready to start building a continuous compliance program. Follow these strategies and tips to help you achieve continuous compliance:

Use multi-functional continuous compliance software

Compliance software is the foundation of your continuous compliance program. These platforms offer features specifically to enable continuous compliance, such as:

  • Continuous monitoring for compliance gaps
  • Constant security monitoring
  • Real-time visibility via a unified platform
  • Automated audit preparation
  • A repository for security documents 
  • Guided risk management and alerts 
  • Automated vendor reviews
  • Reporting on the overall compliance program

Integrate compliance into your onboarding process

Many standards and regulations require you to have policies that all employees must follow and training that each employee must complete. To ensure that your team-related compliance tasks are complete, make these requirements a part of your onboarding processes.

Implement routine, regimented policy reviews

Continuous compliance also provides an opportunity for continuous improvement. Create a routine of reviewing policies and practices on a regular basis. This could be something as simple as setting up a quarterly calendar reminder to review policies, determine how well these policies are performing, and make any necessary improvements.

Make vendor management a priority

Each vendor you use presents a certain amount of risk to your business. Establish practices to review the vendors you use on a regular basis, monitoring for issues like breach of contract, security risks, and any other potential risks.

 

Use strong data protection practices

As part of your continuous compliance, strengthen your data protection through controls like classification and encryption, security risk management practices, and developing business continuity plans that enable your business to continue operations in the event of a breach.

Create an incident review process

While continuous compliance will reduce the likelihood of an incident, your program should set up a way for you to learn from any incidents that do occur. Establish a process that you follow after an incident has been resolved to investigate the root cause and put systems in place to prevent future issues.

How Vanta enables continuous compliance  

It’s important to choose the right tools to get to a state of continuous compliance. These tools should make managing your program easier and more sustainable as your business grows. 

Vanta’s trust management platform allows you to streamline your compliance program as you scale your business. With Vanta, you can automate your compliance across multiple frameworks, centralize your risk management, and streamline your security reviews. Schedule a demo with our team to see if a trust management platform is right for your compliance program.

{{cta_testimonial2}}

Compliance

What is continuous compliance?

A black and white drawing of a rock formation.

Continuous compliance is the practice of ensuring that you’re properly adhering to the compliance standards you’ve committed to on an ongoing basis, as opposed to just at the time of audit. This practice involves monitoring your compliance status at all times and resolving any issues that arise in a timely manner. 

The need for continuous compliance

OCEG’s GRC maturity model considers continuous compliance an integral part of GRC maturity. In its five-level model, the most mature GRC strategies establish a state of continuous improvement. Below are some of the benefits for obtaining a state of continuous compliance:

  • Optimized resource management: Continuous compliance enables your team to address compliance gaps as they arise. Often at the time of an audit, there are several gaps that need to be addressed urgently, which requires significant time and resources.
  • Less manual monitoring: Automated monitoring via a continuous compliance platform can check your systems for compliance gaps on a daily basis, without costing your team hours of time each week.
  • Fewer errors: Automated monitoring can also reduce the possibility of human error, making your compliance monitoring more accurate.
  • Reduce risks of noncompliance: Continuous compliance makes your program more reliable, ensures that you’ll pass your audit,  and reduces the risk of incurring fines, penalties, and other consequences for unaddressed compliance gaps.
  • Reputational benefits: A strong compliance program can help you earn trust with prospects and customers, which can have a positive impact on your bottom line. 

{{cta_withimage1}}

What does a continuous compliance program include?

As you start planning your continuous compliance program, you’ll want to identify the processes you can automate to ensure your program is consistently continuous. Your program should include these aspects of continuous compliance:

A grid with the 6 aspects of continuous compliance

  • Vulnerability management: Vulnerabilities present opportunities for hackers to gain access to your systems and data. Automate your vulnerability monitoring as part of your compliance program so that you can address these dangerous vulnerabilities as they arise. 
  • Policy management: Many frameworks require you to have certain policies in place. Continuous policy management includes monitoring policy acceptance and adherence, screening these policies for any missing clauses or documents, and reviewing your policies regularly.
  • Vendor management: As part of your program, establish automated monitoring of your vendor contracts for security and privacy commitments and look for compliance gaps in your vendor management, such as unaddressed risks.
  • Data management: Data management in a continuous compliance program involves having security controls that ensure the privacy and integrity of your data at all times to make sure your data is always available to those who need it.
  • Risk management: As part of your program, you’ll need to continuously monitor for  new risks or risk changes. Risk management compliance requires you to identify, analyze, and minimize risks that could affect your business on a regular basis.
  • Incident management: Your continuous compliance program should include a strategic incident response plan, practices for ongoing incident monitoring, and methods for measuring and optimizing your incident response plan.

Best practices for achieving continuous compliance

Now you’re ready to start building a continuous compliance program. Follow these strategies and tips to help you achieve continuous compliance:

Use multi-functional continuous compliance software

Compliance software is the foundation of your continuous compliance program. These platforms offer features specifically to enable continuous compliance, such as:

  • Continuous monitoring for compliance gaps
  • Constant security monitoring
  • Real-time visibility via a unified platform
  • Automated audit preparation
  • A repository for security documents 
  • Guided risk management and alerts 
  • Automated vendor reviews
  • Reporting on the overall compliance program

Integrate compliance into your onboarding process

Many standards and regulations require you to have policies that all employees must follow and training that each employee must complete. To ensure that your team-related compliance tasks are complete, make these requirements a part of your onboarding processes.

Implement routine, regimented policy reviews

Continuous compliance also provides an opportunity for continuous improvement. Create a routine of reviewing policies and practices on a regular basis. This could be something as simple as setting up a quarterly calendar reminder to review policies, determine how well these policies are performing, and make any necessary improvements.

Make vendor management a priority

Each vendor you use presents a certain amount of risk to your business. Establish practices to review the vendors you use on a regular basis, monitoring for issues like breach of contract, security risks, and any other potential risks.

 

Use strong data protection practices

As part of your continuous compliance, strengthen your data protection through controls like classification and encryption, security risk management practices, and developing business continuity plans that enable your business to continue operations in the event of a breach.

Create an incident review process

While continuous compliance will reduce the likelihood of an incident, your program should set up a way for you to learn from any incidents that do occur. Establish a process that you follow after an incident has been resolved to investigate the root cause and put systems in place to prevent future issues.

How Vanta enables continuous compliance  

It’s important to choose the right tools to get to a state of continuous compliance. These tools should make managing your program easier and more sustainable as your business grows. 

Vanta’s trust management platform allows you to streamline your compliance program as you scale your business. With Vanta, you can automate your compliance across multiple frameworks, centralize your risk management, and streamline your security reviews. Schedule a demo with our team to see if a trust management platform is right for your compliance program.

{{cta_testimonial2}}

Scaling your compliance doesn't have to SOC 2 much.

Learn how to add new frameworks to your compliance program without adding to your workload.

Scaling your compliance doesn't have to SOC 2 much.

Learn how to add new frameworks to your compliance program without adding to your workload.

Scaling your compliance doesn't have to SOC 2 much.

Learn how to add new frameworks to your compliance program without adding to your workload.

Without Vanta, we’d be looking at hiring another person to handle all the work that an audit and its preparation creates.”

Willem Riehl, Director of Information Security and Acting CISO | CoachHub

Role:GRC responsibilities:
Board of directors
Central to the overarching GRC strategy, this group sets the direction for the compliance strategy. They determine which standards and regulations are necessary for compliance and align the GRC strategy with business objectives.
Chief financial officerPrimary responsibility for the success of the GRC program and for reporting results to the board.
Operations managers from relevant departmentsThis group owns processes. They are responsible for the success and direction of risk management and compliance within their departments.
Representatives from relevant departments
These are the activity owners. These team members are responsible for carrying out specific compliance and risk management tasks within their departments and for integrating these tasks into their workflows.
Contract managers from relevant department
These team members are responsible for managing interactions with vendors and other third parties in their department to ensure all risk management and compliance measures are being taken.
Chief information security officer (CISO)Defines the organization’s information security policy, designs risk and vulnerability assessments, and develops information security policies.
Data protection officer (DPO) or legal counselDevelops goals for data privacy based on legal regulations and other compliance needs, designs and implements privacy policies and practices, and assesses these practices for effectiveness.
GRC leadResponsible for overseeing the execution of the GRC program in collaboration with the executive team as well as maintaining the organization’s library of security controls.
Cybersecurity analyst(s)Implements and monitors cybersecurity measures that are in line with the GRC program and business objectives.
Compliance analyst(s)Monitors the organization’s compliance with all regulations and standards necessary, identifies any compliance gaps, and works to mitigate them.
Risk analyst(s)Carries out the risk management program for the organization and serves as a resource for risk management across various departments, including identifying, mitigating, and monitoring risks.
IT security specialist(s)Implements security controls within the IT system in coordination with the cybersecurity analyst(s).

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