Scaling IT Compliance: A Blueprint for Enterprise Success
Adhering to IT compliance standards may appear straightforward at first glance, but these regulations can be a complex maze for IT teams. Not to mention that failing to meet compliance standards can cost businesses up to $4 million in fines, penalties, and loss of revenue, according to Globalscape.
Achieving enterprise success requires more than just meeting regulatory requirements. It demands a strategic approach to scaling IT compliance that aligns with organizational objectives, enhances cybersecurity, and fosters a culture of accountability.
In this article, we’ll delve into the blueprint for scaling IT compliance, emphasizing common compliance regulations, the importance of compliance, the integration of compliance strategies into business processes, and how to build a solid foundation for your organization.
What Is IT Compliance?
Compliance in IT is the process that organizations undertake to ensure they adhere to a specific set of privacy and IT security policies, requirements, guidelines, and best practices. Companies incorporate these rules into everyday procedures, systems, and tools to safeguard customer data.
Regulatory bodies formulate guidelines to ensure that organizations have clear instructions on how to meet compliance standards. These guidelines specify the rules for handling data, digital communication, and critical infrastructure.
Different industries have specific compliance laws, such as highly regulated industries like healthcare and finance, which require organizations to protect patient privacy and confidentiality or securely store payment information for e-commerce businesses.
To avoid any violations, an organization must comply with all of the guidelines. This not only safeguards the IT security of businesses and customers but also encourages the accessibility and consistency of services while ensuring that businesses use the software as intended.
Not meeting IT compliance standards can result in lost sales, legal fees, data recovery costs, and hefty fines. A breach can harm your company's reputation and lead to a loss in customers. Legal fees and penalties depend on the severity of the breach and violated regulation. For instance, HIPAA violations start at $127 per event and can cost up to $1,919,173 if not corrected within 30 days.
7 Common IT Compliance Standards
IT compliance standards are guidelines and regulations aiming to enhance IT security, foster trust among employees and customers, and reduce the impact of data breaches. Here are seven common IT compliance standards enterprises may need to follow to align with regulatory requirements and fortify their digital infrastructure.
1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation came into effect in 2018 and was designed to protect the privacy of citizens in the European Union (EU). Under this regulation, all EU citizens must consent before their data is processed.
This legislation also includes specifications on how data must be transferred and secured. The GDPR applies to various data types, such as names, addresses, health data, political opinions, biometric data, racial or ethnic data, sexual orientation, and web data. Any business collecting data related to EU citizens must comply with GDPR standards.
2. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) refers to twelve IT security requirements related to credit card and financial information governing their security. The PCI DSS applies to businesses that conduct online transactions requiring storing, transmitting, and managing a user's financial information.
3. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) is a financial compliance standard that applies to any publicly traded company in the United States and publicly traded foreign companies that do business there. This standard mandates full disclosure of a company's financial information and applies to any publicly traded corporation or industry launching an initial public offering.
4. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996 to protect sensitive health information and prevent unauthorized disclosure of patient data. The data impacted by HIPAA includes health plan numbers, medical record numbers, biometric identifiers, identifiable photos, medical diagnoses, treatment information, medical test results, and prescription information.
5. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) applies to financial institutions that offer financial advice, insurance, or loans. This regulation requires them to disclose their data protection measures and information-sharing policies. To comply, institutions must disclose their policies and request customer consent. Customers can opt out of information sharing with certain third parties.
6. Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)
Federal agencies must follow the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), which mandates the development of information security plans to protect sensitive information. This act also requires implementing various IT security software and systems and verifying third-party vendors. FISMA considers the security requirements of other federal departments as well.
7. Service Organization Controls (SOC 1 & SOC 2)
Service Organization Controls (SOC) are cybersecurity reports created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). SOC-certified organizations must undergo regular audits to assess their controls over information technology and related processes, policies, and operational procedures. The most commonly used reports are SOC 1 and SOC 2.
Why Is Scaling IT Compliance Important in 2023?
As technology continues to advance, cybersecurity threats also become increasingly harmful. For businesses, compliance is not just a matter of compliance enforcement or ticking regulatory boxes but also a key component of strategic growth.
In 2023, there are several key compliance challenges that companies need to prioritize:
- Addressing the ethical implications of advanced artificial intelligence systems
- Increasing due diligence to combat financial crimes
- Navigating a constantly changing sanctions environment
- Managing the growing regulations around cryptocurrencies
- Prioritizing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns.
These trends demand a proactive approach, ensuring alignment with ethical standards, adapting to evolving compliance regulations, and fostering a culture of accountability. It's crucial for companies to stay informed and adapt to these changes to remain compliant and achieve success.
How To Build the Foundation for Scaling IT Compliance
To effectively meet IT compliance regulations and maintain cybersecurity resilience, it is crucial to establish a solid foundation. This can be achieved through a comprehensive approach that involves assessment of compliance risk, alignment with regulatory requirements, and fostering a culture that prioritizes compliance.
To develop a successful strategy, let's examine the essential steps.
1. Assess Current Compliance Measures
Before scaling IT compliance, it is important to assess your current practices thoroughly. Take a comprehensive look at your compliance audit, what is working, and what needs improvement. Determine which areas you can enhance to strengthen your compliance framework. By conducting this baseline assessment, you can gain insight into your organization's compliance maturity and make targeted improvements.
2. Follow Industry Regulations and Standards
Each industry has its own regulations and standards dictating compliance requirements. Thorough research is crucial in this matter. Look into the details of your industry's compliance landscape and identify the rules that directly impact your organization. Get well-versed in these regulations and standards, and ensure your compliance framework aligns with the latest updates.
3. Establish a Compliance-Centric Organizational Culture
Compliance extends beyond policies and procedures; it is a reflection of your organization's culture. Building a culture of compliance starts with fostering an understanding of its significance at every level of the organization. This involves promoting employee awareness and education, from executives to frontline staff.
Leadership plays a pivotal role in setting the tone for compliance. When senior leaders both prioritize and visibly demonstrate their commitment to compliance, employees are more likely to follow suit. Foster a culture where compliance is not seen as a hindrance but as an integral component of organizational success, followed by your Chief Compliance Officer.
To ensure every employee can fulfill their compliance responsibilities, offer comprehensive training and resources. These resources can include workshops, online courses, and informational materials that demystify complex compliance concepts.
Effective IT Compliance Strategies for 2023
One of the most significant challenges compliance professionals face is factoring in the many new regulations and guidelines that most compliance frameworks require. These regulations may describe what organizations need to be compliant, but they do not elaborate on how to achieve that.
"Compliance requirements are what I call cosmic frameworks. They proclaim, ‘thou shalt achieve this,’ but aren’t prescriptive about how to do that. It creates an industry of tea leaf readers trying to interpret requirements, which is great for job security but very poor for business outcomes," Tony Sager, SVP and Chief Evangelist at The Center for Internet Security (CIS), explains.
To improve compliance efforts on a larger scale, organizations must adopt a compliance strategy that aligns with compliance risk assessment, cybersecurity resilience, and streamlined processes. Here are a few key strategies to positively impact your organization’s compliance efforts.
Design a Risk-Based Approach to Compliance
Compliance strategies are moving towards a risk-based approach. Focusing on managing compliance risk first makes it easier to allocate resources efficiently. Two areas that require increased attention are cybersecurity threats to customer data and remote work risks.
Companies must develop comprehensive strategies to protect customer data that safeguard sensitive information from cyber threats. In addition, remote work risks should be addressed by creating compliance strategies that establish protocols for secure remote access, data sharing, and communication.
With the adoption of decentralized software management, organizations need to have guidelines, continuous monitoring, internal and external audits to ensure secure, compliant software use across teams and departments.
Automating Equipment Management To Protect Employees and the Company
For many distributed teams, cybersecurity in remote work can be a challenge. When employees work across the globe, it’s harder to keep an eye on how they use their equipment or if they are following company guidelines.
GroWrk offers a solution that streamlines equipment management and enhances compliance with data protection regulations. Our platform makes it easy to deploy equipment pre-enrolled in MDM software, creating an added layer of security for both employees and the organization's data itself. This ensures should an issue occur, teams can respond swiftly and remotely lock down or wipe a device.
GroWrk empowers companies to choose the software they are already using, to be preconfigured for each device. This tailored approach enhances efficiency and ensures that employees have access to the necessary tools while adhering to compliance standards. Get a pricing quote today!
Finding Tools With Integrations With Current Stack To Unify Compliance
Managing compliance across diverse platforms and tools can be complex. The key lies in finding solutions that seamlessly integrate with your existing technology stack. GroWrk is SOC2 certified and can integrate with any of your current tools to maintain compliance across all platforms.
By integrating with your current tools, GroWrk enables unified compliance risk management. This integration streamlines processes, reduces redundancies, and ensures consistent compliance efforts across various platforms.
Ensure Global Compliance
In the global business landscape, compliance is not confined to a single set of regulations. Instead, organizations must navigate a complex web of regional, national, and international standards. Whether it's the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe or state privacy laws in the U.S., the challenge lies in ensuring compliance across diverse regulatory landscapes and effective risk management.
This is where a global provider like GroWrk becomes an ally in meeting each new compliance standard regardless of location. GroWrk simplifies IT compliance for global enterprises through our end-to-end equipment management platform. We can pre-enroll devices in our clients’ chosen MDM solution so equipment arrives at the end user’s hands ready to use. We also wipe devices after an employee offboarding to avoid data leaks.
In an era where the regulatory landscape is constantly evolving, organizations need a compliance partner that is not only current but also future-ready. GroWrk's commitment to staying ahead of regulatory changes ensures that your organization is equipped to meet new compliance standards as they emerge. With GroWrk by your side, the intricate task of ensuring global regulatory compliance becomes an achievable reality.
As regulations continue to evolve, proactive efforts to integrate compliance into every facet of operations will ensure legal adherence and enhance cybersecurity, customer trust, and long-term growth. With a robust compliance strategy, businesses can navigate IT compliance and position themselves for sustained success in a digitally-driven world.
At GroWrk, we ensure that our internal processes comply with current regulations. We enforce strict access controls, utilize advanced encryption methods, employ regular security audits, and maintain a culture of security awareness within our organization that will ensure your data is always protected. Care to know more about how our services can improve your IT compliance strategy? Request a demo today.
IT Security VS. IT Compliance
IT security focuses on safeguarding digital assets from cyber threats through measures like firewalls and encryption. IT compliance involves adhering to regulations, compliance guidelines, and industry standards to ensure legal and ethical operation. While related, security protects against threats, while compliance ensures alignment with rules.
What are some common challenges in implementing compliance?
Complying with regulations can be a complex task as it involves keeping up with changing rules and working within resource limitations. Coordinating between different departments, raising employee awareness, and ensuring vendor compliance can also be difficult. Moreover, compliance professionals must balance data privacy, upgrading outdated systems, promoting cultural shifts, and ensuring constant monitoring.