The last thing any CTO or IT manager wants to hear is that they have one more responsibility to think about. Your days are already packed full of coding, fielding support requests, and monitoring system performance, but you might be able to spare your future self some unwanted stress by taking a moment to reevaluate how your business software assists your company’s corporate compliance program.
As technology continues to play more and more of a role in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, energy, and others, the need for IT to help compliance officers will only increase. Why not act proactively and look for ways to better shield your business from expensive lawsuits and fines now?
To get you started, here are some ideas on how software can support corporate compliance programs in several ways.
Implement Policy Tracking Software
In the past, compliance training was all done on paper, leaving compliance officers to maintain paper records of employee signatures to certify that they received training and understood the material. This way of operating presented its own obvious set of drawbacks, but thanks to policy tracking software, it’s much harder to lose important documents or accidentally skip employees.
Policy tracking software is not the same as learning management software (LMS), though it does function similarly. Policy tracking software (PTS) is primarily used to store and share company policies, many of which are specifically written for compliance purposes. These can then be shared with employees for educational purposes, and e-signatures can be collected and recorded for every applicable employee.
In the event that your company makes an oversight in following a regulation correctly, this step shows you performed due diligence. The more proof you have for showing that an instance of non-compliance was an honest mistake, the better your chances are for getting a reduced penalty or fine.
Implement Data Governance Software and Procedures
If you’re like most modern businesses, one of your most valuable intangible assets is bound to be data. While disputes abound over just how valuable data actually is, there’s no question that you likely store a lot of it, and that can potentially pose risks to your company’s compliance efforts.
For example, if you’re a healthcare company in the United States, you have an obligation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect the personal health information (PHI) of your patients and/or customers. What can and can’t be shared and with whom varies, so it’s easy for careless mistakes to happen when handling PHI.
IT can help here. Putting controls in place for applicable software systems that don’t already have them can prevent employees from performing actions that would violate HIPAA, and encrypting PHI within those systems can protect your company against data breaches.
This doesn’t only apply to healthcare companies, though. Data breaches in recent years at social media companies like Facebook and Tumblr have caused massive problems for both shareholders and consumers.
Putting checks into place and monitoring the transmission and storage of sensitive data can do wonders to ensure that your company remains in good legal standing.
Use Software Built with Industry-Specific Regulations in Mind
Regulations vary considerably between industries, so it can be hard to find a general software solution that works for your specific industry. Most systems that deal with payroll or human resources, for example, have compliance features built in, but businesses that operate in highly regulated industries will likely need more industry-specific features.
If you work in the medical field, look for a payroll solution that can handle shift pay differentials. If you work in construction or energy, look for a solution that eases the burden of calculating and reporting multi-union and certification pay requirements. These features can mark the difference between peace of mind and pay dispute lawsuits.
Regulation-friendly software doesn’t end with payroll systems, though. Does your pharmaceutical company’s supply chain management software allow you to track people and products? Does your bank use GLBA-compliant IT security software?
Conduct an internal audit of the software your business uses and ask yourself if there are other solutions that would do more to reduce your non-compliance liability. By doing a little more homework before investing in expensive systems, you save your company a considerable amount of money in the long run.
When it comes to industry regulations, you want to make sure you remain in good standing. Business software can really help or hinder you, depending on how you use it. For more information on business software that can help support your company’s corporate compliance program, visit our IT Software Solutions Product Selection Tool.
If you’re short on time, give us a call today at 877.822.9526 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our unbiased Tech Advisors are happy to learn more about your specific business’ needs and provide you with a free shortlist of the best options for you.