Some organizations consider compliance audits a cost of doing business: resource-intensive and time-consuming, but a necessary step toward securing a new contract or maintaining an existing agreement. However, this view doesn’t take into account the full impact of a robust cybersecurity program – especially in today’s competitive landscape.
Consumers have higher expectations for privacy and security than ever before. Those expectations are making their way to the corporate level as well; cybersecurity spending is projected to reach $170 billion by the end of this year.
Notably, that spending isn’t only coming from major enterprises. Even small- and mid-sized businesses are leveraging compliance programs to meet their long-term goals.
While “preventing breaches” and “protecting our reputation” are some of the most common cybersecurity-related objectives, a strategic privacy and security program can also help organizations:
- Capture a greater share of an existing market
- Create additional revenue streams in new industries
- Speed up their sales cycle
- Reduce demands on their internal IT, audit, and compliance teams
However, these goals can be harder to reach when compliance audits are completed only to comply with a customer’s request. Organizations that take a proactive approach to cybersecurity are poised to get more from their investments – strengthening their security posture, building trust, and leveraging their efforts to drive their business forward.
Compliance as a Key Differentiator
Some industries, such as healthcare, have highly specific compliance requirements. (An electronic medical record vendor, for instance, must ensure that their technologies are HIPAA-compliant before they go to market.)
In other industries, however, security standards are less deeply engrained. This is especially true in industries such as print mail and manufacturing, where operations have only recently started to experience a digital shift. In these industries, vendors that voluntarily demonstrate their commitment to information security can gain a significant competitive edge. As their customer base becomes more sophisticated – and continues to place a higher emphasis on security – organizations that can position themselves as trusted providers can gain a greater market share.
Launching New Product and Service Lines in Highly Regulated Markets
On the other side of the coin, compliance-driven industries such as healthcare, law, and financial services have a higher barrier to entry. Organizations that are looking to enter one of these industries for the first time will need to demonstrate a higher level of due diligence to be considered as a vendor.
Going back to the example of the print mail industry: printers that focus on promotional products may never be asked to meet a single security standard. However, transactional printers must show that they can be trusted with regulated information – such as financial information for invoice printing, or healthcare information for medical billing – and are often asked to provide their SOC report to be considered for a contract. As many printers adapt their business models to include more transactional work, these compliance efforts become increasingly critical.
In a similar vein, compliance audits are mandatory for private sector organizations that are looking to bid on government contracts. A cloud service provider, for instance, will need to complete a FISMA or FedRAMP assessment in order to provide their services to a government organization. (This not only applies to federal organizations, like the Department of Defense, but also city- and state-level organizations, such as health departments or the Department of Transportation.) Once the audit has been successfully completed, however, an organization can continue to bid on government contracts – paving the way for a steady new stream of revenue.
Managing Security Inquiries During the Sales Cycle
In a recent study from CSO insights, more than half of B2B organizations reported a sales cycle of 7 months or longer. However, “shortening the sales cycle” is a common goal for any sales leader – regardless of their industry or current performance.
In tech-driven industries, sales teams are often asked to complete security questionnaires as part of a prospect’s buying process. This isn’t just time-consuming, but risky: a sale can’t be closed until all of the prospect’s questions are answered, and a delay in response can lead the prospect to look elsewhere.
Organizations that proactively invest in compliance, however, can immediately issue a detailed report that answers common security questions up front. In many cases, this provides enough information to satisfy a prospect’s request, allowing the sale to move forward.
Making Better Businesses Through Compliance Audits
At 360 Advanced, we make better businesses through cybersecurity and compliance. Going beyond “check-the-box” compliance audits, we help our clients develop robust security, privacy, and risk management programs in support of their strategic goals.
With 10+ years of experience in a variety of industries – from SAAS and healthcare to print mail and retail – we can help you navigate the world of compliance. We can not only determine which compliance audits will meet your customers’ expectations, but which will have the most meaningful impact on your organization’s long-term success.
To learn more, contact us today.