Blog | January 20, 2021 3 MINS

Policy Attestation: If You Can’t Measure it, You Can’t Manage it

Having a dynamic policy management solution is a key part of any organization as it sets the standard for how a business (and its employees) operate at its highest effectiveness. A successful policy management program can reduce business risk by providing a centralized source of information for policies and procedures while promoting stakeholder buy-in. Some key elements of a policy management solution include distribute updates at the right time in an accessible manner, interactive development cycles to remain up to date with laws and regulations, and internal compliance mandates while providing an audit trail in the event of an inquiry.

That said, if you can’t measure your policy program, you can’t manage it. That’s where policy attestation comes into play as an essential factor.

Download now: Effective Policy Management, A 5-Step Checklist

What is policy attestation?

An attestation is a way to confirm, view, or authenticate that internal stakeholders have received up-to-date and correct information or training on the company policies that they will be obligated to abide by. Attestations can be conducted in a variety of ways, including emails to and from stakeholders as well as automated forms distributed.

Attestations are essential to your policy management solution to ensure there is no mismanagement of policies or procedures that could put the organization a risk. It’s imperative that an organization implements an effective procedure to track attestations and ensure that policies are reaching the right people at the right time and potentially more dynamic measures to evaluate how your policies are being upheld in practice.

How does attestation provide insight into your policy management solution?

Before you can fully understand how attestation insights support a policy management solution, you must first identify the different types of insights. These include, but are not limited to confirmation of receipt, application of knowledge (e.g., survey of policy knowledge), and request for evidence.

By collecting and confirming attestation across stakeholders and business groups organizations can understand

  • Where there may be communication gaps in distribution.
  • What language may be unclear, or uncommon to everyday readers.
  • Who in the business may pose a vulnerability due to a lack of policy knowledge?

Taking an integrated approach to policy management solutions allows to look at these insights in line with other risk insights, such as control effectiveness. For instance, an organization may have a low attestation rate for a policy, but the control for the risk or compliance obligation is consistently executed throughout the business. This may be an indication that there is an issue with the attestation metric itself since the practice is being executed appropriately in practice.

Overall implementing an effective attestation record within your policy management solution helps to reduce liability with a detailed audit trail. This record of activity and acknowledgement helps to both reduce negative business risk and protect the business against issues of non-compliance.

A policy management solution should span the entire organization and is essential for establishing boundaries for all individuals and processes. The key to a successful policy management solution is to develop and publish policies that align to your risk and compliance initiatives and track policies across the business with targeted attestation and monitoring.

To learn how OneTrust can help, request a demo or download our Effective Policy Management, 5 Step-Checklist.

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