If you regularly note a perplexed stare when you tell new acquaintances about the type of work you do as your organization’s CIO or IT compliance specialist, you are not alone. Regardless of your company’s industry and background — which might involve finance, healthcare, energy, manufacturing, retail and more — there are certain legal requirements and regulations in place to protect your company, making compliance essential.
Sometimes these legal requirements and regulations stem from federal mandates while you will come across others from local and regional entities. Regardless of the origin of any regulation that requires compulsory compliance, it generally serves to benefit and protect your organization, stakeholders and customers, making it critical that you develop a strong compliance team and ensure that everyone in your organization is on board.
Common Misconceptions About Compliance
Many professionals who may or may not understand the importance of regulations for that are in place for their own protection, as well as for the protection of stakeholders and clients, tend to harbor frustration over the need to comply with regulations. You might have even had someone say to you, upon learning your regulatory responsibilities, that you are in the “business prevention unit” since they perceive this necessary function as the fastest way to bring productivity to a grinding halt. This type of misconception can prove challenging and demoralizing for your compliance team.
As you work toward maintaining a strong morale among your team members who ensure compliance, it might help you to learn that you are not alone when you run up against misconceptions from frustrated colleagues, management and executives in your organization.
Take a look at five of the most common misconceptions about compliance to see if any have a familiar ring:
- Compliance Is a Drain on Resources. Compliance departments actually assist their company in making quality, informed decisions by providing timely, relevant, and trustworthy information to top management. Plus, avoiding the bad press of a breach and demonstrating dedication to cybersecurity can lead to more business for the company in the long term.
- Reaching Full Compliance Means Your System Is Breach-Proof. Many IT professionals believe that, when in full compliance, their company’s system is fully protected and safe from breaches and intrusions. Even with regular compliance audits and updates, no system is 100% secure. Staying ahead of modern cybercriminals is an essential tactic among savvy IT managers and compliance teams. Monitoring for changes in regulations and taking appropriate actions for their implementation and compliance, as well as keeping your staff, managers and executives briefed on those changes, are essential to success.
- Compliance Is Just a Polite Term for “Business Prevention.” While most of your colleagues and managers consider compliance a nuisance that inhibits productivity, it is really just the opposite. Any time that loss of data or fallout from a third-party intrusion can be prevented via industry tested — and industry-required — safeguards, everyone can do their job with confidence and efficiency. Your colleagues enjoy a great deal of freedom in their daily activities, whether they realize it or not, thanks to the hard work of your compliance department.
- It Is Easy to Implement and Comply with Regulations. It takes a lot of work to learn, understand and develop the parameters for regulatory compliance for your organization. Regulators want to verify that your plan for compliance has substance and gives you the ability to implement and track measures. It takes work from everyone in your organization to reach a high degree of confidence in security, but as policies and procedures become ingrained, compliance does become easier.
- Finding Problems Is Always Bad News. Many managers and executives might feel that “no news is good news,” and conversely, that anytime you find a problem, doom is imminent. The truth is diligent compliance with regulations is designed to help detect a problem before it officially becomes bad news for your organization. The idea is that prevention is the strongest form of mitigation.
- Compliance Removes Human Responsibility for Errors. Compliance is an ongoing effort of shared responsibility never works on “auto-pilot” mode. Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and more aggressive, this means that one wrong move, like accidently clicking on a link from an unauthorized source or writing their password down in an unsecure place, can lead to a breach. Security teams must be vigilant and aim for ongoing improvement. Awareness and training are important parts of compliance because they help employees–at all levels—to recognize their role in keeping the organization secure on a daily basis.
How to Overcome Common Misconceptions About Compliance
Looking at the above compliance misconceptions — as well as many others floating around throughout the corporate world — that you might have encountered in your efforts to establish compliance strategies for various regulations, you might wonder how to better overcome those misconceptions to help your organization’s staff and managers help you work toward solutions.
Below are a few ways that you can overcome common misconceptions:
- Develop, fulfill and maintain a full-service internal audit function to regularly check the status of regulations in the industry, as well as how thoroughly you have applied them to your organization.
- Perform regular internal audits, or “health checks” to ensure compliance.
- Encourage senior management to take the lead in providing advisory services for a top-to-bottom breadth of accountability.
Performing these functions, as well as reaching out to a compliance firm that specializes in staying abreast of the most updated regulations in various industries. Auditing professionals at I.S. Partners LLC can help you develop the most effective and efficient strategies to keep everyone in your organization on their toes.