The Important Role of Compliance Reporting

by Jul 8, 2020

The way organizations handle sensitive and personal information regarding their customers and employees has radically changed in the last twenty years. It was always good practice to protect enterprise data resources but society’s evolving concerns over how personal information is used have forced a new level of vigilance. As more and more data is collected and stored electronically, keeping it safe has become a primary responsibility of IT departments.

If you follow the news, you are familiar with reading about data breaches affecting millions of users. In an effort to minimize the occurrence of these events and their financial repercussions to the impacted individuals, many jurisdictions have implemented data privacy standards and regulations. In some cases, as with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), substantial monetary penalties can be imposed on organizations that fail to meet the required standards.

Consequently, measures to ensure compliance have become a necessity for many companies. The financial costs and loss of consumer confidence that accompanies data breaches or failed audits have forced organizations to prioritize regulatory compliance. A haphazard approach to addressing this issue is not recommended and can lead to a false sense of security that will come crashing down in the wake of a visit by regulatory auditors.

Components of a Viable Compliance Strategy

Several steps need to be taken by enterprises that wish to enforce regulatory compliance throughout the systems that store their enterprise data assets. They work in concert to provide the necessary organizational framework that allows compliance issues to be identified and addressed.

  • Having an overall strategy is mandatory for compliance efforts to be effective. This involves input from all areas of the organization to develop principles and documentation to measure the way it processes personal data.

  • Identifying compliance subject matter experts (SMEs) can be instrumental in staying on the right side of privacy regulations. They can become the main source of expertise regarding specific sets of standards such as SOX or HIPAA.

  • Performing an inventory of IT systems is necessary to identify the sensitive personal data that needs to be protected. As personal data is collected, it should be tagged so it can be tracked as it moves through the organization.

  • Policies need to be put in place that address the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of sensitive data. These policies are intended to prevent unauthorized use of personal data resources and need to be updated regularly to deal with emerging threats.

  • Developing a comprehensive response plan to handle a data breach can help minimize the effects if one does occur. Escalation procedures need to be in place to quickly identify and correct the issues that led to information being compromised.

  • Providing proof of compliance is mandatory when faced with an audit. Reports can be used to demonstrate that the organization is taking the necessary steps to protect personal data and identify gaps that can be corrected before problems materialize.

An Effective Reporting Tool is Essential

Furnishing the reports that prove compliance requires a versatile reporting tool. IDERA’s SQL Compliance Manager offers IT teams the right platform for maintaining and demonstrating compliance in SQL Server environments. It supports all SQL Server versions from 2008 through 2019 and is compatible with virtualized cloud instances of the database.

One of the most attractive features of SQL Compliance Manager is the wide variety of reports the application makes available to your team. The fully customizable reports can be used to help establish and enforce regulatory compliance as well as analyze SQL server trends and track system activity. Here are some examples of the information that this valuable compliance tool can provide regarding your SQL Servers.

  • Alert reports give detailed information about alerts related to data, events, and system status. They let the team focus on the objects that generate the alerts promptly.

  • Row count reports can alert your database team to suspicious activity by identifying the frequency with which sensitive data is being accessed. Unexplained changes in access trends may indicate unauthorized use of data resources.

  • Security audit reports display permission changes by object type and unauthorized attempts to access data or perform database activities. You can investigate user login history and denied permissions to identify potentially malicious use of resources by insiders.

  • Regulation audit reports help you determine if your systems comply with the regulatory guidelines of each SQL Server instance. You can apply specific guidelines such as GDPR or PCI to each database on an SQL Server.

This is just a sampling of the variety of reports available in SQL Compliance Manager. They will help you keep your organization’s SQL Servers compliant with any regulations to which they are subjected and demonstrate that fact to internal or external auditors. The tool gives you the ability to implement and demonstrate compliance to eliminate one of the concerns that keep IT executives up at night.