data classification

The Cost of Modern Compliance

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The data accumulated by modern businesses grows exponentially every day, which makes developing and implementing a corporate and regulatory compliance strategy increasingly more difficult.

Securing sensitive information in the face of rapid data growth is the bane of IT departments. At the same time, legal and compliance teams fight a seemingly never-ending battle to retain, discover and supervise content across multiple channels.

But the task is as vital as it is difficult. Ineffective data management and archiving put organisations at risk of regulatory punishments, while a data breach can potentially open the door to much worse. All the while, inefficient systems take valuable resources away from more business-critical tasks.

With the stakes this high, IT and security teams must secure and archive data in a way that is not only compliant, but also cost-effective and fit for the long term.

On our “Protecting People” podcast, we recently discussed what options are available to today’s data-rich, time-stretched organisations. From obligations and legal ramifications to box-ticking and cost savings, the following is a summary of that conversation.

Why must organisations invest in modern compliance solutions?

The short answer is because you have to. Whatever your industry, there will be various legal requirements governing how you capture, store and use company and customer data.

As well as industry-specific compliance regulations, there are more overarching obligations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S. Failure to comply with these laws can lead to considerable fines, not to mention many unfavorable headlines. To put it simply, when it comes to data security and compliance, you will not be forgiven for getting it wrong.

But this doesn’t tell the whole story. While there is an element of box-ticking involved in compliance, there are also many advantages to intelligently meeting your obligations and investing in an all-encompassing solution that can automate and streamline many aspects of the process.

Vast and unwieldy archives, even compliant ones, can pose significant problems. Organisations that are required to hold data for long periods can find themselves retaining data that holds little commercial value but plenty of risk if stored and managed inefficiently.

Then, there’s the time cost of searching through large, often patchwork-like data archives. The longer it takes for staff to locate information, the greater the cost to the business—and the slower the response time to your customers.

The advantages of intelligently meeting your obligations

There’s no escaping the need for effective compliance. But with the right technology, it can be so much more than an obligation, helping to free up resources, reduce costs and support business strategy.

A modern, intelligent compliance solution brings all your communications data into one place. If you need to find out what was said between person A and person B, you can do so with a single search across emails, internal chat logs and more.

This unified search function is much quicker. And keeping your information in a single solution also means you only need to protect one point of data rather than multiple archives and systems.

In addition to reducing costs, this approach helps to join up customer communication. Multiple interactions across various points of contact often lead to duplicate records and can mean that customers have to repeat themselves across multiple channels.

But with an easily searchable, single source of truth that collects every business interaction, you can better understand and serve your customers, investigate complaints and increase satisfaction.

Finally, doing “just enough” is no longer enough—if, indeed, it ever was. You may have all the bases covered from a legal, regulatory and insurance standpoint, but it will count for very little should you suffer a breach.

While the regulator may not see fit to issue a punishment, and your insurer may compensate you for your loss, the damage to your reputation is not so easily recovered. Customers have never been more engaged with the issues of data protection and information security. So if you’re the business that puts them at risk of identity theft and fraud, they are unlikely to forget it anytime soon.

Compliance—much more than a checkbox

Compliance may be a necessity, but it doesn’t have to be a nuisance.

Modern compliance technology can help save time, reduce costs, fight fraud, improve operations and better serve customers—all while protecting against regulatory fines and brand damage.

If your current solution can’t do these things, it’s time to find one that can or lose a vital edge to your competitors.

Check out more episodes of “Protecting People”

“Protecting People” is a Proofpoint podcast for industry leaders and chief information security officers (CISOs) focused on the human side of cybersecurity. Find more episodes and subscribe.