Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often understand the critical importance of compliance but lack the proper resources to manage it as effectively as larger organizations. We’ve seen SMBs all over Hartford struggle with the subtle nuances and frequent updates common in compliance frameworks such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As the old saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse — but that doesn't mean you have to handle compliance alone.
If you want your business to flourish, you have to keep up with the evolving rules and processes specific to your location and industry. For example, there are Connecticut-specific requirements for insurance companies or federal statutes for defense contractors. If you fail to do what your respective government bodies require, you can lose your protections and accrue fees and penalties.
Although the requirements vary depending on the framework you’re beholden to, here’s a broad overview of what you can do to keep abreast with regulations:
Perform regular audits
A routine check up on the cybersecurity solutions protecting your accounts, documents, and data is essential to get a holistic view of what regulators care about most.
Although most compliance frameworks only stipulate annual assessments and reviews, performing them two to four times per year will make things much easier for you. If there's an average of one regulatory issue per month, would you rather address three per quarter or 12 right before the deadline?
It’s your responsibility to identify the risks your business may face when it comes to not complying with regulations. But what do you need to look for when performing these assessments? Depending on the type of business you run, the size of your business, and the industry in which you operate, risk factors may vary.
For example, if you store any data on EU citizens, you're subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and must be able to respond within one month to a citizens' request for all of their data that you store. Failing to do so may result in fines up to €20 million or 4% of a company’s worldwide annual turnover.
Properly identifying risks can help you implement preventive measures and monitor your operations and processes. Ultimately, this will minimize the amount of time you spend worrying about compliance.
Encrypt your files
Data security regulations don't always tell you exactly how to become compliant. When that's the case, a good place to start is with industry best practices. Take data encryption for instance. It's not mandated by HIPAA or DFARs, but enacting it will address a broad range of cybersecurity issues.
To ensure the security of company information, you need to ensure that restricted documents are only accessible to authorized people. Use proper encryption methods to hold your data a secure environment where only select recipients can access, share, and receive critical documents.
Partner with a trusted MSP
Hiring the right managed services provider (MSP) will help lift the burden of compliance. Here are but some of the many things an MSP partner will help you with:
- Digital signatures – These let clients sign documents while reducing turnaround time and efficiency
- Real-time document tracking – This shows you if your file has been downloaded or viewed
- Automatic filing – Sorts and stores all documents so that your team can always access the latest version
- Internal audit software – Provides clear ownership of information and visible document history
- Proper security protocols – Assesses threats to your organization by identifying areas of weakness and potential danger spots specific to your company’s environment.
Charles IT offers these features and more. If you host data that is regulated by federal compliance requirements, you need to meet certain benchmarks with regards to industry-specific data. To ensure that your business operates smoothly and legally, download our eBook and learn about the 3 types of cybersecurity solutions your business must have.