What is Compliance?
With security threats on the rise in recent times, confidential business data can be easily compromised. This brings about the necessity to implement strong information security measures today more than ever before. Compliance refers to the rules and regulations that are laid down to streamline such security measures for data protection, and emphasizes the need for organizations to adhere to such regulations. These can be governmental, industrial regulations or just strict internal policies.
The Compliance Challenge
Having realized the importance of ensuring data privacy, organizations face the stiff challenge of formulating and adopting compliance procedures, suitable to their nature of business. Many businesses also need to accommodate the fact that they are dealing with their clients' data and have to be all the more stringent in their security measures to protect that data. Companies also have to account for several financial implications and litigations that they can incur on failing to comply with major industrial and governmental regulations. Penalties levied for lack of compliance and failure to report accurately, are severe and can ultimately result in loss of trust and business for the organization concerned.
Apart from these, organizations must also effectively interpret several government-mandated regulatory standards that they are up against, no matter what type of business they are focused on. There are several occasions where organizations will also need to implement custom, internal compliance policies and meet audit requirements.
Role of IT in Compliance
Although compliance in general applies largely to all aspects of an organization, IT has a significant role to play in enforcing and ensuring compliance. IT can aid organizations automate and manage internal controls and security measures to successfully tackle today's compliance requirements. Almost all regulatory standards have clauses or requirements that impact IT. Moreover, any form of e-data stored in or accessible through computer systems or databases will be subjected to IT security and compliance audits. IT managers and CIOs today must therefore have separate focus and be willing to invest time, effort and money to ensure IT compliance.
In short, some of the top goals that IT managers and CIOs have, in implementing compliance today are:
Understanding the alphabet soup - SOX, HIPAA, PCI DSS, GLBA .. and more
Formulating best practices in IT to keep data secure, based on organizational requirements
Being proactive in identifying and eliminating security threats to ensure data privacy
High level of automation to validate the adherence to compliance policies
Facing IT audits and fulfilling auditor expectations
Making compliance an ongoing, company-wide process using an integrated solution
Components of Compliance in IT
There are several areas in IT that can contribute in solving technological problems related to security and compliance, to ensure data protection. You will first need to understand these important IT management functions in the context of compliance, before identifying and implementing automated solutions. Here are the most essential ones: