Regulatory compliance exists to safeguard the well-being of all parties involved with an organization, including customers and employees. Since poor compliance poses various risks, regulatory bodies enforce it in a strict manner. Maintaining proper records is a critical aspect of any compliance program. Compliance documentation plays a huge role in ensuring compliance and providing evidence to relevant authorities.
In this blog, we’ll discuss different aspects of compliance documentation and how it plays a critical role in building your security posture.
What is compliance documentation?
Compliance documentation refers to specific records and reports of information required to verify the implementation of a compliance program. Companies use compliance documentation to successfully implement their compliance program and provide evidence to agencies to show that they are adhering to the required laws and regulations.
For instance, if there is a requirement for annual security training for employees in your compliance program, your training documents about various policies, procedures and guidelines can provide adequate evidence that your employees are receiving training. Similarly, various documents, such as security audits reports, mitigation strategies, SOPs, etc., can also be used to establish compliance.
What is the importance of compliance documentation?
Compliance is a delicate process. However, it is extremely essential to the security of an organization. Besides, non-compliance can also attract heavy fines and penalties from regulatory agencies. Without proper documentation, you will not have the proper framework to establish compliance, and the overall process becomes tedious as well as inefficient.
How does documentation support the compliance process?
Documentation can help you establish a database with all the vital details required for compliance. The more streamlined your compliance documentation is, the higher the chance of completing your compliance audit on time. Compliance is an elaborate process and documenting your steps can bring clarity and ensure consistency.
In addition to fines and penalties, poor documentation can also compromise the security of your IT infrastructure. With documentation, you will have better insights into security controls and risks. This will help you build policies specific to your requirements. Most importantly, it will also help you establish the framework for compliance.
What is a compliance documentation framework?
There are certain guidelines that must be followed when implementing a compliance program in your organization. This requires a proper compliance documentation framework. You can use this framework to bring together multiple documentation processes and implement them together.
To do this right, you need to document all processes, procedures and guidelines in your organization. When you have a well-maintained framework for implementing a compliance program, companies can easily adhere to various legal regulations and operate their business seamlessly.
As part of building your compliance documentation framework, you need to first determine the information to be documented, how it should be documented and who can access that information. Once these processes are determined, you can bring consistency to your compliance documentation.
What should compliance documentation include?
To stay compliant with various regulations, you must understand the factors that need to be documented. This will help you secure your IT infrastructure and avoid hefty fines for non-compliance.
The following list will help you with your compliance documentation:
Regulatory policies and procedures
Various data privacy laws have different procedures and policies that must be incorporated correctly to ensure compliance. You need to identify the policies and procedures relevant to your business and document them. A detailed policy statement outlining your services can be helpful when determining your regulatory policy framework.
Employee and associate compliance training
Maintaining a culture of compliance requires periodic training of your employees. All your employees should be provided with basic training on security. One of your staff members must be appointed as a compliance or security officer to ensure everything is well documented.
Data security and access controls
Data security is one of the critical aspects of compliance. When documenting your data security information, it should include details about people who have access to data, systems and networks. Your documentation should include details about best practices for security, hardware controls, software controls and more.
Remediations and assessments
How do you plan on tackling an issue you find in your IT network? Your documentation should also focus on remediation plans to address issues identified in your IT audits.
Reporting and investigations
When incorporating security control, you are likely to witness incidents and issues periodically. Do you have a way to document them all and include them in your investigations? You need to track and document all these incidents to create incident reports.
Personal privacy rights and data controls
Under many data privacy laws, customers have the right to access their personal data whenever they want. You need to implement systems in place to ensure your customers can easily request their data. To incorporate this successfully, you need to document all relevant customer data, update it when required and ensure data security.
Recovery plans and processes
In certain situations, cyberattacks are unavoidable. In such scenarios, your key employees should know exactly what to do. You also need to set up a recovery plan and share it with all the concerned stakeholders. With a well-documented disaster recovery plan, you can minimize the extent of the compromise and resume all halted operations immediately.
What are the benefits of compliance documentation?
Documenting every step of your compliance program can help in its proper implementation and bring consistency to your process. Most importantly, it can help you build a strong security posture that can prevent various cyberattacks. Let’s look at some of the key benefits of compliance documentation.
Process logging and improvement
Bringing documentation structure to your compliance process can result in incremental improvement over time. You will have proper information about various aspects of compliance and security. Most importantly, you will have an idea of what has worked and what hasn’t. This brings consistency and efficiency to your compliance management process.
By clearly documenting your compliance process and sharing it with your team members, you can eliminate information silos in your organization. This helps improve collaboration within your team. Without this consistent information, your employees will follow random processes that provide inconsistent results.
Increased operational efficiency
Documentation and efficiency always go hand in hand. With clear information on what has worked, you can resolve issues faster. When you are working on a specific issue, you can access documentation to gather all relevant information about that issue. This helps finish your work at a much faster rate.
Boosted growth and profitability
When you glean all the benefits of compliance documentation, growth and profitability are inevitable. Smart documentation will provide you with access to all critical information, which helps you scale effectively. In the long run, efficiency and scalability will drive profits.
Proactive security culture
When you have access to all relevant information, you can immediately move from being reactive to proactive. Most importantly, documentation can bring awareness about cybersecurity throughout your organization. With a better emphasis on security, you can develop a proactive security culture.
Superior compliance documentation with IT Glue
IT Glue is one of the top players in the industry when it comes to cloud-based IT documentation. Our automated documentation solution can help you document all aspects of compliance including training materials, security audits, policies, procedures and more. By keeping your documentation up to date and sharing it with your team members through IT Glue, you can build a strong compliance program in your organization.
IT Glue’s SOC 2-compliant documentation platform features an immutable audit trail, multifactor authentication and next-generation password management engine, all of which are fully integrated and linked with all your compliance documentation.
To learn more about how IT Glue can help you with compliance, request a demo.