How to Verify That Compliance Controls and Processes are Being Met

Compliance is a complex, ongoing process. Between deciphering requirements into relatable terms, allocating a budget, and  assembling a team for your compliance audit — all while trying to stay focused on running your business — there’s a lot to think about and do. And after all of this, there is still more that needs to be managed.

From regular maintenance of the processes, controls, and technology you implemented, to questions from customers about your level of compliance, you’ll quickly realize that compliance is a continuous process that needs to be managed, not a one-and-done activity.

Having said that, what are you doing, or going to do, to make your compliance plan accessible so team members — from Security to IT to Sales — can quickly verify a control or process?

To help you answer that question, here are three ways you can verify that compliance controls and processes are continuously being met:  

1. Mandate Weekly Team Reporting

The same stakeholders who were involved in the audit itself should be responsible for reporting on their team’s implementation and adherence to their respective controls and processes.

Whether it’s the IT team lead reporting on the status of the workstation security policy for new and departing employees or the engineering team lead implementing and conducting regular training on emergency mode operation plans, these leaders should be accountable for reporting back.

One way to do this is to schedule a weekly compliance reporting meeting. A weekly cadence ensures that issues won’t go on too long, but not often enough that the meeting becomes a burden. Of course, you don’t want to hold meetings for the sake of holding them, but these can be kept short, and are a valuable opportunity for team members to talk through any concerns, verify that current processes are working, plan for any upcoming compliance events, and discuss changes to compliance-regulated services or environments.

2. Develop an Internal Dashboard

You can also develop a dashboard that maps each compliance regulation or framework (e.g., HIPAA, PCI DSS, ISO 27001, etc.) to its controls and the systems and processes that address them. It can be very helpful to have a single pane of glass view into everything you’re required to uphold.

This can be done in a simple spreadsheet, of course, although the task of providing meaningful and up-to-date information would require a commitment to making regular manual updates. Be sure to map your systems and processes to this dashboard so you can verify on an ongoing basis which ones address which requirement and their effectiveness.

3. Leverage Automated Reporting

The truth is, 99.9 percent of the time, your security and development personnel are far too busy to create and manually manage a dashboard.

A much better approach is to look to a security platform that will report on the effectiveness of your compliance controls and processes for you.

Compliance reporting is an integral part of  Threat Stack’s Cloud Security Platform®, which means that you can receive daily reports on the status of internal controls and processes that address a number of key compliance requirements. This ranges from the monitoring of login activity to the alerting of unauthorized exposure of data, and much more. Since Threat Stack is installed at the host level, the agent can provide a continuous view across your entire network and is able to quickly ascertain whether things are running as planned or whether there are issues that need to be addressed. Threat Stack also enables the monitoring of AWS cloud infrastructure through a variety of deep integrations with Amazon services.

The Threat Stack reports will tell you what happened, giving you a continuous look at how you’re meeting any number of compliance requirements, and where opportunities for improvement to maintain compliance lie.

If you’re in the midst of a compliance audit and are looking for a solution that meets a broad range of compliance requirements, from monitoring to threat intelligence to compliance reporting, the Threat Stack Cloud Security Platform® could be exactly what you need.

For more on compliance best practices, be sure to download The Threat Stack Compliance Playbook for Cloud Infrastructure.