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5 Key Takeaways from the 2022 Compliance Benchmark Report

5 Key Takeaways from the 2022 Compliance Benchmark Report

Blog Article Published: 12/28/2022

Originally published by A-LIGN.

Written by Patrick Sullivan, A-LIGN.

Our 2022 Compliance Benchmark Report detailed how organizations are navigating the current compliance landscape, as well as how they are preparing for the future. By surveying more than 200 cybersecurity, IT, quality assurance, internal audit, finance, and other professionals, we learned how organizations make their compliance programs run smoothly and efficiently, along with where there may be areas for improvement for businesses of all sizes and across all industries.

Here are five compliance management key takeaways from the 2022 Compliance Benchmark Report that you can use to improve your organization’s compliance program.

Key Takeaway #1: Develop a Ransomware Preparedness Plan

Organizations across all industries have concerns about the increased number of cyberattacks worldwide. In fact, a full 83% of survey respondents said they believe they would be impacted by an attack on critical infrastructure.

The heightened concern for ransomware attacks has caused many organizations to dedicate more time and effort to create a strategy to prevent attacks and reduce the potential damage if — or more likely, when — an attack does occur. Our 2022 Compliance Benchmark Survey found that 40% of organizations are planning to develop a ransomware preparedness plan this year. To learn more about what organizations are doing to prepare for — and prevent — ransomware attacks, read our blog post with additional survey data about this key takeaway.

Key Takeaway #2: Implement a Zero Trust Architecture

Zero trust is an IT security model that focuses on restricting information access within an organization to only those who need it. The zero-trust approach is to assume that threat actors are present both inside and outside an organization, meaning no users or machines are trusted by default.

When it comes to zero-trust adoption, our survey found that 73% of organizations with $50M – $1B in annual revenue agree/strongly agree about the need to adopt a zero trust security strategy. That number dropped significantly to 45% for companies with less than $5M in revenue. Larger companies may believe they are a top target for cybersecurity attacks, causing them to take initiative and further protect their systems and information.

However, it is essential for all organizations to implement a zero trust architecture. As overhauling a business’ network infrastructure is a very disruptive task, it’s important to troubleshoot possible scenarios that may occur during the implementation process before you begin. To learn more about how to implement zero trust at your organization, read our blog post about the recommended steps to take.

Key Takeaway #3: Simplify Compliance Audits with an Audit Consolidation Strategy

Completing multiple security audits is one of the most surefire ways to find gaps in protection. However, with so many worthwhile audits to pursue, it can be difficult to manage multiple workstreams and keep track of varying control elements.

Audit consolidation — or, conducting audits in tandem as a singular annual event — is a simple way for organizations to maximize both cost and time efficiency.

One of the biggest findings we uncovered during our research is that even though 85% of organizations conduct more than one audit every year, only 15% of the same organizations have consolidated their audits down to a single, annual event.

Read more about audit consolidation strategies, and how you can strategically manage resources within your business, here.

Key Takeaway #4: Move from Tactical to Strategic Compliance

Even with frequent economic turmoil, organizations will continue to prioritize their dedication to cybersecurity, investing in measures that prove an organization’s commitment to cybersecurity.

Our team found that SOC 2 is the report or certification that helped close the most deals, as it is the most requested report or certification by clients. That may be the reason why 67% of our survey respondents said they were either currently completing a SOC 2 audit or had one scheduled within the next year.

Compliance audits and attestations continue to be valuable differentiators for organizations looking to attract new customers. Read more about how organizations are using audits and attestations to increase revenue, garner new business, and stand out from the competition.

Key Takeaway #5: Streamline Compliance with Auditor-Assisted Software

One of the most significant changes we saw in this year’s report was the large increase in the number of organizations using technology to assist compliance efforts. In 2021, only 25% of organizations we surveyed used software to prepare for their audits and assessments. But in 2022, that number skyrocketed to 72%.

The two main reasons for this dramatic increase are:

  • Increased awareness of compliance-related software.
  • A rise in auditor adoption and advocacy of compliance software.

Compliance software allows companies to do more with less, streamlining the audit process and helping organizations overcome stressful resource deficits. Get up to speed on how companies are using this technology to assist compliance efforts, and how you can implement auditor-assisted software in future assessments.

Start the New Year with Proactive Compliance Management

Our annual compliance benchmark report provides a pulse on compliance and cybersecurity trends across industries and organizations. To see how your organization’s compliance protocols compare to others, fill out our 2023 Compliance Benchmark Survey and keep an eye out for our 2023 report coming in Spring 2023.

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