Keeping Your Company Agile While Getting Compliant

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Summary:

It's not easy to implement agile compliance, considering that it breaks down structure and hierarchy, which typically inhibit trust and collaboration. However, it improves the potential for better quality and makes it easy to implement comprehensive cybersecurity strategies.

When the word agile is used in any context, the first thoughts that come to mind are lightweight, highly responsive, fast, etc. The same applies when the term agile is used to describe a company. For example, an agile company is considered fast, flexible, efficient, and responds rapidly to unforeseen circumstances. This is attributed to constant testing coupled with continuous improvement. However, being agile doesn't mean that you disregard rules, which is why such companies are bound by agile compliance.


Agile compliance management

The terms agile and lean are used interchangeably, but they have different meanings, especially in development. For starters, lean development focuses on eliminating wastage, speed, quality, creating knowledge, respecting people, deferring commitment, customer alignment, and optimizing the whole.

Lean seeks to eliminate anything that doesn’t add value and instead chooses to work with only what’s needed to complete the task at hand. Conversely, agile development focuses on interactions, intuitive software, responsiveness, and customer collaborations.

Its principles include:

  1. Customer satisfaction
  2. Welcome changing requirements
  3. Delivering working software frequently.
  4. Cooperation between business people and developers
  5. Support motivated individuals by building projects around them
  6. Prioritize face-to-face conversations
  7. Working software is considered a measure of progress
  8. Promote sustainable development
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence
  10. Embrace simplicity
  11. Self-organizing teams
  12. Reflect and adjust accordingly

How does agile compliance apply to cybersecurity?

Agile compliance was a concept whose main foothold was in the software development world, but it has crossed over to the cybersecurity world. However, the idea remains the same as agile compliance values close collaboration, efficiency, and adapting to change. These are the same principles adopted by cyber attackers as they are constantly evolving. You see, cyberattackers are always improving their craft in a bid to beat any security measures that are introduced.

Most organizations tend to lag; however, if they can embrace an agile approach, they would have a better chance of stopping cyberattacks. Organizations that choose to embrace agile compliance need to adopt the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto and ensure that they're aligned with the organizations' needs.

Below is a detailed description of the 12 principles:

1. Cooperation between business people and developers
Ideally, risk management needs to be comprehensive, and it seeks to unify and streamline processes to increase productivity. You can accomplish this by streamlining cooperation between contributors such as business people and developers. Encourage internal and external contributors to work together and streamline communication to minimize the loss of information. This cooperation level will ensure that misunderstandings are caught and rectified early, thus improving the success rate of projects.

The same cooperation should be extended to the departments in your organization. For example, you need to evaluate your IT department and check whether the current cybersecurity program is aligned with your growth. If the cybersecurity program can’t handle the projected growth, you might want to improve it based on current trends and technologies that can sustain the growth.

2. Self-organizing teams
In a world where organizations face the constant threat of cyber attacks, the importance of leadership across all departments cannot be understated. This makes it easier for cyber leaders in the organization to respond to threats and review the systems.

3. Support motivated individuals
Cyber Security is not limited to cybersecurity professionals in your organization. It's everyone's responsibility to ensure that the organization is secure from top executives to the entry-level staff. Every employee in the company needs to understand their role in maintaining and improving cybersecurity. The organization should also support and encourage the employees to maintain a certain level of responsibility.

4. Continuous attention to technical excellence
Cybersecurity is everyone's responsibility, the IT departments, CIO, CTO, and CISO shoulder the bulk of the responsibility. Your organization needs employees like these whose primary responsibility is cybersecurity. These professionals require resources; thus, be sure to provide them with the resources necessary to safeguard your organization.

5. Promote sustainable development
Cybersecurity is a key component of sustainable growth, especially if you intend to leverage technology to facilitate efficient exchange of data, seamless payments, and operations. Your organization can't sustain the growth without embracing cybersecurity.

6. Working software is considered a measure of progress
One of the key performance indicators of progress is working software. You can apply the same principle towards cybersecurity. However, instead of working software, the measure of progress used is the number of working controls that your network devices meet.

7. Welcome changing requirements
Be open to change as a single vulnerability can open up your organization to a myriad of threats. Therefore, if new technologies and software that can identify vulnerabilities are introduced, you might want to try these tools, especially if it gives you a better view of the risks.

8. Delivering working solutions rapidly
Every organization requires working security protocols to safeguard them against malicious attacks and other security incidents. While you might think that these protocols are costly to implement, they are cheaper compared to the cost of recovering from a data breach. You don't need to implement costly cybersecurity protocols when there are cost-efficient protocols that are just as good.

9. Reflect and adjust accordingly
Cybersecurity is a continuous effort that requires your team to reflect on past experiences, audits, scans, etc. to improve and adjust accordingly.

10. Prioritize face-to-face conversations
Communication needs to be conveyed efficiently across all departments and stakeholders involved. There are various forms of communication, and arguably the most effective is face-to-face. However, this doesn't mean that all other means of conversation are neglected. Whichever form of communication that you choose should make it easy for all parties to access information. Also, when communicating technical information, the security professionals should present it such that all parties involved can understand.

11. Embrace simplicity
This principle tries to maximize the amount of work not done by eliminating irrelevant procedures, automating manual work, etc. However, to implement this principle, your organization has to identify the areas to improve and focus their resources on delivering value.

12. Customer satisfaction
Customers are very protective of their data and prefer to work with organizations with measures to safeguard their data. Your highest priority should be to satisfy the customers by protecting their data. You can gain the customers' trust by adhering to the relevant cybersecurity compliance requirements.


Wrapping up

Agile compliance relies heavily on cross-functional teams, leadership, support, technology, and the ability to embrace change. It also requires your organization to have a degree of flexibility that allows you to adapt to changes or rules. It also changes how the organization works as the departments work as a team rather than personal gain. The organization is focused more on providing value to its customers by reducing inefficiencies, improving collaboration, and speeding up the development of new solutions.

It's not easy to implement agile compliance, considering that it breaks down structure and hierarchy, which typically inhibit trust and collaboration. However, it improves the potential for better quality and makes it easy to implement comprehensive cybersecurity strategies.

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