What is Regulatory Compliance and Why is It Important?
Regulatory compliance can take on different definitions according to the industry in which you are applying the policies. Since compliance means incorporating standards that conform to specific requirements, regulatory compliance is the regulations a company must follow to meet specific requirements.
When you apply regulatory compliance to IT, the regulations apply to two different aspects of company operations which include the internal requirements for IT and compliance standards that are set forth by external entities. Both types of regulatory compliance affect IT company operations and can potentially restrict what a company can and cannot do.
Company Concerns with Regulatory Compliance
When it comes to information technology and security, regulatory compliance for IT can impose added costs on company operations depending upon the industry. At the same token, the cost of not complying with regulations both internally and externally can be significantly higher in terms of fines and time invested following up on a security breach.
One of the primary issues with regulatory compliance is information security and the potential for data leaks. Although there may be policies in place, it is necessary to ensure that employees follow the policies as well as the entire staff within a company. This is an ongoing process and one that can lead to a high profile data breach if companies become too lax on policy enforcement. A primary example of this is the Sony breach earlier this year which can undermine a company reputation and end up costing more in fines than it would if you followed the compliance policies.
When it comes to regulatory compliance for IT on the external level, companies that follow the regulations set forth by external organizations are more likely to survive a potential investigation than companies that neglect regulatory compliance. Additionally, there are many benefits that come with following regulatory compliance policies which include protection of company reputation.
Issues Associated with Regulatory Compliance
In order to ensure that the proper steps are taken to meet regulatory compliance policies, it is first important to understand where the weaknesses in IT are so you know exactly what practices should be applied. If you skip this step and then try to meet regulations and policies, it is highly likely it will cost more over the long term since the practices were not implemented correctly.
The main issue that surrounds regulatory compliance is that many companies face multiple policies and regulations with regard to IT and data storage. This presents a challenge for most businesses, especially if the IT personnel changes frequently or over a number of years. Some compliance regulations require companies to archive data for a specified period of time. If IT staff changes over a period of time it is easy to lose sight of data storage and retrieval processes.
How to Make Regulatory Compliance Work
The number one priority for making regulatory compliance work is assessment and evaluation. If you do not know where the company weaknesses are in terms of IT then this makes it nearly impossible to put the best practices into action.
Once you know where the best practices should be applied there are many new tools that assist with simplifying the processes for regulatory compliance. These are automation tools that save time and perform the necessary requirements according to schedule. Tools for regulatory compliance are also capable of monitoring IT processes and providing reports to be used for analysis and future modifications.
The other alternative that ensures policies and procedures are carried out according to requirements is to consider using a virtualization solutions provider. A professional solutions provider such as Thrive Networks can help your company design strategies that guarantee your business will remain in compliance both within the company and with the external organizations that audit your processes.