As the world changes and business continues to become digitized across the board, companies face an onslaught of regulations and guidelines. Staying compliant isn’t always the easiest task. How you approach this issue in your own business will prove to be critically important, both now and in the future.
Compliance in the Age of Technology
To call this the “age of technology” may be a bit of a misnomer – at least in the sense that every generation and society past has fancied themselves to be living in the middle of such an age. But even when historians look back decades or centuries from now, they’ll have to acknowledge that this period of time – the first couple of decades of the 21st century – was overwhelmingly characterized by innovation and advances.
Most of the innovation we’ve experienced over the last 20-plus years has been directly tied to the emergence and explosion of the internet. There’s been a significant increase in the availability of data, as well as the reach of business through globalization.
As Nick Ismail writes for InformationAge, “Globalization has increased cross-border connections between businesses, creating new complications with regard to security and control over data. Mergers and acquisitions have given rise to more complicated multi-jurisdictional organizational structures, thus, business risks have become increasingly fragmented, distributed and complex.”
Consider that everything is now being tracked, recorded, logged, and stored through big data analytics and the cloud. Then consider that cyber criminal activity is at an all-time high, with hackers constantly looking for ways to identify loopholes and expose businesses.
All of these factors – and dozens of others – come together to form an (im)perfect storm. Compliance has never been more important, nor more challenging. Unless your business finds a way to tackle this issue head-on, you may have choppy waters ahead.
3 Proactive Digital Compliance Tips
If you study the ways leading businesses approach compliance in today’s challenging and hostile landscape, you’ll notice that they’re extremely proactive. Here are some ways you can be as well:
- Be Wary of Totally Automating Compliance
Because of the time-intensive nature of compliance, many businesses turn to automation. There’s nothing wrong with automating compliance, but be wary of totally streamlining it. A system of checks and balances is always good.
“The outputs produced by these new processes will often need further investigation,” Ismail admits. “Paradigms and assumptions will need to be vetted, the processes will need oversight and the data as well as the outcomes will need validation. It is for this reason that humans are still central to an effective compliance function.”
- Hire Outside Help
It’s smart to bring in some outside help. Not only will consultants and services offer more expertise, but they also have fresh eyes.
Computer systems and software – which are vital to every modern business – are especially important to monitor. Hiring a company like Arbour Group to come in and periodically ensure these systems are functional and in full compliance with industry guidelines and government regulations is important.
- Loop in All Departments
It’s not enough to discuss compliance in the C-suite. In order for your business to be fully protected, you need to involve all departments and employees in the conversation. This is especially true when it comes to marketing and advertising, which can quickly spiral out of control without some strategic oversight.
Any staff member who has direct or indirect contact with external stakeholders – including investors, clients, and prospective customers – needs to have a firm grasp on the compliance requirements. This will require you to create and implement a detailed social media policy, as well as guidelines on how and where advertising can take place.
Marketing/advertising and compliance don’t seem like they go together, but in today’s environment, they have to be collaborative partners. Any failures or shortcomings in this area could prove damaging.
Keep Your Business on Track
We’re living in the middle of an age of digital technology proliferation. And for all of the positive benefits these new advances bring, growth in cloud computing and big data analytics has created a challenging environment for compliance. Keeping your corporation on track requires a diligent and proactive approach. Make sure you tackle this issue head-on so that you can continue to push forward and enjoy unimpeded success.