Businesses today handle large amounts of electronic customer data, from email addresses to payment information. Much of this sensitive data has the ability to harm your business and your customers should it fall into the wrong hands. To help protect consumers, the government has established various privacy and security regulations for the digital age, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the healthcare industry and various tax reporting requirements.
Though regulations vary between industries, compliance plays a vital role in serving customers and protecting your business from legal and financial trouble. Though most businesses strive to follow with all industry laws and best practices, the rate of technological development can outpace some small and medium-sized businesses, making it difficult for even the most diligent teams to manage current trends and threats to cybersecurity. Of the 1,579 data breaches reported in the U.S. in 2017, 91.3 percent occurred in the business sector.
As concerns about consumer data privacy continue to grow, many businesses have started looking for solutions to help them maintain regulatory compliance. One popular solution is called Compliance as a Service (CaaS).
What Is Compliance as a Service?
Compliance as a Service is a type of solution that uses cloud computing to help businesses store data and manage regulatory compliance. Though services vary depending on the industry, Compliance as a Service providers typically store sensitive data in accordance with regulations and provide tools for managing and reporting compliance in your organization.
The Pros and Cons of Compliance as a Service
Many businesses see benefits after switching to a CaaS system for data storage and compliance management. CaaS providers can help you stay within the law while saving time and money usually associated with maintaining compliance in tightly controlled industries. Some of the advantages of Compliance as a Service include:
- Minimal in-house work related to compliance: Without the support of a CaaS provider, many businesses spend excessive time researching regulation changes, managing data security and preparing documentation for regulatory bodies. CaaS can help keep this work to a minimum.
- Simplified administrative processes: CaaS providers often supply businesses with more than data storage. They also give you resources and tools you can use to simplify your administrative processes while maintaining security.
- Automatic system updates: With CaaS, you won’t need to worry about updating your system every time industry regulations are updated. Your service provider will typically release updates to their cloud-based services automatically.
As configurable platforms, CaaS systems have the potential to benefit businesses of all sizes in multiple industries. However, though these services have much to offer, they have downsides as well:
- Loss of control: When you decide to use CaaS to manage compliance for your business, you lose some control over your data and its security. You won’t have the ability to directly decide how the data is stored or secured. Make sure to find out how your data will be returned to you should you decide to end your relationship with your provider.
- Possibility for breaches: Though cloud CaaS providers are well-equipped to protect user data from security threats, they cannot prevent 100 percent of data breaches. If sensitive data is stolen from a CaaS provider, you’ll still be responsible for reporting it.
- Distance from responsibilities: One often overlooked risk of CaaS is the potential for accidental non-compliance after outsourcing work to a third party. You can combat forgetfulness and carelessness by continuing to manage your business’ compliance closely using the tools your service provider supplies.
What to Consider When Choosing a CaaS Provider
Choosing to pursue CaaS for your business can provide financial benefits and relief for you and your staff. However, because CaaS providers handle sensitive information about your business and your customers, you want to find a service provider you trust to maintain compliance and keep your data protected.
Though some companies offer “one-size-fits-all” solutions for cloud CaaS, it’s important to look for a provider that can meet your organization’s unique needs, especially if you operate in a specialized industry like finance or healthcare. As you consider the variety of options on the market, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is this service provider informed about my industry? Look for a CaaS service provider that offers solutions tailored to your industry. A good provider will offer tools designed to work with the specific regulations you need to comply with. Talk with the service provider to learn how they update their service as regulations change and seek out references from other businesses in your industry.
2. Do I understand how this Compliance as a Service provider operates? Find out exactly how the provider conducts business before choosing their service. Make sure you understand where data is stored, how servers are protected, what services they provide and what services they don’t provide. A strong relationship is built on complete transparency.
3. Can this CaaS solution adapt to meet the needs of my business? In addition to meeting the compliance requirements of your industry, your CaaS provider should have the ability to tailor solutions to your organization’s unique needs. Their data storage and reporting should align with your goals and concerns.
Improving Your Company’s Compliance and Data Security
As businesses rely more and more on electronically stored customer data, regulatory compliance and security are becoming even more important to an organization’s stability and public image. Cloud-based Compliance as a Service offers a way for smaller businesses to navigate the rapidly changing technology and compliance landscape without distracting from their primary business goals.
If you’re looking to improve your company’s security and compliance, consider reaching out to an expert. At Consolidated Technologies, Inc., we help businesses throughout the New York Metropolitan area address their network security and compliance concerns, whether that means evaluating a current system or finding a compatible CaaS provider. Our services for compliance include:
- Policy and procedure review
- Risk assessment against regulation requirements
- Other services to achieve regulatory compliance
Contact us today to learn more about how a CaaS solution could work for your company.