Compliance is a critical element of any security plan. But tracking the voluminous data associated with compliance can be a daunting task, especially when using spreadsheets.

While spreadsheets can be useful in certain contexts, they are ill-equipped to handle the complex requirements associated with compliance.

Let’s break down the challenges of tracking compliance with spreadsheets and explore better solutions.

Manual Data Entry

One of the biggest issues when it comes to using spreadsheets for tracking compliance is manual data entry. This is especially true if you’re dealing with large amounts of data or complex requirements such as multiple access controls or different roles within an organization. Manually entering this information into a spreadsheet can be time consuming and tedious, and it can lead to errors if not done correctly. 


Difficulty Identifying Trends and Patterns 

Spreadsheets are also difficult to use when trying to identify trends or patterns in compliance data. It can be hard to get an overview of all the data at once, which means it’s difficult to easily identify discrepancies or areas where improvements need to be made.

Also, since spreadsheets are static documents, it can be hard to track changes over time and see how they correlate with other factors such as user activity or system configurations. 


Data Integrity Issues 

Due to the nature of spreadsheets, there is no way to guarantee that the data entered will remain accurate over time. Spreadsheet software does not have any built-in mechanisms for preventing incorrect data from being entered or stored in them, which can lead to errors and inaccurate records.

For example, if someone modifies a cell in a spreadsheet without realizing it could affect other cells in the same table, then all subsequent calculations based on that cell would be incorrect. This could result in inaccurate reports or decisions being made based on inaccurate data. 


Difficulties With Reporting And Analytics 

If you need to generate reports based on your spreadsheet data, you’ll likely need to manually create them using formulas or macros, which can be difficult if you don’t know how to use those features properly.

Additionally, unless your spreadsheet includes sophisticated analytics capabilities (which most don’t), you won’t be able to gain insight into trends or patterns within your data that could be useful for making decisions about corrective actions or future strategies related to compliance management. 


Lack of Automation and Accessibility 

Lastly, another challenge associated with spreadsheets is the lack of automation and accessibility features available within them. For example, it’s not possible to set up automated notifications or alerts when values fall outside a certain threshold or set parameters—a key feature when managing complex compliance requirements—and it can also be hard for multiple users across different teams or locations to collaborate on updating the same spreadsheet in real-time without running into conflicts or errors.  


There are Better Solutions Out There         

Spreadsheets certainly have their place in keeping track of simpler tasks like budgeting, but they’re not ideal for more complex tasks like managing compliance data.

Not only do spreadsheets take time-consuming manual updates, but they also lack features such as automated notifications and collaboration capabilities necessary for tracking compliance effectively over time. Fortunately, there are solutions available that can make tracking compliance easier and more efficient so organizations can remain compliant without sacrificing productivity or accuracy. 

Security practitioners and compliance professionals should look into these solutions sooner rather than later if they want their organization’s security plan to remain effective in an ever-changing landscape!


Verity GRC offers an easy to use and secure solution for compliance management. Contact us to find out how we can help you migrate your compliance program today!