No matter what type of business you’re in, there’s a chance you need to comply with something. If your business depends on tech in any way, you’re probably subject to regulatory compliance issues.
Meeting the requirements of regulatory compliance is necessary for keeping your data safe. Additionally, it’s a necessity in a lot of industries, especially when you’re bidding for government contracts or you hold particularly sensitive information about customers and clients. As you may have guessed, remaining compliant can soon become a big task when you’re trying to do it on your own. When that’s the case, you might want to work with a Managed Services Provider (MSP) instead.
Understanding what regulatory compliance is
Most industries are governed by guidelines and laws. All those guidelines and laws form a part of regulatory compliance. As the name suggests, you need to be compliant with these regulations. By failing to do so, you could find that you lose contracts or harm your reputation.
To remain compliant, you need to form certain strategies and adopt particular processes. While doing so, you need to keep aligning yourself with your business goals. As rules and regulations constantly change, regulatory compliance isn’t something you can achieve and then put to one side. It’s also influenced by the need to adopt new technologies. For example, 90% of companies now use cloud technology. As each company contributing to that statistic began using the cloud, regulatory compliance would have influenced its shift.
Why regulatory compliance is important
Regulatory compliance isn’t something you can just opt-in and out of. When you work in certain industries, failing to remain compliant means you may be subjected to remediation programs. Additionally, the bodies that are responsible for compliance in your industry may require you to complete audits. In addition to sucking up a lot of your time, these types of practices are likely to cost money. By using an IT consulting service, you could avoid such losses.
Compliance also ensures that customers and clients trust your business. In certain industries, this is incredibly important. For example, if you work in the medical sector and you hold patient information, you’re subject to HIPAA compliance laws. When patients know that you’re HIPAA compliant, they’re far more likely to trust you than if they find you’re not.
Compliance rules are carefully crafted to achieve specific aims. In a lot of cases, one of those aims is data protection. Being able to protect your customers’ data, in turn, protects your reputation. Security breaches saw a rise of 11% between 2018 and 2019. If your business starts contributing to those statistics, you’ll need to cover the financial costs associated with the event. Additionally, you may find it hard to recover your customers’ trust.
Examples of regulatory compliance and how MSPs help
Regulatory compliance is everywhere, you just don’t always know it. A lot of businesses find that they need to adhere to the rules of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). PCI-DSS applies to businesses around the world. Although it isn’t federally mandated in the United States, it is a requirement when you’re processing most major credit card brands. Some of its requirements include building a secure network, encrypting cardholder data, regularly updating security software, and assigning a unique ID to each person who processes customer card payments.
There are 12 steps you need to follow to remain PCI-DSS compliant. Many of them are about having the right software or storing data in the right way. It’s a complex task, which your IT team may find difficult to manage on its own. In contrast, an MSP concerns itself solely with such tasks, so it should have no problem handling your PCI-DSS compliance.
Another more industry-specific example of compliance is HIPAA. Also known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA creates industry-wide standards for healthcare billing. As healthcare billing often requires detailed breakdowns of what the patient is being billed for, it can contain particularly sensitive information. HIPAA governs how you receive, transfer, and share patient information.
In an age of instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, regulatory compliance concerning HIPAA has become increasingly important. There’s often a big temptation for clinicians to use such apps as they promote the rapid transfer of information. However, it’s unlikely that using unauthorized apps would allow a medical organization to remain HIPAA compliant. By working with an MSP, you can make sure your employees are following the right rules and avoid the repercussions of breaches.
Common problems you could face with regulatory compliance
As with anything that reaches into the legal domain, regulatory compliance has its issues. One of the biggest is the rapidly changing nature of technology. Just a decade ago, it was probably inconceivable to most people that AI and devices such as Alexa would play a big role in daily life. Today, they do, and businesses that want to adopt such technologies need to do so with confidence that they’re not breaching regulations.
MSPs constantly stay abreast of regulatory changes, technological evolutions, and how they intersect with one another. As a result, when you work with one, they’ll likely already know how the technologies you want to adopt will affect your compliance. In a lot of cases, they’ll have workarounds that allow your compliance, business aims, and new technologies to segue almost effortlessly.
Another big issue associated with regulatory compliance is people. As rules and regulations change, your staff will require training to keep up the pace. Many people are resistant to change, even when it’s for the better. Again, an MSP can help you with the employee education side of things.
Regulatory compliance is something that few businesses can escape from. It’s rarely static and it often requires consistent efforts to stay up-to-date with changes. By working with an MSP, you can overcome many of the challenges associated with regulatory compliance and avoid costly fines.