How To Stay Compliant and Obey The Law With Today’s Digital Era
In the past, many aspects of personal privacy depended on how you handled it. This meant that less tech-savvy people ended up with no or poor online protection. Since then, the landscape of laws and regulations regarding user data has changed a lot.
Most importantly, companies are more careful with handling user data and are obliged to do so. In the past couple of years, important measures have been taken to limit the power that companies have over their users.
Unfortunately, before GDPR was adopted in 2018, corporations were often selling and misusing data. With a third of users utilizing the internet and social platforms for researching brands and products, you can see why corporations wanted to get access to their personal preferences and desires (Spoiler: It’s because of marketing).
Thanks to these regulations, users have become more protected and their privacy is respected. This article should ensure that your business operates according to the adopted regulations and that you’re respecting user boundaries.
Importance of complianceTo start with the most basic definition, compliance refers to the “state of meeting rules or standards. In the context of this article, compliance means adhering to interterritorial laws and regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, or other regional regulations that might apply to your business.
Compliance regulations cover the internal and external affairs of your company. The real importance of compliance lies in the fact that failing to adhere to the mentioned regulations can result in fines, penalties, lawsuits, and long-term reputation blows to your business.
Regardless of the size of your company, you need to ensure that you’re handling your user data accordingly. Compliance has layers to it. If you have an online service, for example, you will need to ensure that the technical aspects of its website don’t violate regulations.
On the other hand, training your employees to understand laws, regulations, and your internal policies ensures that your company won’t be harmed by an ignorant employee.
While these regulations seem like they are limiting your business, they are actually helping you understand how the users and customers need to be treated. You should use these regulations to your advantage and embrace a transparent approach.
Violating regulations can cause financial harm, but you can expect serious blows to your reputation as well. Personally, this can prevent you from establishing successful businesses in the future, and lower the popularity of your current company.
Practices to ensure complianceFor us mortals, learning about such rules might seem like a tedious task. However, compared to some other fields of law, these documents are quite easy to understand. Practices that ensure compliance can also be implemented with ease.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your business compliant. There will be expenses here and there, but there are many practices that only require vigilance and being up-to-date with
1. Utilize tools and software
There are many tools that will do the process of ensuring compliance for you. The category of compliance management software is still in development, and there isn’t a one-size-fits all solution at this moment.
However, such software can help you with streamlining certain processes in a manner that will ensure compliance. Furthermore, you can use tools and software that aren’t necessarily meant for compliance to ensure it.
For example, this article helps you understand what tools can help you protect your employees on the internet, which also protects your overall security system. Legal and accounting software is also extremely useful as it can help you with obeying the laws and keeping track of your financial and legal responsibilities with ease.
Compliance management software is versatile, and it allows you to make widespread management decisions and improvements. You can also use it to schedule shifts or to provide field training for certain departments.
2. Keeping up with the trendsIt’s been a couple of years since GDPR has been adopted and companies had some time to ensure that they make changes which will ensure that they are compliant with it. Quickly after GDPR, many countries decided to follow the example set by European Union and brought their own versions of GDPR.
The world of online compliancy has been growing, and it’s important to keep track of various regulations worldwide. Although if you’re operating with customers from EU, you don’t have to necessarily know about Indonesian regulations, there are still chances that people from other regions as well might want to purchase your products or services.
You can forbid users from certain regions to visit your website. However, someone from India can use UK web proxies, to try and avoid such restrictions, so you need to be quite mindful how you’re going to handle such situations.
Only a couple of years after the GDPR, we’ve seen EU adopt digital markets act, which is another document that limits the power of large corporations. Although this document is applicable only to large players such as Google and Microsoft, it’s still a sign that EU is working vigilantly toward a fair and safe internet.
You don’t have to worry about regulations suddenly tightening your company. Such documents usually give a deadline of a couple of months or years for companies to ensure compliancy.
3. Use regulations as guidelines
Although breaking regulations shouldn’t happen at all, you need to consider them as guidelines rather than an annoyance. These regulations help companies as well as their users, as it can help them establish better operations.
That being said, regulations can help you develop a more mindful approach when it comes to gathering and handling user data. A user will always opt for a company that’s been respecting the privacy and confidentiality of user data, rather than the one who was been known for intruding on individuals.
Use regulations as an advantage over your competitors who are still in the murky waters when it comes to compliancy. As mentioned, there are tools that can help you with ensuring that your company is compliant, and that will allow you to tweak your processes accordingly.
However, I must stress that even though you should look at documents such as GDPR and CCPA as compass, breaking them will result in all fines and lawsuits. Take them seriously, and don’t try to find shortcuts to their implementation.
4. Do security auditsIf your business breaks any of the laws and regulations, nobody will care if that happened on accident or if it wasn’t your fault. Sure, Yahoo! didn’t want to leak 500 million accounts but they certainly didn’t bother to prevent that from happening.
Regardless of your industry, you need to have security protocols that minimize the chances of external and internal breaches. From time to time, you need to make a thorough audits that can reveal any weak points that your system might have.
The manner in which this is conducted depends whether you have an online or a brick and mortar business. In case of having physical office, you need additional security measures, but there’s also a lot more that you can do.
Remote companies don’t have the control over the devices that their employees use. This is a security flaw that might lead to leaks of information. As a company, you can either buy them devices, or subscribe to security software that will protect their current devices.
Security audits might require external personnel such as cybersecurity experts. This can be costly, but it’s definitely going to be worth it.
Besides implementing cybersecurity software, you should teach your employees the basics of internet safety. There are only a few programs that will send you an alert if you open a phishing website. But recognizing a phishing website is a skill that all employees must have.
Staying compliant is crucial for protecting your companyUser data isn’t a good that should companies trade with and exploit. Those are pieces of individuals whose privacy should be respected and valued. Companies that understood this on time, are operating successfully. Those that didn’t, are either suffering from poor reputation or are bankrupted.
These practices should help you ensure compliance and minimize the chances of being sued or harmed in any way. If you’re operating successfully, there’s no need to avoid the importance of laws and regulations, that can be implemented without too much investments.
If you’re a startup owner, setting up foundations on transparency and respect towards users is a great way to start your business.
Veljko is a student of information technology who paired his passion for technology with his writing skills. He is an emerging specialist in cybersecurity having completed courses in the field and written for popular blogs in the industry. His hobbies include weightlifting, reading history, and classic literature.
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