data complianceIf you were to write down a list of your organization’s vital functions, in order of importance, where would data compliance appear? Far too many organizations push data compliance towards the bottom of the list. Considering the potential damage non-compliance can cause, you need to start pushing it back to the top of your priorities.

  1.     Assess Your Regulatory Requirements

The first step may seem obvious but you’d be surprised at how many organizations implement procedure and buy equipment before reviewing their data compliance requirements. Especially in less regulated industries. It’s a simple step; it’s an easy one to miss too.

  2.     Set/Edit Data Compliance Procedure

Once you have reviewed your requirements you need to address policy. Every member of staff from the top down should be aware of their individual responsibilities. The most common data compliance problem isn’t a lack of procedure; it’s individual errors or confusion over requirements.

  3.     Identify Appropriate Data Solutions

At the same time, you need to make sure you have the appropriate hardware and software to retain your data. You should assess your data backups and email archiving capabilities and ensure they provide the appropriate space and security. It’s also important to check on your ability to present data. A lot of businesses get into difficulty with data they have but can’t access.

  4.     Self-Audit Regularly

The key to data compliance is self-audit, you need to set a schedule and stick to it. They are vital in identifying gaps and highlighting best practice. The more you audit, the better your compliance.

  5.     Keep Security Up-to-Date

Data security isn’t just about locking the door to the server room. You need to stay on top of your security and encryption software and keep it up to date. That means following trends and reviewing industry changes. Not just clicking ‘update software’ once a week.

  6.     Be Disaster Ready

Last years East Coast Superstorm in the US demonstrated just how unpredictable the weather can be. You can’t afford to assume your data is secure in one location. The most comprehensive data compliance strategies include disaster recovery. Because you just never know when disaster will strike.

  7.     Don’t Ignore Minor Issues

Data compliance is a broad term; it’s easy to think of it as an organizational issue only. But all it takes is one misplaced document or one security breach to cause real problems. Don’t let minor issues grow; tackle them as soon as they’re identified.

  8.     Self-Audit Regularly

That’s not a typo. The key to data compliance really is self-audit and it never stops.

Deleting can be a very scary thought and the consequences are even scarier. Email archiving can’t prevent you from making the mistake, but it can help you avoid the consequences.