Let’s be honest—regulatory compliance just sounds onerous. But as much of a hassle as it might seem, meeting all the regulatory rules actually can work to your company’s advantage. If you think of compliance as a tool, it can drive your IT organization to boost security, reliability, efficiency and customer perceptions. All of that translates to important increases in market share and mind share. And since each industry has a specific set of regulations, you can treat compliance as a personalized map, leading your business to maximized opportunity.
Let’s break down the advantages of regulatory compliance:
Security drives compliance. In many cases, compliance standards (like PCI for the credit card industry or HIPPA for the health care industry) are created in response to past security breaches and vulnerabilities. So with growing concerns over keeping private data private, it’s no surprise that security and compliance go hand in hand. Essentially, compliance requirements establish a security checklist for your business. That checklist can then serve as the backbone for your system of best practices. By simply meeting each of the points, a savvy manager can develop a comprehensive security strategy that’s based on well-established compliance standards.
Standards also help to provide a historical record of any past issues and vulnerabilities your business has encountered. And when you have an analysis of past patterns, you’re able to head off potential problems and make better decisions about emerging technologies. Ideally, security stays a step ahead of compliance, so understanding the past can keep your company prepared in the future, saving time, resources and a lot of headaches in the face of the next big vulnerability.
Every company strives for efficiency. Unfortunately, stagnant procedures that were built over the course of many years can, in turn, build up layers of inefficiencies as stale as last week’s leftovers. Compliance can eliminate some of that bloated legacy work and focus your IT staff on the most important tasks that yield the highest productivity. Employee compliance training will also help boost productivity. When employees gain a solid understanding of the reasons behind the procedures, they’re likely to be more motivated and efficient. It also provides them with valuable troubleshooting knowledge in case a problem falls outside of procedures.
Being in compliance means you never have to play catch-up, and noncompliance can be costly. If you’re out of compliance, you’re undoubtedly operating inefficiently—even dangerously. You could face fines and other penalties. Staying compliant forces you to keep an eye on the horizon for future trends and regulations and to quickly adapt to meet them.
In the current technology climate, trust is paramount. Customers in B2B and B2C markets need to be assured that their sensitive data will be safe from hackers. Any company in full compliance sends the message that it takes its customers’ IT security needs seriously. And when a company builds a reputation as being secure and reliable, it stands out to consumers and to others within its industry. Compliance isn’t just about being forced to meet inconvenient industry or government regulations. It’s about finding ways to build trust with customers. It’s about finding ways to be more secure. It’s about finding ways to be more reliable, more productive and more efficient. And those are powerful ways to give your company’s bottom line a boost.
flickr photo by Jenny Downing shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license