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The Forward-Looking CIO’s Guide to IT ComplianceReading time 7 minutes
Compliance has become one of the most important things that CIOs have to take care of in an organization. With increased regulations and requirements from external entities, compliance can get difficult. It’s important for you to understand how to make sure you’re in compliance.
The main focus of this post will be on IT compliance. I’ll be telling you what it is, its importance, and the challenges you might face with IT compliance. And to end with, I’ll give you some ways to get started with it. So first, let’s understand what IT compliance is.
What Is IT Compliance?
Compliance means to adhere to some regulations. You wear a seatbelt—that’s compliance with road safety regulations. Similarly, there are a few rules and regulations that an IT organization should adhere to. These rules can be set by the federal government or the third party that wants to work with you. When you make sure that your organization works and operates according to such regulations, that means you are IT compliant.
Now that you know what IT compliance is, let’s talk about why it’s important for you to be IT compliant.
Importance of IT Compliance
Improve Your Business Process
IT rules and regulations are designed to meet certain standards of the industry. You can consider these rules and regulations of IT to be similar to best practices, so being compliant will help your business process and help ensure your business runs smoothly.
If you are IT compliant, then your customers will know that you are following industry standards. For example, if you are compliant with HIPAA standards, then your customers will know that you keep their medical records private. This means that they will have a factor of trust while using your products.
Apart from giving a good impression to customers, being compliant also helps you in collaboration with other organizations because they will also trust you. So IT compliance helps you in improving your relationship with not only your customers but also your partners.
Protect Your Company
When you adhere to the rules and regulations according to a standard, you are protecting yourself from various threats. Standards like ISO and PCI DSS have rules and regulations that focus mainly on the security of your digital assets. If you are compliant with these standards, it means that you have added security to your digital assets.
Standards like SOX are meant to protect you from accounting errors and fraudulent practices. Being compliant with them would protect your organization from people and practices with malicious intent. You can also consider certain IT compliance practices to be eligibility criteria for deals.
Avoid Legal Problems
Certain countries and industries have strict rules stating that you have to be compliant with certain standards. If you are an IT organization that works mainly in or for the medical industry, then it is a must that you have to follow HIPAA standards. If you fail to do so, you might face a lawsuit and be fined.
Any such incident would surely affect the reputation of your organization, which would directly affect your business. Thus, IT compliance is important in avoiding legal problems.
Now that you know why it’s important to be IT compliant, let me tell you about the challenges in being IT compliant.
Challenges in IT Compliance
IT compliance might sound like a simple thing to do. You might think that there is already a set of rules and regulations and all you have to do is make your organization follow it. But it’s not that simple. CIOs still struggle to make sure their organization is IT compliant. In this section, I’m going to address a few of the challenges in IT compliance.
IT compliance is not just installing a tool, it’s a practice. Educating employees to adhere to the rules and regulations of certain standards is one of the biggest challenges that CIOs face. This challenge can be divided into further parts.
The first challenge is to educate each and every employee. This is a big problem in large companies where there are thousands of employees, and people are leaving and getting hired frequently. Making sure that every employee is aware of the company’s compliance practices becomes difficult and consumes resources.
The second challenge you would face is to monitor compliance. No matter how much education and training you give to the employees, you can’t guarantee their actions. Monitoring your employees to verify that they are working according to standards is nearly impossible.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
A lot of companies allow employees to bring their devices to the workplace. If you are a CIO for one such company, then you are in for another problem. When you allow employees to bring their own laptops or mobile phones to work and let them connect to your network, there might be a compliance breach. You can never be sure if these devices are up to the standards that your organization must follow. You can’t get these devices checked every day—that would be impractical and also a waste of your resources. This problem has significantly risen with the implementation of remote work policies.
Like I mentioned in one of the previous points, you cannot monitor everything your employees do, but you can surely have an audit to verify they are following the regulations. The main question here is how often these audits should be done. Frequent audits would consume a lot of resources and frustrate the employees, and there’s no point in late audits. Finding the right frequency of audits is difficult. And even if you figure it out, you still have to allocate resources to it.
As an IT organization, you might have to work with different vendors, which might require integrations with their products. In such cases, you have to make sure that their product is IT compliant. If you ignore it and go ahead with the integration, you might end up with legal problems.
You have to check for your vendor’s IT compliance before the integration and check the compliance of the overall product after the integration. Checking the compliance of your vendor will be difficult if they don’t disclose all the data you need to verify the compliance.
Well, I don’t want to scare you, so I’ll move on to the most useful part of this post.
How to Make IT Compliance Simple
Ensuring IT compliance requires experience and the skill to make smart decisions. Nobody can teach you how to become an expert in IT compliance in a day, but I can surely give you a head start. Here are the steps to look into IT compliance:
- Decide what standards you need to comply with.
- Determine the best way to comply with the standards.
- Build a team to take charge of compliance.
- Comply with the standards.
- Have regular audits to verify compliance.
To make your IT compliance simple, you can choose the Plutora Platform. Plutora’s specialized delivery team tools help you in compliance traceability from your business requirements to production release. Plutora offers various ways to enforce policies on your products and also notify you of due dates and missed deadlines to help you always stay compliant.
Plutora also helps solve various challenges that a CIO faces in the industry today.
To know more about what Plutora offers, request a free demo here.