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The benefits and drawbacks of regulatory compliance automation

Increasingly complicated compliance mandates have led some businesses to implement automated processes to save resources. Participants in July's #GRCChat said compliance automation can assist data management, but also warned of unintended consequences.

Regulatory compliance processes can be a huge burden on company resources as mandates and IT threats evolve. To streamline data management and curb costs as they strive for compliance, some businesses have turned to automated processes.

But, while there are definitely potential benefits to compliance automation, these tools are certainly not "set it and forget it" types of solutions. Human input is still needed during the implementation process to ensure that automated tools are working properly and that processes are doing what they should to keep the company compliant with regulations. And of course, even the best automation solutions still have the potential for error, which could result in regulatory compliance violations.

In the latest SearchCompliance #GRCChat, we asked participants their opinions on the business benefits of compliance automation, as well as its potential drawbacks:

Many participants agreed that compliance automation was a great way to combine redundant processes, cut down data management costs and even improve governance, risk and compliance (GRC) strategy. Conducting complicated information governance under compliance rules can be difficult, but automated tools may reduce the likelihood of human error.

#GRCChat participants were also quick to point out the potential drawbacks of compliance automation. Companies must ensure the automation tool is properly set up to meet the business' unique regulatory compliance process needs, for example. And despite the automation trend, the human element (and potential for error) will never be completely removed from compliance strategy.

#GRCChat participants were also asked if any particular regulatory compliance mandates would be better suited to automation than others. The best candidates? Compliance regulations with precise records management processes, which clearly outline how data must be maintained, as well as how long the organization must keep it. 

What do you think are the potential benefits and associated risks of compliance automation? Join the discussion by adding your two cents here, or by using the #GRCChat hashtag on Twitter.

For more coverage of this month's #GRCChat, follow @ITCompliance on Twitter and read our recaps on how automation is changing regulatory compliance processes.

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