In a dynamic landscape of escalating compliance demands, a prominent cloud service provider faced the challenge of managing myriad requirements across an array of global compliance frameworks. This broad scope was necessary for the provider to offer services to markets requiring the acceptance of payment cards (PCI), healthcare information (HITRUST), federal government data (FedRAMP), and various international data sets (C5 and ISO).
To meet existing customer demand, the provider found itself continually increasing the effort expended during audits due to the release of new framework versions, such as PCI DSS 4.0, HITRUST v11, and FedRAMP’s recent adoption of NIST SP 800-53 rev 5.
To tackle these challenges, the provider forged a strategic partnership with Coalfire, enlisting their expertise to orchestrate coordinated assessments and streamline compliance efforts. The approach was meticulously designed to create a more efficient, holistic process and optimize all efforts expended to achieve required compliance. Despite having scaled its assessment program by 100%, the provider’s cost per assessment dropped by as much as 60%. The foundational pillars of this innovative approach encompassed the following key elements:
- Synced timing: By coordinating assessment schedules across various compliance frameworks, Coalfire ensured that assessments didn't needlessly overlap or repeat. This synchronization maximized efficiency.
- Optimized resource use: Coalfire embraced the "assess once, leverage many" philosophy, which meant that one assessment provided multiple benefits. This approach optimized resource use and eliminated repetition.
- Refined processes: Coalfire fine-tuned the compliance process to reduce friction and boost effectiveness. This collaborative methodology ensured smoother operations.
- Expert team: A dedicated assessor team – all experts in the field – led the assessment effort. Their deep knowledge ensured accuracy, thoroughness, and strategic guidance.
To ensure efficient use of assessment resources while maintaining high-quality standards, Coalfire’s program manager orchestrated the alignment of audit cycles, reporting dates, scopes, interview schedules, and site visits.
The outcome was a comprehensive program plan that consolidated evidence requests, interview schedules, and agendas; reduced testing overlap; and ensured thorough assessments of framework-specific controls with the right technical depth.
The collaboration with Coalfire yielded impactful outcomes that elevated the provider’s cybersecurity posture and compliance strategy:
- Strategic differentiation: Compliance evolved from a company necessity to a potent competitive edge in the market.
- Remarkable efficiency: An exceptional surge in assessment cost efficiency was achieved through the dynamic collaboration with Coalfire.
- Scaled assessments: While the volume doubled, the costs increased by only 40% as efforts were streamlined across various compliance frameworks. Coalfire’s methodical approach, which utilized expert assessors who specialize in their respective frameworks and fields, made this achievement possible. This approach significantly reduced the provider’s compliance maintenance efforts, eliminating redundant evidence collection and reviews, multiple interactions with architects and engineers, and repetitive knowledge transfers.
- Programmatic alignment: The provider strengthened its cybersecurity program by adopting a structured approach that emphasized internal and external compliance requirements. Where needed, review periods were realigned to seamlessly integrate with the programmatic compliance strategy.
- Stronger resilience: By efficiently managing compliance through Coalfire's coordinated approach, the provider enhanced its overall business resilience in the face of evolving threats and standards.
Through this approach, the cloud service provider experienced a complete transformation of its compliance journey, achieving significant efficiency gains and a stronger security posture. To note, the company was already engaged in "mega audits" or coordinated audits prior to Coalfire's involvement, but Coalfire’s contribution significantly amplified the scale and impact. This strategic alignment of efforts underscores the provider’s commitment to proactive compliance management, which will lead to a more resilient and secure future.