If you deal with private, sensitive, or financial information, you need to protect it. Compliance management is one way to measure just how safe your company keeps important data.
In the IT world, compliance management is easy to define but quite complicated to carry out. What is compliance management, and why is it so important? What are the basic components of compliance management? And what best practices should you be aware of?
We know that many agencies set standards for information storage, transfer, and security protocols. For example, HIPAA regulates how medical information is stored and shared. PCI regulates how businesses store and process payment and credit card data. In Europe, the GDPR regulates data protection across industries.
Depending on your business, you may need to comply with one or all of the above sets of guidelines. In an IT system, compliance is even more complicated, as it includes assessing and monitoring an entire infrastructure as well as deploying cybersecurity safeguards. Furthermore, you may have to establish or comply with industry-wide norms and internal guidelines. So, while IT compliance management can simply be boiled down to “making sure we follow all the rules”, it’s actually quite a complex process.
The obvious reason is that compliance management helps protect companies against data breaches, which have become all too common in the news. Another reason is that failure to comply with certain standards can have hefty penalties; for example, a business that accepts credit cards but fails to follow PCI standards can lose its merchant account and make the business liable for fines of up to $100,000 per month. If there’s a data breach resulting from PCI non-compliance, the company could be held liable for an additional penalty per affected customer. And, as we know, businesses with shoddy data protection practices lay themselves open to lawsuits.
Aside from the financial and legal ramifications, there are also ethical and PR considerations around compliance issues. Companies are now understanding the obligation they have to protect their data as well as that of their customers. And customers are becoming increasingly vocal about their rights to privacy and information protection; if a company doesn’t take this seriously, they run a very real risk of losing customers.
The exact roadmap to IT compliance will depend on several factors unique to your industry and, to some extent, your business. However, the overall process is aimed at two things:
To do this, you’ll need to carry out the following steps:
Aside from the inherent complexity of many large-scale IT systems, there are several things that make compliance management more difficult. First we have the changes in IT systems, threats, and compliance regulations – especially for businesses that work in multiple industries or in different countries. Next is the sheer challenge of maintaining compliance across departments, teams, and employees; this requires not only IT system coordination but also educating employees regarding regulatory practices and security risks. Even so, maintaining compliance is certainly a worthwhile goal.
There are several best practices for managing IT compliance that can be applied to any business:
In conclusion, compliance management is extremely important. While the IT department might shoulder the weight of its implementation and maintenance, every person in the company should care about how compliance management works. If you are looking for managed compliance, look no further than NETdepot. We can help you keep up with compliance requirements through our Managed Services. Contact us today to talk with our experts about how we can relieve this burden from your IT team.