Why Technology is Key to Your Compliance Reporting

Whether you’re a shrimp importer tracking the temperature of shipped shrimp, a nonprofit using state or federal grant funds or a healthcare professional protecting patients, it’s likely you are required to meet compliancy regulations. This, in turn, necessitates a robust compliance management plan.

It’s not enough to track compliance, you also have to be able to collect, secure and report information to regulatory entities. Tracking compliancy is particularly difficult and would be almost impossible without technology as a key tool in successfully meeting regulations.

Just like you need a CPA for tax services or an attorney for legal advice, you need a third-party IT consultant who understands how compliancy relates to your technology environment. Integrating compliancy software and specific security practices into your day-to-day operations is crucial to reporting data accurately to governing agencies. In fact, securing data is the primary objective of many compliancy laws. Compliance auditors must see evidence that policies, procedures and practices have been implemented to secure the data required by compliance guidelines.

When looking for an IT partner to manage the technology aspects of your compliancy plan, make sure they have experience and expertise in the following areas.

4 Compliance Objectives Your IT Partner Should Manage

  1. Control of your environment
    Most compliance laws require organizations to have a process to plan and manage IT risk. As a third-party provider, your IT managed service provider must also meet standards set forth by the regulator. In fact, many times a third-party IT service is required by an audit.
  • Develop strategic plan for IT plans and priorities
  • Regularly evaluate IT risks and address any risks identified
  1. Data center and backups
    An appropriate, reliable data backup and recovery processes must be part of your strategic plan. Data and file server backups are performed – and tested – to minimize the risk of lost or corrupted data. Backups should only be accessible by authorized personnel and this practice needs to be documented.
  • Provide logs and snapshots of backup intervals
  • Ensure parties that house backups have proper controls in place
  1. Information cybersecurity
    Software, data and equipment are safeguarded to prevent unauthorized access. This includes securing email, files and network information while physically protecting server rooms, offline data storage and hardware.Many compliance regulations place a high emphasis on this area as non-compliancy potentially affects many people through loss of personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and health information. Information security reaps a high number of legal infractions and fines.
  • Develop and implement information security policies
  • Document employee changes including processes for removing and issuing user accounts
  • Proof of IT password policies and practices being followed
  • Inventory of security controls in place such as firewalls, routers, intrusions detectors, etc.
  • Conduct vulnerability assessments
  1. Change management
    A centralized change tracking system ensures that any organizational application, database and operating system changes have been approved and are being managed in conjunction with compliance regulations.
  • Formalize policies to manage changes
  • Maintain a list of system changes
  • Provide supporting documents to prove system changes have been authorized

As your company’s Chief Information Officer, DiamondIT is your partner in meeting compliancy tracking, remediation and maintenance requirements. Don’t let industry or governmental regulations stand in your way of success. Our team is ready to help – Contact us online or call 877-716-8324.

4 Reasons to Include IT in Your Compliance Management Process

Regardless of the industry you’re in, most businesses have regulations and requirements they have to abide by, making compliance an essential part of being successful.

The cost of maintaining compliance

The cost of regulatory compliance averages $12,000 a year for most small businesses, says the National Small Business Association. For new businesses, direct and indirect costs to stay compliant in the first year top $80,000.

Of course, the cost of non-compliance can be much steeper. HIPAA violations range between $100 to $50,000 per violation or record with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year, and Sarbanes Oxley fines are up to $5 million and 20 years in jail. Regardless of the monetary cost of non-compliance, loss of production and reputation may take a higher toll on your business.

The rules that regulate your regulation

From Food and Drug Administration and the SEC to OSHA regulations, businesses ranging from healthcare, finance, agriculture and energy face complicated rules – and the number of rules are ever-increasing. In 1960, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations was about 20,000 pages; today, it has over 185,000 pages – an 825 percent increase!

Tracking is an important component of managing compliance. Whether you’re an importer needing to trace your product from point-of-origin to point-of-sale or an oil producer tracking equipment parts from the manufacturer, the success of your business (and, often, the safety of your customers and employees) are dependent upon your ability to meet tracking requirements.

The sheer complexity of being compliant makes it necessary to use technology to meet requirements.

As with many government programs, compliance programs tend to be complicated and time consuming. Integrating compliance tracking into your culture is not as simple as reaching out to colleagues to borrow a spreadsheet. An experienced, professional IT managed services provider is the best resource for implementing a seamless, automatic tracking system into your regular operations and existing technology.

As your personal Chief Information Officer, DiamondIT helps you manage compliance tracking projects:

  1. Help evaluate and select the best software for compliance tracking
    New software can be problematic if your IT provider hasn’t inspected it to make sure it will work with your existing resources and to assure that it does what it says it will do. DiamondIT works with you to evaluate the software that will work for your current systems.
  1. Ensures hardware requirements are in place
    New software may have different hosting requirements than you have in place. DiamondIT ensures that your new software is compatible with your hardware.
  1. Advises on ways to integrate the app into your day-to-day operations
    Don’t make the mistake of purchasing software without knowing whether or not it will integrate into your operations. Software vendors often don’t look past their own apps to see if the new app will integrate with your existing infrastructure.
  1. Monitors your system
    Lapses in compliance tracking can lead to messy audits when the government comes calling to inspect your compliance management. An MSP monitors your systems to ensure your software is up-to-date and functioning optimally.

Don’t end up with a compliance tracking system that fails to meet your needs. Let Diamond IT help you address your compliance needs so they are effective and fit into your current technology environment.

Five Tips for Developing a Cybersecure Culture in Your Organization

Every year in October, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  promotes National Cybersecurity Awareness Month – a time when organizations are asked to take stock of the state of their network security.  However, as we head into the holiday season, with Cyber Monday and other online sales and promotions abound – cybersecurity for both businesses and consumers is an issue everyone should pay attention to year-round.

The Future is Almost Here – 5G Brings the Next Gen Cellular Networking

 

Today, the buzz in the cellular world is all about the promise of 5G – otherwise known as the fifth generation of cellular networking.  While some carriers have announced 5G products, the truth is, we are still a ways off from actually seeing 5G mass marketed in the way of 4G and LTE.  There is also a misperception that like a product launch, 5G will suddenly appear on the market, drumming up mass excitement.   It won’t appear all at once; customers will start to see 5G emerge in bits and pieces with various carriers.

Embracing Compliance Can Save Money and Reputation

Data is the DNA of any business or organization.  And your data – whether it’s research and development, payroll information, client payment details, or any other mission-critical information – is up for grabs by cybercriminals who want nothing more than to sell stolen data on the dark web.

Artificial Intelligence is Major Player in Detecting, Preventing and Prioritizing Cyber-Threats

It’s a good news-bad news scenario:  Many IT teams, from government to agriculture to healthcare and everything in between, are receiving an abundance of threat notifications from their next-gen firewalls and operating systems. The cause? Suspicious malware lurking in an organization’s network.

Microsoft 365 Users Beware: Fraudulent Emails Are Out to Steal Your Passwords

 

Have you received what looks like a very legitimate email suggesting you need to upgrade your Microsoft 365 account?  Maybe the IRS sent you a notification regarding a “critical alert” via email?  If so, do not engage!  A new wave of phishing attacks is trying to get users to respond to fake emails that could easily infect your computer with a virus that can compromise your passwords.

Your Journey to the Cloud Doesn’t Have to be Stormy

Just because your business is small doesn’t mean you’re immune from computer viruses, malware and other cyber-attacks. Although it sounds logical for hackers to target larger businesses because of their larger amounts of data, research shows small and medium businesses are just as likely to be attacked as larger enterprise businesses, according to the 2018 Symantec Internet Security Report. In fact, small and medium businesses may be even more vulnerable than their larger counterparts because of the tendency of smaller companies to spend less on security.

 

Many smaller businesses have not increased their cybersecurity even though they often have poorly secured servers, unprotected endpoint devices and vulnerable storage and back-up processes. With the increased usage of mobile devices to accommodate today’s mobile workforce, the door to your data is opened wide if a laptop or smart phone is lost or stolen.

 

Hackers aren’t about who they attack – they’re happy to steal from any business. They typically take a shotgun approach, aiming at as many businesses possible to make small amounts of money per breach. This spray-and-pray approach increases cyber risks exponentially for smaller businesses.

How to Talk about Cybersecurity to your Board: Cybersecurity Risk Management Oversight Tool

It is no secret that cybercrime has hit a record high. Reports from The Center for Strategic and International Studies and McAfee are estimating that worldwide cyberattacks – including online fraud, financial crimes, post-breach mitigation, cyber insurance and more – are costing the world a whopping $600 billion —  a $150 billion increase over 2014.

Taking into mind that any organization, large or small, can be hit with ransomware, DDoS attacks, and other cyberattacks, the Center for Audit Quality has announced a new tool to help board members, management, and CPA firms have a strategic discussion about cybersecurity risks, mitigation processes, and disclosures.

Hey, You! Get Off of My Cloud

  In conversations about cloud computing, people tend to refer to the tool as “The Cloud” which implies that somewhere out there in the virtual world is a single place where all data and online apps live. Actually, there are many cloud services available. In fact, the virtual world can be downright overcast with the number of cloud choices.

Cloud computing gives businesses access to data, apps, services and files anywhere, anytime. The problem is – what if it also allows access to anyone?

The Cloud especially improves team collaboration when a business has multiple locations or even numerous employees working on the same project in the same location but on individual devices. Teams that use social technologies like cloud collaboration tools have raised their productivity over 20 percent.