In 2024, the relentless evolution of digital ecosystems demands a reevaluation of how organizations approach IT security risk and compliance. The growth of IT spending in 2023 in spite of global economic turbulence is indicative of technology’s pervasive influence on today’s world. As the digital footprint of businesses continues to expand, organizations must confront the rising imperative to scale their compliance programs to meet the challenges posed by new — and still unknown — digital risks. On top of all this, the popularization of artificial intelligence, propelled by the release of AI systems like ChatGPT to the public in 2023, has introduced new risks and opportunities for audit, IT security, and risk teams to contend with.
AuditBoard explored these trends and more in our CrossComply product keynote at the 2023 Audit & Beyond User Conference. In addition, we discussed how audit, risk, and compliance teams can mount a coordinated response to these accelerating risks by tapping into the power of technology and a shared risk language. Continue reading for our biggest takeaways from this product keynote.
Trends Impacting Organizations in 2024
The most predominant challenges internal auditors are facing in the coming year include:
- Digital landscapes are continuing to expand at a rapid rate.
- Understanding and responding to the risks of artificial intelligence.
- Collaboration and data sharing is now a requirement.
Below, we explore these challenges in-depth and how AuditBoard’s new and upcoming product capabilities offer solutions.
Challenge 1: Digital landscapes are continuing to expand at a rapid rate
- Managing expanded digital footprint
- Scaling compliance risk management programs
- Understanding compliance implications
The need for efficiency increases in response to expanding digital landscapes — a challenge that is compounded by a slowdown in hiring. To improve efficiency without increasing headcount and training budgets, companies must be creative and resourceful in finding the right solutions to empower their teams. This is especially important as compliance scopes evolve and grow in response to evolving business needs — for example, adding new systems to your SOC 2 scope or incorporating new business units in your compliance scope after a merger or acquisition.
The right compliance solution can help contextualize your IT compliance program against your requirements and risks for each asset.
AuditBoard Solution: Scale and Optimize
- Inventory scoped assessments: CrossComply recently added the ability to conduct assessments against specific inventories of your organization and track all your assessment activity against any single asset.
- Enhanced framework reporting: CrossComply enables teams to visualize asset information from the context of any single requirement, helping you understand how distinct assets and assessment outcomes roll up to any requirement.
- Framework overview dashboard experience: This is a new CrossComply capability that summarizes important parts of frameworks and highlights and drives action on critical items that need attention directly from the insights presented on the pages.
- Example: if you have multiple SOC 2 scopes, CrossComply shows both the overview insights and granular details, enabling you to understand and manage each scope more effectively.
Challenge 2: Understanding and responding to the risks of artificial intelligence
- Insufficient understanding of AI risks
- Risk acceleration due to AI advancements
- Undefined ways of leveraging AI within ITRC
In addition to new software entering your IT landscape on a regular basis, AI is bringing more risk and compliance unknowns into the realm of IT risk and compliance. Across the business, risk and compliance stakeholders require a better understanding not only of the AI risks to their company but also of how AI can be leveraged for the good of their company. Thus far, the opportunities are promising: for example, when acquiring a new company and performing gap assessment, rather than spending many hours on understanding and mapping controls, AI can be utilized to perform this process much more efficiently.
AuditBoard Solution: Increase Efficiency — and leverage AI to our advantage
- Elevated controls mapping: This helps teams apply controls at scale to manage new AI tools and other assets. For example, for a brand-new control with no mappings yet, AuditBoard’s AI and ML engine will automatically produce suggested control mappings for you. This allows compliance teams to respond and adapt to changes in their compliance environment quickly and with precision, even for custom or highly specialized frameworks.
- Evidence recommendations: CrossComply features AI recommendations for control to requirement mapping. AI interprets the control and identifies any requirements it may address, helping teams clean up their existing control set and maximize the control processes in their organization. This is useful for quickly identifying opportunities and gaps with respect to a new framework or regulation.
- Evidence collection: CrossComply features AI recommendations for the type of evidence that should be collected/applied to whatever context you are working in, whether it’s a new assessment or a first-time external audit for a new framework.
- AI for issues: CrossComply is also deploying AI to speed up issue and evidence request creation. This feature helps preempt duplicates and generate fully featured descriptions from minimal user input. This prevents stakeholder/audit fatigue by identifying duplicates quickly as well as helping teams produce original mappings faster through AI prediction.
Challenge 3: Collaboration and data sharing is now a requirement
- Inefficient ways of aligning across departments
- Difficult to clearly articulate business impact
- Stakeholder disengagement
Achieving cross-functional collaboration and a shared common risk language is no easy feat. While both goals are beneficial for better risk management, achieving them without the aid of technology is much more difficult — which is why selecting a compliance management solution should be a high priority for your business. The right compliance solution will empower your audit, risk, and compliance teams to collaborate more effectively and efficiently with one another and their business stakeholders. Seek a product that is intuitive and that can go the distance in supporting your shared outcomes.
AuditBoard Solution: Empower teams to boost collaboration
- Framework assessment workflow: CrossComply’s updated assessment capabilities feature a dedicated stakeholder experience with integrated evidence-collection workflows that are cohesive and simple — helping to keep your stakeholders happier while empowering teams to keep assessments organized and on track.
- Enhanced evidence reuse: CrossComply’s evidence collection workflows feature automated ways to intelligently reuse evidence in as many contexts as possible to minimize the amount of rework that teams and their stakeholders are performing.
- External auditor requests: Auditors need to be able to communicate what evidence they need in terms their stakeholders understand. CrossComply has updated its experience for managing work with external auditors by bridging the gap between stakeholders’ and auditors’ language, helping to streamline communication.
In the ever-evolving realm of IT security and risk management, leaders must work around hiring freezes and uplevel their teams with the support of technology.
Audit, risk, and compliance teams must understand the risks of AI — and how they relate to their business’s IT compliance program and security frameworks – in order to secure their companies against those risks. Finally, IT risk stakeholders must work together across functions, and through sharing a common risk language, in order to tackle these challenges together. By fostering a shared risk language, these stakeholders can forge a united front, ensuring a resilient defense against evolving threats while harnessing the potential of AI for improving their organizations.