The way an organization handles its information resources is critical in today’s data-driven business landscape. Companies are responsible for efficiently storing and processing large volumes of information that arrive from multiple and diverse channels. Virtually all organizations process some kind of sensitive data about customers or employees that needs to be managed according to guidelines designed to keep it secure and maintain its privacy.

What is Compliance?

Compliance is the act of meeting designated standards. It is used in a variety of settings ranging from the allowable loft of a golf club to the length of time financial records need to be retained. The type of compliance we talking about in this post is concerned with the way an organization handles its data resources.

Compliance can be compelled by industry regulations or internal guidelines. While many of the processes and procedures to achieve compliance are similar in either case, the penalties for noncompliance differ significantly.

Regulatory compliance

Companies operating in regulated industries such as healthcare or financial services are required to maintain compliance with strict data privacy and security standards. A prime example is the need for healthcare companies in the U.S. to comply with the data privacy and security of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

In the age of ecommerce, the majority of businesses collect and store credit card information for their customers which is subject to the guidelines defined in the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). More all-encompassing data protection guidelines such as those spelled out in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation affect companies that have customers in member countries.

Failure to comply with the appropriate data handling guidelines can lead to substantial fines and penalties from the administering organizations. Noncompliance also increases the risks of devastating data breaches that impact a company’s customers as well as its reputation with consumers.

Compliance with company standards

In addition to mandated regulatory compliance, many organizations have internal guidelines concerning the way they process sensitive information. While the type of information they are protecting may not fall under the umbrella of HIPAA or PCI-DSS, specific data elements will need to be handled more carefully than others.

This data may include employee records, proprietary product details, or other information that is important to the organization. Noncompliance with internal standards does not pose the risk of financial penalties, but can still lead to data breaches and long-term damage to a company’s reputation.

Data governance is a strategy companies use to balance the need to access information while complying with privacy and security standards. Viable governance requires an organization to understand its information resources so it can afford each data element the correct level of protection to ensure its privacy and security are maintained.

How Digital Transformation Affects Compliance

Digital transformation involves an organization’s use of digital technologies to create or modify how they address the rapid pace of change in their business and the market. It has changed the way companies need to approach compliance in multiple ways. There are both compliance challenges and benefits that arise from an organization’s digital transformation.

Compliance challenges of digital transformation

The volume of data companies collect and the proliferation of business communication channels can make it difficult to maintain compliance. Examples of these challenges include:

  • Addressing the constantly evolving regulatory standards that force companies to reevaluate how they handle data resources;
  • Maintaining the necessary systems to monitor and report on data usage to demonstrate accountability with compliance standards;
  • Integrating new technologies and business procedures such as the use of mobile devices to access sensitive data resources;
  • Protecting sensitive data resources from the ever-increasing risk of cyberattacks.

Benefits of digital transformation on compliance

An organization’s digital transformation can also provide benefits that improve its ability to maintain regulatory and internal compliance. The following benefits can be instrumental in enabling a company to achieve compliance despite the challenges of digital transformation.

  • Organizations can streamline the process of maintaining and demonstrating compliance by reducing or eliminating time-consuming manual processes. In addition to consuming inordinate amounts of time, manual processes can be error-prone and result in unnecessary compliance failures.
  • Enhanced use of data resources is a byproduct of digital transformation as information is consolidated, making it available for analytics and business intelligence. Compliance teams can obtain a more complete picture of a company’s data assets so they can provide the level of protection each element requires.
  • The challenges posed by evolving regulations are more easily addressed by an organization using a digitally transformed compliance strategy. Changes can be made to the software tools driving compliance to accommodate updated security and privacy standards.
  • Adding value to the business is another way digital transformation impacts compliance. Compliance teams can identify risks and business opportunities using digital tools that may have been impossible to find with legacy procedures.

Working Toward Effective Digital Compliance

Maintaining compliance with regulatory standards demands organizations adopt a multi-faceted approach. Compliance requires a company to:

  • Understand the scope of its data resources so it can determine how they need to be protected;
  • Implement the necessary measures to ensure the security and privacy of sensitive data;
  • Demonstrate compliance to regulators when necessary through comprehensive reporting.

VAST IT Services can help your company navigate the challenges of digital transformation and achieve compliance with internal and external regulatory standards. VAST offers a wide range of services that provide the functionality to address compliance requirements.

VAST can perform discovery and assessment that provides an understanding of the environment and where sensitive data is being processed. This is a necessary first step for organizations intent on complying with data security and privacy regulations.

VAST offers cloud access security capabilities that keep your data secure inside and outside of your network. This functionality is essential to address the security complications of a remote workforce.

Working with VAST gives companies an experienced partner to help smooth their digital transformation and use technology effectively to maintain compliance. They will ensure your company has the necessary tools to thrive in today’s digital business world.