The Role of Compliance Automation

This blog is an excerpt from our new GovLoop Academy course, How to Become Compliant in the Cloud, take the course here.

Cloud computing can offer innumerable benefits to government agencies, but ensuring they are securely implemented and maintained is challenging. However, the cloud offers something that can eliminate many these complexities: automation. Automating the deployment, configuration and monitoring of security can deliver predictable, repeatable, and reliable compliance and security.

Compliance automation is a new approach to achieve and maintain compliance. It uses code to automate the implementation, validation, remediation, monitoring and reporting of an agency’s security.

It allows agencies to quickly deploy audit-ready environments that are pre-configured to meet compliance requirements. For example, using compliance automation, vulnerability scanning can be setup, configured, and automatically performed without any human intervention.

The key principle guiding compliance automation is security by default, and by design. The by design part focuses on engineering security directly into the code. Configurations and settings are coded into cloud automation. This means, they are enabled and enforced, by default. When security is codified in this manner, it becomes dramatically easier and faster to create a secure, compliant environment.

Security by default and by design also enables a continuous cycle of security. It empowers agencies to continuously monitor and improve security, without reengineering the entire environment. Automated environments can be updated, tested, and redeployed in hours, not months.

With automation, compliance is no a longer a frustrating, check-the-box task. Instead it becomes an enabling component of the DevOps lifecycle. It also frees your internal staff to focus on their core competencies, like building applications or handling genuine security incidents.

Even the most robust government security programs don’t have enough IT staff to detect, prevent and recover from security incidents. And it’s unrealistic to put those demands on IT or development departments that are already overworked, understaffed and inequipped to handle tasks in real-time.

Nevertheless, government agencies must keep pace with current and future security threats, while simultaneously meeting compliance requirements.

Andrew Plato, CEO from Anitian, explained how their platform can help:

“The Sherlock Compliance Automation platform is the fastest, most reliable way to deploy a high security, compliant environment. Sherlock is all code. This code executes within your cloud account, to automatically deploy, configure, and manage an entire security and compliance architecture. The whole environment is up and audit-ready in about four hours.

“And because Sherlock is all code, deployed in your account, your data and applications remain fully in your control. There is no co-mingling of data or access with any other organization.”

To recap, the main benefits of compliance automation include the ability to: automatically build cloud architectures that are audit-ready, avoid lengthy integration efforts and costly errors, and dramatically accelerate compliance initiatives.

To learn more about the steps your agency can take to secure your cloud environment and the applications within it, take our 10-minute, self-paced GovLoop Academy course, here.

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