The Difficulties of IT Compliance and How to Improve
Reading time 7 minutes
Compliance is increasingly crucial for enterprises today. It’s one of the most important things you have to tackle when building an IT empire, and you need to continuously pay attention to it. With so many different kinds of IT businesses and standards that must be adhered to, you may find it difficult. So let’s look at why IT compliance is a burden and how to make things easier.
What is IT Compliance?
For an IT company to run safely, and in order for third parties to trust it, the company must meet certain expectations. These expectations can be related to ethics, processes, or user information. IT compliance converts these expectations into standards or rules. If a company is IT compliant, it means the company meets all the ethical and legal expectations the regulatory bodies require. The main aim of IT compliance is security and trust so that different parties can work with each other smoothly.
Many people confuse IT security and IT compliance. Put simply, IT compliance is the adherence to certain standards decided by governing bodies, legislative organizations and the organization itself while IT security involves securing your enterprise by taking preventive measures based on your own analysis and requirements. Both IT compliance and IT security can be about enhancing security, but IT security is not mandatory even though it’s good to have. IT compliance is a must.
Adapt governance to meet engineering teams where they are for continuous compliance and automatic auditability.
The requirement to wear a seatbelt while driving is a rule made for your safety. Not following this rule would put your life at risk, and you can be fined for it. IT compliance is similar, but it’s about IT standards that every IT organization has to follow for safety and legal and ethical purposes.
Why is IT Compliance difficult?
Understanding the benefits of IT compliance is easy enough. You will
- Avoid fines
- Improve security
- Increase your reputation
- Find better business opportunities
Everybody wants these benefits. The problem is that IT compliance is challenging. Let’s look at these challenges one by one.
In order to follow rules strictly, it’s crucial to have full control over your assets. This is lacking when a company has a BYOD (bring your own device) policy. Administrators don’t have admin privileges on personal devices, so they lack complete control. Even if they somehow managed to comply and restrict certain actions in the office environment, devices will be out of their control when users take them home. Some employees might understand why compliance is necessary, but the majority will choose comfort and convenience over rules.
Lack of Awareness
Employees mostly focus on what they have to do in their own wheelhouses. Requiring them to put in extra effort to learn about and comply with regulations is too much for most employees. Since most employees aren’t aware of what they must do to remain compliant, things will naturally go wrong. Organizations can hold education sessions to create awareness, but not every company can afford it. And even if they can, there’s no guarantee of the results.
A lot of companies need to comply with different standards. Implementation becomes harder with an increasing number of rules, especially when there are conflicting versions of the same rule. Feasibility and the lack of available resources can present additional challenges. Some companies need to make major changes to their architecture or processes in order to be compliant.
An IT company does more than just build a product or provide a service, and marketing, data analysis, and business intelligence also depend heavily on data. Most companies have separate agencies or partners that take care of these tasks. For this association to work, you might have to share data with third parties. You can control what happens in your company, but controlling outside your scope is difficult. You might be fully compliant, but if your partners or third-party enterprises mess things up, you’ll still be in trouble.
Lack of Planning
When building an IT company, especially in the age of entrepreneurship and start-ups, products and services come first, compliance later. Many companies don’t plan ahead, and this lack of planning makes compliance difficult later. Expansion can lead to additional compliance requirements, and the more standards that need to be followed, the harder compliance will be if planning was poor.
Lack of planning can also lead to post-incident trouble. Many companies focus on adding preventive security measures, but they don’t have a contingency plan for when things go wrong. It’s good that you’re trying your best to avoid a security breach, but do you have a plan for after a breach happens?
The challenges listed above are the most common, but there are others. All these issues might make you feel like complete IT compliance is impossible, but it’s not.
How to Improve IT Compliance
IT compliance has been around for a while now. A lot of companies have failed, and many more have succeeded. Either way, there is always more to learn. Below are some time-tested ways to improve.
Understand Your Compliance Requirements
The first step to complying with standards is understanding which standards apply to you. You need to understand your company inside and out and research all the requirements. There are two main benefits to researching thoroughly. First, you won’t miss anything. And second, you won’t waste your time on standards that don’t apply. Understanding compliance requirements also helps you prioritize your compliance processes and plan ahead.
Also consider the risk approach. Think of the possible risks and threats your company might face. Take a thorough look at your company and analyze what can go wrong. This will give you an understanding of your security requirements, which in turn will help you with compliance requirements.
A good number of compliance violations happen due to human error and a lack of employee awareness. It’s impossible to reduce human error to zero, but we can surely prevent violations due to a lack of awareness. Employees must be educated on the laws and standards that they have to follow. You can and should arrange regular workshops and seminars.
IT compliance is not a one-time thing. It’s a continuous process. Standards are updated regularly to make sure they produce the best outcome, so you have to keep checking for updates and new standards.
Along with regular checks, continuous monitoring is essential. Even if there is no update in standards, a change inside your company may have created a compliance gap.
Compliance has to be implemented throughout your company, so you need to track your company’s reach. It may apply to you even when and where your company is only indirectly involved. Once this scope is defined, you have to make sure all of it is IT compliant.
Make IT Compliance Easy
IT compliance is hard, but there’s a way to make it easier. Plutora provides governance and risk management capabilities that help you with all your compliance needs. You can use Plutora for compliance with multiple standards and frameworks. Plutora builds governance into engineering workflows to give engineers the freedom to code while managing risk. With this platform, you get auditability, traceability, and continuous compliance. So if you’re looking to make IT compliance easier for you and want a good solution, sign up for a personalized Plutora demo and see for yourself how beneficial it is.