What Is Compliance Management and How Do You Get Started?

Dec 20, 2021

Software developers today have a seemingly endless amount of regulatory protocol to follow. This makes it increasingly difficult to bring products to market safely and efficiently with any sense of urgency.

Just when you think your company is up to date with the latest requirements, something comes along that forces you to change your approach. Any way you look at it, this can be a real hassle.

That said, meeting regulatory compliance is critical for success. Therefore, engineering and governance teams need to have a framework in place that makes compliance seamless across all touchpoints.

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What Is Compliance Management?

Compliance management is the process of centralizing and governing software delivery to ensure that each product aligns with specific regulatory protocols. 

While compliance management is a broad term that covers many areas, it largely centers around data creation, management, and governance. Additionally, it applies to infrastructure location, documentation, management, and security.

Major Regulations To Know About

Regulations tend to vary significantly across different regions and industries. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of some of the most common regulations that software companies today have to contend with.   


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a law in the EU that protects the privacy of European citizens. 

GDPR is widely considered the toughest and most far-reaching security and privacy law. It impacts all organizations across all verticals and locations. Failure to comply with GDPR carries penalties of up to about $22 million or 4 percent of annual worldwide turnover from the preceding financial year, whichever is greater. 


The US currently lacks federal data protection regulation. However, California now has the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which limits how companies can use private data. 

Colorado and Virginia also have state-specific data privacy laws, and we could see more state regulations coming in 2022.

ISO 9000

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO 9000) is a broad series of product quality standards. In software, common ISO standards include ISO 9001, ISO 9002, and ISO 9003. 

Simply put, ISO certification indicates that software meets a specific level of design, production, and development quality. 


The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of information security requirements for payment card processors. The governing body for PCI DSS is the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.

PCI DSS impacts all companies that process, transmit, or store credit card information. Developers have to follow specific PCI DSS guidelines when creating software to ensure compliance.


The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) promotes the Security, Trust, Assurance, and Risk (STAR) registry. It's a publicly accessible database for documenting cloud privacy and security controls.

CSA STAR certification isn’t mandatory. Rather, it’s an assurance framework for cloud service providers and a method of demonstrating that their software is safe and in line with the latest industry standards. 


Healthcare organizations today must follow strict Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards to protect consumer healthcare data. 

Within HIPAA, there’s also the HITECH Act, which encourages healthcare providers to adopt electronic health records and security protections.

Why Is Compliance Management Important?

Companies today are becoming increasingly digital and data-driven. In response, government agencies, watchdog groups, and consumers are requiring companies to manage personal information more responsibly.

To this end, companies now face a long list of regulations that carry stiff fines and penalties for violators. At the same time, businesses are increasingly asking for proof and documentation when vetting software vendors and partners. 

When you boil it down, software providers that can demonstrate compliance across a broad spectrum of regulations have a better chance of indicating proficiency and driving sales.

How To Get Started with Compliance Management

Most organizations today lack the resources to manage regulatory compliance using in-house resources. This is especially true for large companies with global footprints that extend into different regions and industries.

The best way to streamline regulatory complications is to outsource operations to a third-party software value stream manager that specializes in compliance management.

What To Look For in a Compliance Management Solution

Selecting a compliance management solution can be a difficult task as there are several providers that offer similar solutions. While there are many things to look for in a compliance management platform, the following features should be top of mind.  

Workflow integration

Software development needs to move at a fast and efficient pace. The best way to ensure this is to select a platform that integrates data governance and compliance directly into various development workflows. This can guarantee continuous compliance.

To illustrate, developers shouldn’t have to question data compliance when building software testing and production models. The platform should recognize specific data requirements in advance and supply developers with the information they need to move forward with confidence. 

Ongoing updates 

Regulatory protocols change often, and they can be difficult to interpret and understand. Therefore, it’s critical to partner with a provider that has a pulse on the ever-changing regulatory landscape.

Take this seriously when vetting different vendors. Ultimately, your company could be responsible for vendor negligence. If the vendor doesn’t provide accurate information updates, your organization may pay the price in significant financial and reputational harm.

Noncompliance tracking

Visibility and traceability are both important when tracking regulatory compliance. The vendor you work with should make it easy to quickly identify the root cause of non-compliance and instantly trace issues back to specific sources for prompt remediation.

Companies often waste large amounts of time manually digging through systems and databases attempting to get to the root cause of noncompliance. In addition to being an inefficient approach, this increases the likelihood of further problems occurring during production. 

At the end of the day, it’s far easier to automate the process.

How Plutora Streamlines Compliance Management

To ensure regulatory compliance, it’s critical to have close collaboration between governance and engineering teams. The best way to do this is to build governance directly into development workflows. This approach enables governance teams to drill down into gates and rules while engineering teams focus on software stability and features. 

Plutora provides a value stream management platform that makes it easy to manage software development with minimal risk. The solution ensures that all compliance specifications and requirements are in line,  making it that much easier to ensure compliance. 

At the same time, Plutora makes it easy and intuitive to track activities and drill down into specific projects. Managers can use Plutora to quickly assess development progress and identify possible issues that can lead to noncompliance. This platform removes guessing from the equation, giving managers the tools they need to lead effectively.

Ultimately, Plutora enables teams to shift left and identify compliance problems earlier in the development lifecycle. This saves time and reduces back-end work while preventing small issues from turning into large and expensive ordeals after production.

Further Reading: Managing Regulations Using Value Stream Thinking 

The consequences for failing to meet industry-specific regulations can be significant. As such, it pays to have a working knowledge of the various regulations that your company is subject to. Be sure to check out Plutora’s free white paper that explores how to manage regulations with value stream thinking. This paper explores how to shift governance left and maintain continuous compliance while also embedding compliance into every stage of the software development lifecycle.

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