The financial industry is currently facing many challenges. One of the biggest is preparing for Basel III, and another is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, which has nearly 400 specific requirements that need to be met.
The regulatory landscape is complex; a recent survey of more than 360 enterprises revealed that 86% are dealing with the complexity of multiple types of data and/or data-related processes subject to privacy and security compliance requirements. Just 61% say that their organisations are compliant.
However, companies are spending more on compliance. According to Thomson Reuters, six in 10 (61%) of senior compliance staff at financial firms worldwide expect that their total compliance budget will increase slightly or significantly over the next year.
To combat these complexities and the shortage of available compliance experts, many financial and legal companies are opting for outsourcing. One in four (24%) of the financial firms surveyed by Thomson Reuters said that they outsource all or part of their compliance functionality.
Technology is part of this. IT is a key enabler in achieving compliance functions and cloud technology, for example, can help eliminate some of the burden that comes with this through the elimination of hardware limitations.
Achieving continuous compliance
Achieving compliance is an ever-present goal that influences operations, decision-making and success. But as new technologies emerge, businesses transform, and markets evolve, compliance efforts may become undone. Only a continuous approach can prevent this from happening.
Using cloud technology to monitor and control IT compliance offers a tremendous amount of transparency: being able to audit, query, alert and resolve any cloud infrastructure changes through virtual means is an incredibly powerful tool to have. It can also deliver significant cost savings and streamline workflows through automating certain processes, simplifying reporting, and cutting down on the number of compliance and reporting tools needed.
A cloud-based platform can enable a business to integrate all its relevant compliance-based data and information into a single view, thanks to the ability to consolidate their existing management tools and their respective data sources. An intuitive compliance dashboard can also enable automation and manual remediation to fix non-conformities and further prevent breaches — therefore, maintaining and building on your progress through the continuous compliance journey.
The use of cloud technology also allows organisations to continually track their infrastructures and trigger instant alerts when necessary. Using pre-defined rules and the ability to add bespoke policies, a cloud-based platform can continuously pull information and check it against the controls it has in place to identify any instances of non-conformities, which makes it simpler for any issues to be audited and resolved.
Compliance is not a race that is run once. Financial institutions need to change their mindset to one of attaining continuous compliance. Only then can they capitalise on all the benefits that cloud, and other new technologies have to offer.
While there are indeed technical and security-related obstacles to consider, the advantages that cloud technology has to offer from a compliance perspective certainly outweighs anything else. Businesses have already realised its potential in reducing operational complexities, and these benefits can also be transferred to the world of continuous IT compliance.
By Robin Ferris, Solutions Architect, Pulsant
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