Compliance Matters: 5 Data Compliance Tips for Small Business

June 22, 2022 electricoak

Copy of rigorous checks and balances

In businesses like local banks or insurance brokerages, compliance is a language that people live and breathe in the workplace. Whole processes are built around meeting compliance standards. The payoff is that consumers know their money is safe with all the rigorous checks and balances required of their providers.

Even with worthwhile payoff, that doesn’t make meeting compliance requirements any easier, especially for small businesses.

The standard use of software as a service (SaaS) and cloud-based data storage today has created new compliance hurdles, too. Data compliance opens businesses to another world of requirements, and many small businesses have struggled to keep up. The rapid adoption of new virtual tools since 2020 has exacerbated the problem.

Keep reading for 5 simple data compliance tips for small businesses to meet today’s requirements and be better prepared for the future.

1. Start with a full account of your data

You have to know what data you have in total, and also where it’s stored. You also have to know where it’s coming from.

For instance, if you store client-provided files on your shared drive, you’ll need to assess the security of that shared drive while also taking into account what kinds of files are coming in from clients. Without clients being any the wiser, their files could come riddled with malware or other security concerns, depending on their original source.

Any data that goes through your organization is your responsibility to assess. You also need to clearly identify what data you have where so you can strategically protect it.

2. Know the tools you need and let Computer St. Louis take care of the details

Good news! Most of the cloud-based software and tools you use today will already have measures in place for those software companies to stay compliant, themselves. You get to piggy-back on their compliance to ensure your business is compliant, too.

That said, you can never assume. Especially if you live in a region where compliance requirements are different than wherever your software tools are based, read through the Terms and Conditions of any software you use to understand their security measures.

3. Support from up high

All security and compliance concerns should have the backing of company leadership. That comes in the form of leaders educating staff, reiterating the importance (as demonstrated by their involvement), and devoting the time and resources to develop and maintain compliance.

4. Keep current on compliance changes

Staying current on changes to compliance requirements is how your business avoids issues later (including penalties and fines). Remember that compliance includes rules that come from local, state and federal levels, and even international levels, so be aware of all requirements impacting your business.

Start by building a compliance calendar to keep track of deadlines, then add built-in semiannual reviews of the compliance standards you’re accountable to (to see what changes they might have rolled out).

5. Create a compliance policy handbook

Include compliance requirements inside your employee handbook. Putting those high-level requirements and responsibilities on paper ensure that your policies are better articulated and agreed upon.

The “unspoken” step to better compliance is to find a trusted source for advice. Look for an IT provider with experience in your industry. Look for the provider with knowledge of small and medium business compliance hurdles, too.

Then, get vocal about the issues your business faces. Work through those problems together to create a fully-compliant and simple-to-follow status quo.

Start today, just contact us.