What Is IT Compliance and How Does It Affect Your Business?

what is it compliance business information technology compliant

Over the last few years, many businesses have started placing a greater emphasis on compliance. At the same time, though, 31 percent of chief compliance officers (or CCOs) do not share any kind of conduct or culture-related information across their organizations.

This can lead to less-than-ideal compliance rates, especially when it comes to matters like information technology (or IT) compliance. Read on to learn more about IT compliance, specifically, and its importance to the success of your company.

What Is IT Compliance?

IT compliance is all about businesses taking control of their information and protecting it. This includes the following:

  • Having strict protocols in place for the way information is obtained, stored, and secured
  • Having a plan for its availability
  • Taking specific measures to protect valuable information

Businesses need to focus on both internal and external compliance. Internal compliance refers to the internal policies, goals, and systems put in place for employees to follow. External compliance refers to the use of specialized tools that help to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction while also protecting both the end-user and the company.

Another key term to understand is IT governance. IT governance is the function of managing and addressing all technical, procedural, and strategic processes related to a company's information. 

Why Does It Matter?

Both IT compliance and IT governance play key roles in helping businesses to run in the most effective way possible. The following are some specific reasons to prioritize IT compliance:

Maintaining Long-Term Safety

First, making IT compliance a priority helps to protect your business from potential IT issues. You'll be less likely to experience hacks or data breaches that could put you and your customers at risk.

Good IT compliance also protects you from serious legal ramifications. If you want your business to last, you need to stay on the right side of the law.

Staying in Line with Best Practices

Remember, IT rules and regulations aren't designed just to be a thorn in your side. They also serve important purposes when it comes to helping your business run smoothly and keeping your customers happy. As you know, happy customers are more likely to become loyal customers, and loyal customers are more likely to recommend your business to their friends and families.

Enjoying a Better Reputation

You don't want to become known as the business that doesn't take IT compliance seriously, do you? Whether you have that reputation among other businesses in your industry or if it leaks out to your customers, this could be disastrous to the long-term success of your company. It's better to be known for being extra cautious with people's data than careless, right?

Saving Money

Data breaches and other IT issues can cost your business thousands upon thousands of dollars to fix. Let's not forget about the money you'll lose if your customers jump ship or your company's name starts getting smeared in the media. If you want to avoid hemorrhaging money to try and keep your company afloat, make sure all your IT- and security-related boxes are checked.

Gaining New Opportunities for Business Expansion

When you focus on IT compliance and maintaining your company's reputation, you'll have more opportunities to expand the business and become more profitable. If this matters to you (and it should, no matter how small your business is now), start improving your IT compliance sooner rather than later.

How to Improve Your IT Compliance

Okay, you understand that IT compliance matters. How do you and your CCO work to improve IT compliance throughout your company, though? Start by taking these steps:

Provide Adequate Education

If your employees don't have to deal with IT-related matters on a regular basis, they might not understand the importance of being IT compliant. This, in turn, can lead to reckless behavior that damages your company.

To avoid this, make sure you're providing sufficient education on the importance of IT compliance. When your employees know why they need to take it seriously, they'll be more inclined to do so.

Conduct Regular Check-ins

Be sure to check in on your employees on a regular basis, too. This gives you a chance to gauge their understanding of matters related to being IT compliant. You can also answer any questions they might have and address potential issues right away, rather than waiting until they turn it big problems.

Make It Easy

Do whatever you can to make IT compliance easy for your employees. Try to build it into your business processes whenever possible so that you and your team don't have to think too much about it or worry about potential mistakes. The easier you make it for them, the more time they will be able to spend focusing on their other responsibilities (the ones that help to make your business profitable). 

Explain Ramifications

When you are emphasizing the importance of being IT compliant to your employees, you should also be clear about the ramifications that come with a lack of compliance. Talk about what the consequences will be for them if they don't take specific measures to protect company information.

Work with Professionals

If you need help simplifying the IT compliance process and putting protocols in place that keep company information safe, consider working with a professional IT organization. According to the top information technology experts, this helps you to ensure no stone goes unturned.

When you work with IT professionals, they can also assist you in explaining the value of compliance to your team. They may be able to get through to them in ways that you or your CCO can't.

Improve Your Compliance Today

As you can see, IT compliance is essential if you want to keep your business secure and ensure that it continues to run as smoothly as possible. Be sure to follow the guidelines listed above to improve your company's IT compliance and keep everyone up to speed on what's expected of them.

If you want to learn more about IT compliance or best practices for running your business, we have lots of other great resources available on our site. Visit the Tech section of our site today for more information technology and new technologies advice.

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