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.

Give Thanks by Donating Blood to the Millions in Need: DiamondIT Holds Community Blood Drive to Benefit the Houchin Blood Bank

Did you know that every two seconds someone needs blood in the U.S.?

Giving blood is one way to “give thanks” this Thanksgiving holiday.  Helping to fill the large need in Kern County, DiamondIT is sponsoring a community blood drive this coming Wednesday, November 23 from 8 a.m. until noon.  The DiamondIT blood drive will benefit the Houchin Blood Bank, which services all the hospitals and medical centers in Kern County.

The DiamondIT Community Blood Drive will treat donors to beverages, pastries, and DiamondIT swag. In addition, all participants will be able to enter raffles for both, a Target gift card and a gift basket donated by the Bakersfield Condors.

Keeping up with the Zuckerbergs: Why Charitable Works Pays Off on Social Media

This past week, it was announced with much fanfare, that Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, will donate $3 billion to help cure disease.  According to PC Magazine, the effort will be managed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to which Zuckerberg committed $45 billion of his personal fortune last fall.

It is no secret that in the past decade the giants in the technology industry such as Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, have taken charitable giving to a new level.  Their thoughtful campaigns and foundations have laid the groundwork to rid disease such as tuberculosis, and provided communities around the world with the means to test and vaccinate.

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Making Every Dollar Count: How Cloud Services Create Breathing Room in Your Non-Profit’s Budget

cloud servicesBeautiful and serene, Mount Whitney glimmers in the January sun, welcoming California into the New Ye—wait, no, that’s not Whitney, that mountain is the pile of work you’ve come back to after your well-deserved winter break. Rest is fleeting for non-profits as you return to fighting injustice one groggy email at a time. As you review your 2015 financial numbers and ponder what better ways you can spend your hard-earned budget—one of your resolutions, surely—your eyes rest on the big, ugly, amorphous cost of keeping your organization’s IT network afloat. Between upkeep, part replacement, electricity consumption, and labor, an inefficient network holds a lot of non-profits back.

How Non-Profit Organizations Become Irresistibly Attracted To VoIP Phone Systems

i-PhoneVoIPA nearby women’s rights group with whom we work was desperate to find a way to stay in better touch with their donor roll. For decades they’d utilized a single inbound phone line for all incoming calls and messages. Because the office was only staffed part-time, many people interested in supporting their cause were forced to leave messages and hope for a call back at a later date. This organization contacted DiamondIT because they knew there had to be a better way. The administrator of the non-profit said, “This needs to function in a way that keeps the people that care about this cause engaged and excited. No more messages and missed calls and complications. Our phone system needs to work for us, not the other way around.”

How Strategic Investment in Cloud-Based Technology Can Multiply Non-Profit Effectiveness

i-Professional-Services“I can’t believe how well that went!” One of our non-profit clients had hosted their annual gala the night before our conversation. This event was a key piece of their fundraising for the year, and their entire team was ecstatic about the results. We shared their joy; one of my favorite things is the role we get to play in making non-profits successful. The integration of cloud technology into the planning process was definitely a factor in this particular success. To hear our client tell it, their new cloud-based infrastructure was the key component in keeping the team on the same page while planning the gala and making it a fantastic night all around.