7 Key Points to Evaluate When You Buy Compliance Automation Software

This blog was prepared by Smitha Ravindran in their personal capacity. The opinions or representations expressed herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Progress Software Corporation, or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this blog are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided "as is" with no representations made that the content is error-free.

Organizations worldwide are required to comply with regulatory requirements, some of which pertain to the security of their IT infrastructure. Organizations are constantly looking for ways to protect their assets and address security concerns and legal requirements. The complexity of compliance and security requirements is most often dictated by the expanse of their IT estate, industry and geographical location. Not adhering to these compliance requirements can lead to heavy monetary losses and, more importantly, loss of trust.

On the other hand, businesses demand faster time-to-value for their products. Weaving in a compliance audit within the software development lifecycle can, to one’s own peril, become an afterthought. It is no wonder that DevOps teams are adopting continuous compliance automation processes more frequently. These processes can enable you to check compliance in real-time, help mitigate risks, enhance an IT estate’s security posture and create an agile and efficient software delivery system.

However, choosing a continuous compliance automation software can be an arduous task. This is especially true if there are multiple stakeholders and each has priorities that cannot be ignored. The challenge is multi-fold and confusing when multiple players are in the market and the options are many.

How, then, can buyers choose wisely? What parameters should you consider? Is there a single tool that fits numerous requirements?

While it might not be possible to answer all these questions, you can take a strategic and pragmatic approach to choosing the right compliance tool. Your decision-making process should involve considerations that ascertain which features are necessary for the organization and what your current and future needs are.

Here are seven points to consider before you select a continuous compliance automation software for your organization:

1. Look for innovation

It is easy to zero in on a product that caters to the basic requirements. But does your product of choice come out with clear-cut differentiators? Look for a product that continues to innovate and evolves along with the overall technology landscape. A product might be alluring and inexpensive to use the first time. But, if it stagnates, users will soon be stuck in the mire of tech debt and rising costs. If the goal is for the product to cater to multiple use cases, it can rarely be achieved without significant effort. For instance, prioritize compliance automation tools that use policy as code as a solution for compliance management, infrastructure provisioning and Kubernetes platform governance tooling. A constantly innovating tool helps you stay ahead of the curve.

2. Is it cloud-friendly?

As of 2023, cloud infrastructure services generate $178 billion annually in revenue—and it shows no signs of slowing down. It is also estimated that 90% of large enterprises have adopted a multi-cloud infrastructure. With such a rapid transformation towards the cloud, organizations inevitably look for cloud compatibility while choosing their infrastructure security and compliance tooling. As organizations migrate workloads to the cloud or move from virtualized to containerized environments, infrastructure and operations teams should evaluate tools that protect cloud and container-based infrastructures.

3. Does it cater beyond Kubernetes?

As a buyer, you need to be wary of solutions that are not feature-compatible across multiple resource types. For instance, today, there is a considerable focus on support for Kubernetes policy management. However, remember that policy and compliance must also extend outside of Kubernetes clusters into virtual machines and managed cloud resources.

4. Choose an interoperable solution!

Continuous compliance solutions are on an accelerated evolution path. Additionally, they depend heavily on how infrastructure is provisioned and managed and how applications communicate. If you are leaning towards a policy-as-code solution, you should first scan the existing infrastructure and take a good look at the application development tooling roadmaps. This way, you can determine if your compliance automation solution will be interoperable across your tooling ecosystem in the coming years.

5. Does it cater to all infrastructure resources?

IT ecosystems across enterprises, irrespective of their size, can be complex. The complexity can become daunting with diverse hardware, on-premises infrastructure, hybrid cloud, various OSes, containers, VMs, databases, servers and network resources. While handling such complexity, it would be prudent to look for a solution that can scan diverse profiles for a range of resources.

6. Easy or hard to code?

Many solutions use an “as-code” approach to automate continuous compliance. However, you need to ask yourself, “Are these easy coding techniques?” and “Is there an easy-to-understand DSL?” Prioritize solutions with a short learning curve as complex programming structures might hinder your time-to-market. Policy as code is good when it is easy to learn and implement.

7. Does it provide a 360-degree view?

We have already spoken about the complexity of IT ecosystems. In terms of security and compliance, it is essential to have a more in-depth view of your IT ecosystem. However, not having the big picture could leave you short-sighted. When zeroing down on compliance automation software, choose a solution that will provide you with a consolidated view of your IT estate’s compliance and security posture.

Progress Chef Compliance supports continuous compliance using a human-readable/machine-enforceable framework to facilitate security and compliance testing.

Register for this webinar - 7 key considerations when choosing a continuous compliance solution.

Progress Chef Continuous Compliance Solution

Chef employs a human-readable/machine-enforceable framework to enable security and compliance testing. Chef policies can be edited more easily within the standard SDLC process. Multiple configuration options are available with IDEs like MS Visual Studio, RubyMine, VIM, Sublime Text, GEANY, Atom, etc.

Chef Compliance adds support for your IT resources in maintaining compliance and security with standards-based audit and remediation policy content. Additionally, its easily tuned baselines can adapt to your organization’s internal requirements and help improve visibility and control of the security and compliance posture across heterogeneous environments.

Chef Compliance delivers curated content for audits, remediation and desktop configuration based on CIS (Center for Internet Security) certified benchmarks or DISA Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs). It continuously maintains and updates the Chef Premium Content library. When a new or updated profile is identified, it quickly certifies the content and makes it available for subscribers.

On the other hand, Chef Cloud Security empowers IT teams to monitor cloud accounts and container platforms for security misconfigurations. Users can better align internal/external regulation at scale to achieve more consistent, unified multi-cloud security using a coded approach and extensive community support.

Compliance in DevOps workflows is crucial to align software development processes with regulatory requirements, industry standards and internal policies. Organizations can achieve continuous compliance by shifting it left, implementing regular audits and fostering collaboration between teams. Organizations are adopting a policy-as-code approach that involves codifying policies to achieve continuous compliance, making them human-readable and machine-enforceable. This will help reduce errors and support your team (and organization) in achieving compliance. When choosing a continuous compliance solution, consider factors such as evolution and innovation, coverage across resource types, ease of coding, interoperability and a consolidated view of compliance posture.

Your Next Step

We hope this blog has given you a sneak peek into the decision-making process of buying compliance automation software. For a detailed analysis, refer to our exclusive buyer’s guide for compliance automation software.

To find out more about implementing Continuous Compliance with Chef Compliance and Cloud Security in your organization, visit the Chef Compliance page.

Register for this webinar - 7 key considerations when choosing a continuous compliance solution.

Smitha Ravindran

Smitha is a Content Manager at Progress. She is a software enthusiast who loves to combine her interest in tech with her love for words. After two decades of practicing and teaching computer science, she writes about all things tech. In her spare time, she reads!