Implementing measures to meet your regulatory obligations may seem like a management no-brainer. Yet, with so many business critical tasks demanding your attention, it can be easy for small business owners and decision-makers to overlook this critical responsibility. Being aware of your compliance obligations reduces legal problems, improves operational safety, and enhances public relations. Non-compliance, on the other hand, can lead to hefty penalties and missed business opportunities. Keep reading for everything you need to know about compliance for small and medium-sized businesses.
What are the Different Types of Compliance?
Compliance awareness is essential as your business grows and becomes exposed to new audits and challenges. For nearly all business activities, there are corresponding compliance regulations and standards that must be met. These regulations pertain to data privacy, security, environmental concerns, finance, and more.
There are two main types of compliance; corporate and regulatory. Both types of compliance involve a framework of regulations, practices, and rules to follow.
Also known as internal compliance, corporate compliance refers to the protocols, rules, and codes of conduct that a business implements. A corporate compliance framework helps your small business to maintain high operating standards and avoid internal conflicts. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are an excellent example of corporate compliance.
Some of the steps you can take to enforce corporate compliance include:
- Keeping track of workplace industry standards
- Scheduling regular internal audits
- Conducting regular employee training
Also known as external compliance, regulatory compliance refers to a set of practices and regulations your organization must adhere to. These rules are set by law and implemented by a regulatory agency. For instance, registering your business is an act of external compliance.
Regulartory compliance may also include:
- Data and privacy compliance regulations (HIPAA, COPPA, GDPR, etc.)
- Quality management regulations such as ISO 9001
- Employment regulations such as FMLA and OSHA
Corporate compliance and regulatory compliance are similar, with the only difference being where they originate from. Both outline regulations, rules, and practices you need to follow in your business.
Types of Compliance Certifications
Today’s evolving corporate landscape means small businesses should always be trained and certified in the latest regulatory obligations. The essential types of compliance certifications that small businesses should pursue include:
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting small and medium businesses because they know they are less likely to have robust security measures in place. For this reason, you should have access to someone who holds the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification – whether within your IT department or through an external service provider.
Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)
Data privacy is a critical concern for any modern business. It’s also a type of compliance that grows in significance by the day. For instance, operating in the EU requires compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This law is particularly concerned with how websites collect and process personal data.
Businesses must inform customers why they collect their data, when their data gets processed, and for how long they’ll store it. As such, every business should have a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) in their ranks. This type of compliance certification is accredited and recognized by the American National Standards Institute, and having this resource shows your commitment to data privacy compliance.
Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM)
Financial institutions such as banks must adhere to a unique set of compliance requirements. These include the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI) and the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). With so many regulatory standards to adhere to, it’s best to have an individual certified to oversee the organization’s regulatory and risk management requirements.
The Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM) is the most recognized and respected compliance certification in the banking industry. It makes it easier for financial institutions to implement the full range of core compliance risk functions.
Types of Compliance Training
Maintaining compliance is only possible if all of your employees are informed of their individual obligations. Below are some of the types of compliance training you should consider performing regularly.
Health and Safety Compliance Training
Most workplace injuries can be avoided through health and safety compliance training. This training covers standards and procedures for ensuring a healthy working environment, and safety and accident prevention procedures.
Data and Cybersecurity Compliance Training
You can only comply with regulatory standards such as the GDPR if employees undergo data and cybersecurity training regularly. This helps them to understand laws around handling sensitive data, how to prevent possible breaches, and actions to take when a breach occurs.
Ethics Compliance Training
Every company should foster a professional and ethical workplace. An easy way to do so is by undertaking ethics training. This teaches your employees how to handle ethical dilemmas and avoid conflict.
Diversity and Inclusion Compliance Training
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a top priority for most HR departments. It helps to create a thriving and inclusive environment by eliminating biases. Diversity and inclusion training helps employees to learn about the impact of equity and fairness in the workplace and how to recognize and eliminate stereotypes and biases.
Types of Compliance Issues
Failing to adhere to regulations can lead to a number of serious compliance issues, including:
- Penalties and legal issues, such as lawsuits and work stoppages
- Data breaches and irretrievable loss of digital assets
- Damaged business reputation and lost customers
- Human Resource issues and high employee turnover
Improve Your Business Compliance
Running a small business comes with a lot of uncertainty. Compliance can seem like a difficult area to navigate, but the issues associated with non-compliance make adherence essential. Being aware of the types of regulations that apply to your industry goes a long way in fortifying your compliance. If you’re looking for a managed IT solution that helps your small business scale while maintaining compliance with data security regulations, look no further than Electric. Our solutions support your organization’s IT to meet and exceed compliance standards. Contact us to learn more.