Security compliance should not and cannot be a last-minute activity in a healthy company's culture. In many discussions with potential clients, we've noticed a common pattern in the startup and small business world when it comes to security compliance. Many of them rush to attain ISO 27001 certification or a SOC 2 Type II report due to contractual commitments or the desire to attract corporate customers.
The timeframe which they aspire for achieving these certifications often ranges from less than three months to the audacious goal of two to three weeks. Some are swayed by the promises of compliance automation software. However, the question we must ask is whether this approach is truly effective in creating secure companies.
At present, this rush is the business reality we face. It may persist until security lapses burst the bubble or render the industry ineffective.
So, what do we at FeHa International Consulting believe in?
- Security as a License to Do Business
In today's digital business landscape, compliance and data security are no longer optional. They are prerequisites, especially when dealing with larger clients or operating in regulated industries. Security by design must be an early priority, not an afterthought, just as crucial as identifying your product-market fit or securing funding.
- Start Early
Even if you don't need immediate certification, begin implementing security measures according to the ISO 27001 standard from the inception of your company. Draft policies, maintain asset records, and establish secure access procedures for cloud systems that support your business.
Starting early simplifies the process. Waiting until later stages with mature processes in place makes it more challenging to correct non-compliant aspects and prepare for an audit.
Using the ISO 27001 standard doesn't necessitate immediate certification. However, aligning your practices with the standard ensures you're audit-ready whenever the need arises.
- Give Yourself 4-6 Months
For startup companies with fewer than 20 employees, allocate 4-6 months for the preparation before an audit. Larger companies will typically require a more extended lead time. It's essential to ensure that policies and procedures are fully integrated into your company's culture before undergoing an audit.
- Seek Expert Guidance
While some security compliance software suggests that you can manage everything on your own, we advocate for working with experts. If you lack in-house expertise, consider engaging external advisors who can tailor their services to your specific needs and budget. This fractional model is often more cost-effective than hiring full-time experts and provides a broader perspective.
At FeHa International Consulting, we emphasize that a security compliance program should continue to grow within the company even after advisors leave. Independent advisors, who can guide you towards long-term goals and remain platform-agnostic, are invaluable.
In summary, if you genuinely prioritize security, don't treat compliance as an afterthought or a last-minute activity. Approach it diligently, and you'll establish a strong foundation for long-term success.