Compliance software offers an extremely useful toolset, providing companies with the framework they need to achieve and maintain compliance, whether it is regulatory compliance or legal compliance. An increasing number of companies are turning to these software platforms as the collective awareness surrounding compliance increases beyond the most heavily-regulated fields such as health care and finance.
In addition to helping an organization avoid non-compliance issues, compliance software can actually help make for a stronger, better business.
What is Compliance Software?
To understand how compliance software can make your business better, it’s important to have a firm grasp on what these platforms actually do. Compliance software comes in many forms, often tailored to a specific industry. But in its most basic sense, compliance software is used to monitor and track business processes and workflows.
Compliance software typically includes tools that empower users to examine and track how their business policies and processes align with various regulations or laws. These features are similar to project tracking software systems, where you identify steps that must be completed in order to achieve compliance.
These platforms also provide and display data from various regulatory bodies and organizations, providing users with updates on the latest regulatory changes.
Compliance Software Prompts Companies to Examine Their Policies
Well-crafted company policies are essential to the smooth operation of any business. But often, they are written, filed away and then largely ignored until a problem arises — at which point you discover that your policy is filled with gaps and omissions.
Policies can be challenging to develop and often, you need to involve individuals who are directly involved in the processes and workflows that are associated with those processes in order to craft something that is cohesive, cogent and complete. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, leading to a policy that falls short of its target.
When using compliance software, you will often encounter situations that necessitate a review of policies and procedures associated with compliance. In some cases, you may find that an entirely new policy must be created. In other instances, an existing policy may be identified as needing improvements or revisions.
Policies provide much-needed clarity and guidance within an organization. Not only will good policies help you to avoid non-compliance, but they will also empower a business to guide its staff in a way that promotes better productivity and an overall positive work environment.
Compliance Software Promotes Good Data Handling Practices
Good data management is critical in today’s digital world, but a surprising portion of companies are shockingly lax in the way that they handle and store their data. This is a dangerous pitfall because data can be one of a company’s most valuable assets. Just think of where your business would be without its information.
Data management is a key component of many regulations, such as HIPAA and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As such, companies are prompted to examine their data handling practices in great detail. This can include the following measures.
- Data collection practices
- End-to-end encryption
- Data storage strategy
- Data auditing capabilities
- Data silos and database architecture
- Data reporting and analytics capabilities
- Data deletion practices
- Data security and protection practices
- Data backup and restoration processes
These measures are all usually examined as part of an organization’s attempts to achieve and maintain compliance. In some cases, an overhaul may be required in order to avoid non-compliance issues and most would agree that these changes also bring many benefits to the organization as a whole. If you’re protecting a company’s data, you are inherently protecting the company and securing its future.
Compliance Software Leads to Improved Processes
As you use your compliance software, the chances are good that you will identify processes and procedures that fall into the category of less than ideal. It is common for users to examine processes related to compliance as part of their efforts.
By improving and streamlining processes in an attempt to achieve legal or regulatory compliance, the chances are good that you are going to make alterations that benefit the business in a more general sense. For example, let’s say your review of various business processes reveals that data is not being backed up on a regular basis. As a result, your data is placed at risk in the event of a spontaneous data corruption incident or cybersecurity breach. Luckily, you have identified this issue as part of your audit and it can now be corrected. In fact, you are able to implement more frequent backups and develop steps for the data restoration process in the event a problem does arise down the road. This example shows how compliance software-related actions can bring much broader benefits that extend beyond the realm of compliance.
Avoiding Non-Compliance Well into the Future
In today’s world, companies in all sectors are subject to a host of laws and stringent regulations. A single act of non-compliance can be devastating to a business, resulting in losses that can ultimately lead a company to shutter its doors. Just take the example of JPMorgan, which had to pay out $200 million in fines to regulatory groups after the company reportedly allowed its employees to use a messaging app that did not properly preserve a record of its communications with clients as is required to maintain compliance. A fine of this magnitude could easily spell the end for a smaller business.
Then there is the General Data Protection Regulation, which affects any company that does business with a citizen of the European Union. A violation of the GDPR results in a fine totaling $20 million or 4% of the company’s total worldwide turnover for the prior fiscal year – whichever figure happens to be greater.
Simply stated, non-compliance can be costly and it can threaten a company’s future. By evaluating your processes, policies, and operations as a whole, you will build a compliant organization that is well-positioned to continue growing well into the future.
At iTech, our risk management and compliance experts provide cost-effective solutions to clients in all business sectors. Contact iTech today to discuss your company’s needs and find out how we can help your business advance.