How To Establish Compliance Policies

As data collection by businesses becomes more prevalent and complex, so too do the legislative and legal policies relating to the protection of that data. This goes for if your business operates in the health industry and has to comply with HIPAA, or you handle large amounts of international clients and need to ensure your data collection methods are compliant with the European Union’s GDPR requirements, or any other number of legal and legislative requirements that might exist for your business at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Ensuring compliance saves your organization money and reputation over time, but can be a daunting and complicated process. 

As a managed services provider in Charlotte, Apex Technology supports businesses with strong international and domestic presences, and therefore we have to be able to provide services that are compliant with a wide array of laws and regulatory agency requirements. In this article we’re going to briefly discuss the six core elements of effective compliance programs, as accepted across multiple industries and disciplines, and how they can be tied back to your IT compliance goals.  

Compliance and Your IT Program

While there are general business-related regulatory requirements, most industries are also impacted by industry-specific standards that require constant vigilance in order to prevent fines or other consequences. In order to have company-wide compliance success, it will take the adoption of six commonly accepted business practices. 

Comprehensive Written Documentation Outlining Compliance Requirements

A seemingly obvious starting point, but it’s important that your organization’s leadership take the time to research and fully enumerate the compliance policies and procedures for the organization. This includes best-practices, standards of behavior, and in the case of IT oversight could include policies regarding the use of company electronic devices and communications devices. Do you have a policy on employees using personal devices? What requirements are in place to ensure network security and integrity? How are employees allowed to use company devices? These and other standards need to be fully laid out and accessible to all. 

Mechanism for Internal Compliance Enforcement and Oversight

Depending on the size of your organization, ensuring compliance could be the purview of a single individual or a committee of representatives, and could possibly even be outsourced to a third-party. However you approach it, having a method to identify and enforce compliance with your IT use standards and compliance will show your employees that there are consequences for not following the rules that protect the organization. 

Monitor and Audit Behaviors Internally to Protect the Brand

Monitoring the network and behaviors across company devices helps to ensure that your employees are following protocols as outlined. As with any system, you want to perform regular audits to provide a snapshot of the business’s adherence to standard operating procedures at any given point to identify opportunities to improve systems or possible compliance violations that are slipping through the standard monitoring unnoticed.  

Internal Channels for Communicating Standards Changes Or Updates

Compliance and standards aren’t often static, and are known to evolve over time. It’s necessary to have well-documented channels for disseminating changes to the team so that all are aware and can integrate the changed procedures into their routines.  

Training and Education Are Crucial to Maintaining Vigilance

Human error is the primary driver of cybersecurity breaches and compliance violations, and often the root cause is poor training or lack of proper education. At a minimum, beyond the onboarding process employees should undergo targeted quarterly training to keep compliance top of mind and to help leadership identify knowledge gaps. 

Well-Published Disciplinary Guidelines Combined with Prompt Corrective Actions

As with any rule, compliance programs are meaningless if there are no consequences for failing to follow them. As part of the written policies and procedures, the penalties for non-compliance must be enumerated. In the event of a compliance violation, the appropriate level of corrective action–up to and including termination–must be taken against those who fail to uphold standards.

Apex Technology Managed IT Services Are Compliant Across the Board

As a managed IT services provider in Charlotte, we service clients across all industries and with both local and international reach. As a result, our services have to be compliant with any and all regulatory requirements and are designed to easily integrate into any existing compliance program. For more information on our compliant IT programs, reach out to our team to make an appointment today.