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What Does It Mean To Be Compliant?

In the IT world, there’s no shortage of compliance and regulatory requirements. Today, we want to address a question that our team receives almost daily — what exactly does it mean to be compliant?

Compliance, in business, refers to abiding by existing state and federal laws and best practice standards. This could be HIPAA for those in healthcare, SOX for public corporations, PCI for the payment card industry, FINRA for those dealing with finances, and so on.

Your organization must have a well-thought-out strategy, complete with the right procedures and policies, to help you meet these requirements. Regulatory and enforcement authorities have been very aggressive with compliance defaulters in the recent past; this decade has witnessed several landmark non-compliance fines.

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Why Do You Need To Comply With Industry Set Standards?

To some organizations, compliance is just a way of evading trouble with regulatory bodies. While it’s true that it helps you avoid those hefty fines and sanctions, being compliant equally has several significant benefits to your business:

  • You’ll Enjoy Enhanced Productivity: Health and safety regulations, and laws on harassment and discrimination, safeguard the well-being of your staff. Compliance with these standards means that your employees will always be fit, both physically and mentally. A healthy workforce is more productive; there will be minimal disruptions in the production processes due to injuries or illnesses.
  • You’ll Benefit From Higher Client-Retention Rates: When FTC fined Facebook $5 billion for non-compliance, it’s not only a financial burden that the tech giant had to deal with but also a loss of business. Many users deleted accounts amidst growing skepticism about Facebook’s ability to safeguard their information. Regardless of your industry, the last thing you want to have is a bad public image. Clients will abandon you, affiliates will cut off their engagements with your firm, and your employees will resign — just because of a bad reputation. And the opposite is true; a good name attracts and retains more customers. While the law doesn’t oblige you to publicize your compliance status, publishing this information on your websites is a sure way to market your business.
  • Compliance Enhances Your Cybersecurity: Most data security compliance requirements, like PCI and FINRA, will help you defend your systems from intrusion. As you are safeguarding user information ‘to meet these standards,’ you’re essentially protecting your network from bad cyber actors.

How Can You Stay Compliant With Your Industry-Specific Standards? If only there were universal compliance standards for all businesses, then compliance would be a straightforward concept. However, the unfortunate reality is that compliance requirements vary across different industries. You must, therefore, begin by identifying the standards that apply to your specific line of business. And to be honest, this process can be nerve-wracking if you don’t have enough background knowledge and experience.

So, What Does This Mean for Your Colorado-based Organization? It would be best if you started as early as it is convenient. There’s a worrying trend of firms waiting ‘until it’s a requirement’ or ‘until you’re big enough’ before planning for compliance. What this means is that you’ll be hurrying to formulate policies and align your procedures to various standards at the last minute. From our experience, this approach is prone to blunder and serious omissions. With tension at its peak, inevitably, you won’t identify some essential standards. Businesses that begin planning for compliance early enough enjoy the benefits of working under zero pressure.

Start scouting for a reliable IT company in your locality to help you identify applicable standards, design, and implement the right frameworks.

Is It Possible to Manage Compliance Internally?

It’s possible, especially for large companies, but still not the best option. We often see even multinationals with established in-house compliance teams reach out to us for help when they’re due for audits. We advise outsourcing this service to a team that understands how your industry operates for small and medium-sized businesses. It’s the most efficient and cost-effective alternative.

Do you want to be compliant but don’t know where to start? Colorado Computer Support is here to help; call us now at (719) 310-3035, or send an email to blake@coloradosupport.com.

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