IT compliance software — also called IT regulatory compliance software — has gained a great deal of popularity in recent years as companies become increasingly aware of their technology-specific regulatory requirements. In fact, many now regard IT compliance as a critical component of a company’s risk management strategy.
The tools in an IT compliance software system can position an organization to succeed in their efforts to achieve and maintain regulatory compliance. But what functionalities and features do these platforms include and how will they benefit your company?
What is IT Compliance Software? – Types and Features
When it comes to the purpose of IT compliance software, these platforms are designed to support the management of all processes surrounding a company’s regulatory compliance (or lack thereof.) These software systems are targeted to IT- and technology-related regulatory compliance, so all feeds and regulation database information is tailored to this end.
The following is an overview of the typical IT regulatory compliance software functionalities.
- Identification of applicable regulations and laws via live feed, with information stored in a searchable database.
- Tools for the evaluation of a company’s compliance with various laws and regulations.
- Identification and tracking of what measures are necessary to achieve or maintain compliance.
- Project planning-type tools for developing processes, policies and protocols to achieve or maintain compliance.
- Tools for monitoring the implementation of the aforementioned measures.
- Continued monitoring of the regulatory landscape.
- Alerts on new or modified laws and regulatory requirements.
As the name suggests, this software is designed with the IT landscape in mind, although some of the tools are similar to what you might find in other risk management platforms. For example, most IT compliance software systems feature project management-type tools that allow users to formulate and track the company’s response once a compliance issue is identified.
IT compliance software is available as a stand-alone platform or as part of a larger risk management software system. As with most of today’s software offerings, you can choose between SaaS offerings and traditionally-licensed software. SaaS platforms tend to be more popular both in terms of availability and desirability due to factors such as the cloud-based nature of the system, the subscription-type pay-as-you-go pricing and broad accessibility.
Who Uses IT Compliance Software Platform?
IT compliance software platforms can bring a benefit to any company since technology has become an integral part of operations for nearly every organization. If a business utilizes technology, then it’s a virtual certainty that they are subject to IT-related laws and regulations.
There are certain industries, such as the healthcare industry and the financial sector, that are subject to additional regulatory oversight that impacts their technology. For example, financial sector companies are required to perform meticulous recordkeeping. This necessitates the implementation of well-architected data retention policies, among other things.
Another example can be found with the healthcare sector. Hospitals, physicians clinics and health insurance companies are just some of the many who are subject to HIPAA regulations, which closely regulates data access, data management and data storage practices for any and all information that’s classified as protected health information (PHI).
IT compliance software offers a toolset for managing compliance with what can be some very complex regulations and laws. Even those outside highly-regulated industries can see an advantage since there are many regulations that have a very broad reach. One example is the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR impacts any organization that does business with an EU citizen and it governs the handling of these users’ data. The sheer size of the potential fines and penalties — up to €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover (whichever figure is higher) — is compelling many organizations to take the required steps for compliance.
Nobody is immune to non-compliance issues. Even Amazon got slapped with a massive record-making GDPR fine totaling €746 million ($877 million) in July 2021.
The Benefits of IT Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management Software
The avoidance of costly fines and penalties is the most obvious benefit of using an IT compliance software system. But it’s a significant advantage because the sheer size of many fines can be devastating to a company’s financials.
Beyond this, though, there are additional benefits to consider. The very act of self-evaluation can lead to the discovery of inefficiencies that are worthy of correction. For example, a business may uncover ineffective processes and workflows as they investigate their data flows relative to a regulation that calls for a certain level of encryption while data is in-transit. So in addition to addressing the regulatory-related issues, the organization can now take steps to implement new, more efficient processes.
Similarly, these compliance-related reviews and investigations can lead to the discovery of previously-undetected problems. For instance, an organization may be evaluating their data retention practices only to realize that a segment of their data is not being retained as was previously believed to be the case.
Additionally, IT compliance software helps companies to avoid costly public relations disasters. Today’s headlines frequently feature businesses that have been cited for IT-related non-compliance. Most often, these violations involve user data. Data breaches and improper data management incidents abound, the public tends to look poorly upon companies that mishandle their information. Recovering from one of these incidents can be extremely challenging and costly, which makes effective IT compliance management a very important part of a company’s long term risk mitigation strategy.
IT compliance software empowers an organization by forwarding risk mitigation and management efforts. Effective risk management — whether it concerns a company’s IT infrastructure or some other aspect of their operations — is crucial for long term success in today’s competitive, technology-centric business world.
The act of formulating an effective plan to manage a company’s risks and vulnerabilities can be quite challenging. That is where iTech can assist. Our risk management and compliance specialists provide comprehensive and cost-effective risk management solutions to clients in all sectors and industries. Contact iTech today to begin formulating your company’s IT compliance and risk management strategy.