A compliance gap analysis is an assessment of the existing policies and procedures of an organization on the basis of relevant regulations or standards. Stakeholders can orient a gap analysis towards compliance with governmental regulations or data privacy and security standards depending on the industry in which an organization operates. Find out more about compliance and security gap analysis and how to use these methods to identify measures necessary for conformance.
Performing a gap analysis can be the best way to determine whether processes and systems meet regulatory requirements or voluntary standards. By comparing existing controls to specifications, stakeholders canidentify and addresscompliance gaps.
In the financial services sector, gap analysis can promote conformity with requirements for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, the Compliance Rule for companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or other financial rules.
Gap analyses that focus on security can be useful for organizations that handle sensitive personally identifiable information or protected health information. A gap analysis of cyber security could reference the International Organization for Standardization 27001 standard, the SOC 2 standard developed by the American Institute of CPAs or frameworks developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
A compliance gap analysis specifically refers to regulatory standards. Noncompliance with government regulations can cause an organization to incur liability or be subject to fines and penalties. A gap analysis for security focuses on standards that could make an organization vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.
The controls or standards used to set target objectives differentiate the various types of gap analysis. Frameworks for analyzing gaps in compliance could include governmental regulations such as the global PCI DSS requirements to accept payment cards, the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and SEC rules in the United States.
Some of the most relevant security frameworks include HITRUST, ISO 27001, SOC 2 and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. While the leading security standards can be voluntary, organizations that process or store sensitive data can better manage exposure to risk by complying with these standards.
Identifying one or more relevant frameworks or standards is the first step towards analyzing gaps in compliance. Next, stakeholders should take an inventory of existing controls and compliance measures. A gap analysis compares the current controls, processes and procedures of an organization with requirements for compliance.
Preparing a report can be useful for documenting the scope and findings of a gap analysis. This report should set forth the specifications of a regulation or standard and indicate the compliance status of an organization at the time of analysis. The main purpose of a gap analysis report is to indicate any disparities between existing and compliant controls.
The final stages of a gap analysis and the conclusions of a report should identify any measures necessary for compliance. Stakeholders should determine and describe ways to adjust processes and procedures or implement new controls. Any gap-compliant measures should estimate the time and resources necessary to achieve compliance.
A gap analysis should ideally take place during the initial stage of a compliance program. In general, this analysis is the first milestone on a journey towards compliant operations. If stakeholders have already attempted to implement a compliance or security program, a gap analysis should take place as soon as possible to ensure that operations meet the requirements for relevant frameworks.
In some cases, it is helpful to approach gap analysis as a circular process. This method can be useful for reevaluating gap-compliant measures, revising target objectives and assessing updated processes. A centralized platform that pulls data from multiple systems can provide the information necessary to compare existing processes with controls in regulations or standards.
Compyl supports compliance automation forcontinuous monitoringin accordance with regulatory frameworks or standards. This flexible platform can scale with an organization and adjust to changing gap analysis cyber security and compliance requirements.
Stakeholders often have questions about a compliance gap analysis. It can be beneficial to clarify the most important components of a gap analysis and the meaning of the term “gap compliant.” Here are concise answers to two frequently asked questions about compliance and security gap analysis.
Target objectives, current processes and a comparison of present operations with future goals are three fundamental components of a gap analysis. These components apply to gap analysis for compliance, cyber security or any other purpose.
The fundamental components of a gap analysis make it possible to assess the current status of an organization, identify the ideal status and analyze the gap between these conditions. Pinpointing disparities between existing and ideal practices allows for the implementation of corrective measures and ongoing monitoring to maintain conformity.
The term “gap compliant” refers to measures that bridge the gap between the current status of an organization and adherence to the specifications of applicable regulations or standards. When a gap analysis identifies practices or processes that are not in conformance, stakeholders should pursue corrective or remediation measures in these areas.
Achieving and maintaining compliance is an ongoing process. Controls that stakeholders are working towards bringing into compliance are sometimes called “gap compliant.” A compliance or security gap analysis report should include estimates of the time and cost involved in achieving compliance for each control and mitigation strategies for any anticipated challenges.
A gap analysis can indicate the need for corrective measures to bring an organization into conformity with regulations or standards. A centralized information security and compliance automation platform can facilitate a compliance gap analysis and the implementation of mitigation strategies. Compyl supports adherence to ISO 27001, PCI DSS, SOC 2 and other leading standards and regulatory frameworks.Request a demoto find out how Compyl can inform gap analysis and promote regulatory compliance.