A robust IT infrastructure that does not compromise on compliance is an organization’s ticket to keeping stakeholders and regulators happy. Complex IT environments expose enterprises to a myriad risks and threats that can throw a wrench in business operations and directly impact organizational performance. There is also the issue of ensuring internal compliance with departmental and corporate policies, and external compliance with the regulatory requirements in the industry.
Implementing the following 5 critical steps can help businesses ensure an effective IT infrastructure compliance:
- Get IT GRC policies right: Organizations need well-defined policies to drive their IT governance, risk and compliance (GRC) journey. Formulating integrated policies, implementing them as a series of steps, and monitoring them through checkpoints can help tighten governance and mitigate risks. IT GRC policies need to be implemented consistently across a spectrum of activities such as IT asset tracking, control and risk management, auditing and reporting, and incident and threat management. It is also essential to effectively map corporate and departmental policies to strong controls.
- Embrace effective IT GRC technology: The effectiveness of an IT infrastructure compliance strategy hinges on the efficient use of a proven IT GRC platform. Such a platform can help businesses breathe easy by streamlining GRC processes, simplifying compliance, and reducing the cost of compliance. A sophisticated technology solution for ensuring compliance also provides clear visibility into key risk indicators (KRIs), risk assessment results and compliance activities across the enterprise. However, organizations need to factor in domain specific integration points and trends such as Big Data analytics while choosing an effective IT GRC platform.
- Achieve risk mastery: To achieve complete control in handling enterprise-wide risks, organizations need to focus on the way IT is governed and operated. While Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is considered the standard IT operations framework, GRC compliance tools can leverage ITSM activities from incident, change and configuration repositories to help organizations baseline processes and track exceptions. Another key imperative is implementing the right risk metrics to measure and upgrade risk practices. Ensuring that senior management has clear visibility and understanding of risks goes a long way in achieving IT GRC objectives.
- Meet the mark with process efficiency: As part of the IT infrastructure compliance strategy, it is important to leverage an integrated compliance framework to standardize and connect disparate processes. Many organizations manage governance, risk and compliance initiatives in silos, with dozens of systems performing the same set of functions. However, as risk and compliance initiatives become more intertwined across the organization, an integrated GRC framework can improve processes and reduce redundancies, resulting in lower costs.
- Stay safe with regular audits: The security, integrity and availability of systems and applications can be ensured through regular audits. A well streamlined audit management strategy also helps ascertain and ensure that IT infrastructure is in sync with industry specific compliance requirements. For instance, PCI and SOX in the finance industry, and HIPAA in the healthcare industry. By automating auditing, testing, measurement and reporting of IT controls, organizations can easily identify compliance issues, and realize further efficiencies and cost savings.
Becoming compliance ready
Compliance is all about demonstrating corporate accountability. Establishing well thought out IT infrastructure compliance processes and policies, guided by a clear understanding of emerging internal and external requirements, is a fail safe way of achieving this. Success will also depend on how well businesses are able to embed a culture of compliance across the enterprise, ensuring the support of all key stakeholders in driving the GRC mission.