How Compliant is Your Birmingham Business? 4 Questions You Need to Ask

Apr 2, 2024 | Blog

No matter which industry you serve, odds are your company needs IT compliance that meets the latest regulatory standards. As companies continue integrating technology into their business operations, more legislation will be created to dictate how companies manage the personal and financial data of its users and customers. IT compliance is a must.

Why Compliance Is Important

While we know it’s a hassle, it’s a bad idea to let IT compliance challenges stop you from staying current. Not being in compliance with industry regulations results in negative consequences for your business. Companies and high-level executives may be fined thousands or millions of dollars and face prison time, depending on the severity of the violation. Your business could suffer downtime and damage to its reputation. And it could be forced to close. In a matter of six months, six out of 10 small businesses are forced to shutter after a data breach, according to Inc.

How These Policies Affect Your Business

Below are some examples of industry regulations which may affect your business. Not every market will be affected by all of these regulations, but it’s critical to know which ones apply to you. Here are four compliance questions to ask yourself:

1. Do You Have European Customers?

In May 2018, a set of guidelines for how personal information from individuals living in the European Union is collected and processed went into effect. This became known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This regulation not only affects websites based in the EU, but applies to any website that offers services to EU residents.

Under these rules, visitors must be alerted that your website will be collecting their data and give them the option to consent or “opt-in” – allowing their data to be collected.

2. Does Your Website Allow Credit Card Payments?

If your website has the functionality to conduct credit card transactions, you need to be in IT compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The PCI DSS is the compliance regulation that requires all companies that accept, transmit, process or store credit card holder data during a transaction to maintain a secure digital environment.

Each major credit card company has its own set of levels and requirements based on the number of credit card transactions a business accepts annually. For example, a Level Four merchant with Visa is a business processing less than 20,000 Visa transactions a year. This level requires companies to annually complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ), submit an Attestation of Compliance (AOC) Form and conduct a quarterly network scan by an Approved Scan Vendor (ASV) when needed.

3. Do You Handle Healthcare Records?

Patient confidentiality is one of the pillars of the health care industry — hence why there are so many compliance regulations to remember. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets compliance standards for companies that handle protected health information (PHI).

Anyone that has access to patient records, provides or supports treatment, collects payments, or operates within the health care space must follow HIPAA compliance to keep personal patient data safe.

4. Does Your Company Store Financial Records?

Are your company’s financial records up to date? To stop companies from reporting false or inaccurate financial information, the U.S. government passed legislation known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in 2002. This regulation protects shareholders and the general public from accounting errors and corrupt financial business practices by public companies.

This regulation affects how financial and IT departments maintain, store and archive their corporate records. It also sets dates for how long companies need to archive this data.

How to Simplify Compliance

If you’re a small- or medium-sized business, you may not have the manpower to focus on maintaining data compliance and meeting industry regulations. That’s where Sawyer Solutions comes in. We conduct audits and assessments to see where your company stands with industry regulations. Then we create and maintain policies and procedures that will keep your company in IT compliant in the future.

Don’t tackle this complex topic alone — contact us today to jumpstart your compliance efforts.