3 Key Steps for Creating a Unified Control Framework to Simplify Compliance
Heavily regulated organizations like those in the healthcare technology and financial technology (Fintech) fields must manage multiple compliance requirements from various federal, state, local and private bodies. Then consider the need and convenience of outsourcing tasks like cloud storage, and you’ll soon see that businesses in nearly every industry need to devote some quality time to sorting out all the necessary risk assessments.
Are Your Risk Assessments Out of Control?
Are you finding it increasingly challenging to manage your organization’s risk assessments? Depending on how many your company must perform, there is a good chance they have begun to monopolize a good portion of your workload.
Once you feel like you’ve caught up and mapped out every possible regulation for which your organization is possible, you suddenly come across something else. It is easy to feel like you’re chasing your own tail and worry that you may miss out on a crucial and costly regulation.
Other Major Frameworks Set a Great Precedent for Creating a Unified Control Framework
If you work in the healthcare industry, you are probably familiar with the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) and its Common Security Framework (CSF). The HITRUST group banded together to create, develop and maintain the CSF, which served to harmonize the many and varied requirements regarding multiple regulations and standards in and related to the healthcare industry.
The HITRUST recognized that healthcare organizations were continually fielding new and updated regulations, standards and policies—necessarily so with the vital need to protect patient data in the digital age—and needed a single unifying framework to help manage everything for success for everyone.
You can certainly follow the HITRUST lead on a relative scale for your own organization by creating a unified control framework. By designing a framework, unique to your business’s scale and all necessary compliance, you can manage your ever-rising stack of risk assessments with less worry.
What Are Some Additional Benefits of Creating Your Own Unified Control Framework?
With a unified control framework, you and your compliance team will no longer need to manage each requirement individually, trying to constantly keep up with the mapping process for each specific compliance requirement. You will be able to see everything at a glance, picking out potential conflicting risk assessment dates and planning accordingly. You can also make scheduling arrangements with your auditing team with plenty of advanced notice.
Basically, by investing your resources in creating a unified control framework, you stand to save costs and reduce stress for yourself and everyone on your compliance team.
In case you need more evidence that a unified control framework is a good idea, there are many:
• Scales all compliance management into one set of controls.
• Easy to identify the owner of each process.
• Concentrates on a well-designed set of processes that apply to all regulations instead of meeting a specific set of compliance requirements.
• Allows for a consistent communications mechanism when working with business partners and outside auditors.
• Helps businesses of every size—from small-to-mid-sized businesses to multinationals—meet regulatory compliance.
3 Key Steps for Creating a Unified Control Framework to Simply Compliance
Now that you are ready to create your unified control framework, you may wonder how to get started. Review these three steps to help develop your strategy to come up with the framework that will ensure success for every risk assessment:
Build or Gather Your Compliance Team
If you haven’t yet built a compliance team for your organization, this is the time to do so. This step is particularly important if you receive mandates from several different types of regulatory bodies. A financial institution, for example, needs to comply with things like the Fintech-specific Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), as well as the broad-reaching General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For some companies, two different compliance officers may handle each of those regulations, so you want to make sure you have all information resources available to create your unified control framework.
Examine and Define Your Regulatory Responsibilities
With your compliance team at your side, you can examine all of your organization’s regulatory responsibilities. Once you have gathered and examined each regulation, set definitions that might include each regulation’s primary purpose, a control identification number, criteria, criteria details, risk assessment dates, enforcement deadlines and more.
Enlist Your Auditing Team to Help
Your auditing team might have already helped another company—or perhaps several companies—create their own unified control framework. Even if they haven’t yet worked with a client to build a framework, your auditing firm is a prime resource for building your own since they have historical knowledge and records of all of your risk assessments over the years. Together, you can create a framework and set goals to make sure you are in sync to hit all risk assessment deadlines.
Are You Ready to Start Your Unified Control Framework Project?
Now that you know all the benefits and have a few ideas on creating your own unified control framework, are you ready to get started? It is a big project that offers even bigger rewards, but the upfront commitment can seem overwhelming.
At I.S. Partners, LLC., we understand how difficult it is to carve out the time to take on this crucial task. We can help ease the process for you while making sure you get the framework you need to make sure your risk assignments run smoothly and that you are always in compliance for every regulation.