5 min read

How to empower compliance throughout your organization

How can business leaders strike a balance between ensuring organizational compliance and cultivating a culture of security awareness and employee empowerment? It is no easy feat. CISO Nadine Hoogerwerf shares her own experiences in our latest blog.

Today, companies find themselves navigating a complex landscape of legislation dedicated to safeguarding the security and privacy of personal data. Non-compliance with these stringent regulations can lead to severe consequences, from painful fines to irreparable damage to a company's reputation.

Navigating compliance challenges

Obviously, compliance leaders need to ensure their organization and all members of staff do comply with the applicable legislation, and avoid cases of non compliance also known as non-conformities.

Organizations stand at the crossroads of safeguarding data privacy and security while striving to meet operational demands. The maze of requirements necessitates a strategic and proactive approach that goes beyond mere checkbox exercises. Establishing a comprehensive compliance framework, coupled with a culture of awareness and empowerment, becomes the cornerstone of resilient and responsible data governance. 

Balancing Security and Operations: Overcoming the Data Conundrum

The knee-jerk reaction for organizations might be to lock away personal data, effectively limiting access and retaining full control over its handling. In Europe we often hear things like “this is not allowed anymore because of GDPR”, while, often, it's the policy the organization put in place because of either misinterpretation, trying to limit risks, or not willing to invest in effective solutions. 

However, this approach presents a conundrum. Companies, especially those in sectors like healthcare, education, and service provision, rely on this data not just for storage but for critical daily operations. Think of patient records, meeting invitations, exam data or recruitment interviews —the list goes on.

Strategies for Effective Compliance Empowerment

While informing your team of the compliance requirements or even making employees sign policy documentation may have some effect, true mitigation of compliance risk requires empowering and helping employees. 

Here are three vital strategies to achieve that goal:

Technically enforce requirements: Where possible, implement technical solutions that automatically help to enforce compliance. Automation can be a powerful ally in ensuring that data is handled in accordance with regulations. Encryption, access controls, and data loss prevention tools can provide a safeguard against accidental mishandling or unauthorized access. By integrating these technologies seamlessly into existing workflows, you enable compliance without imposing undue burden on employees.

Cultivate awareness: Awareness is more than a surface-level knowledge of compliance requirements. It is about making sure every team member understands the importance and purpose of compliance, and ensuring that they understand the consequence of non-compliance on the organization and the individual. Moreover it is critical to make the regulations relatable by demonstrating how they directly impact each person's role and tasks. This might involve creating case studies, real-world scenarios, or just in-time warnings. By fostering a culture of compliance, you create a sense of collective responsibility. Also implementing tools can help automatically raise awareness about the why and what of your policy tailored to individual employees’ needs at the moment where it matters.

Regular checks and continuous improvement: Implement a robust system of regular checks or audits to assess the compliance status of processes within your organization. These evaluations should not be viewed as punitive measures but rather as opportunities for improvement. When a deviation from compliance is identified, delve into the root cause. Is it a knowledge gap? An overly complex workflow? By identifying the underlying issues, you can offer targeted support to teams, helping them enhance their processes and maintain compliance.

Tools that provide insight into potential cases or causes of non-compliance, based on logging of events, are essential for an effective system of audits and checks, such as tools for DLP (Data Loss Prevention), CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker) and IDS/IPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems).

Fostering Compliance and Security: A Holistic Approach

In navigating the complicated landscape of data compliance, organizations face the challenge of upholding regulations while maintaining operational efficacy. Striking this delicate balance requires more than just rule enforcement within their organizations; it demands true empowerment of people. 

By seamlessly integrating technical solutions that enforce compliance, such as those offered by industry leaders like Zivver, organizations can ensure the secure handling of sensitive information. Raising awareness and a sense of collective responsibility further fortifies this approach, as does the implementation of regular checks for continuous improvement. This multifaceted strategy not only safeguards valuable data but also nurtures a more responsible and secure digital environment for all.

Learn more about how we support over 8000 organizations to meet their compliance requirements or book a demo to speak to a data security specialist.

First published -
Last updated - 21/09/23
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