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Compliance Definition

Compliance can be understood as obliging in relation to established guidelines, or the process of becoming so. For instance, Software is developed in compliance with specifications constructed by a standards body, which is then deployed by user organizations in acquiescence with a vendor’s licensing agreement. Compliance can also mean those efforts that ascertain if organizations are abiding by both regulations of industry and government legislation.

Importance of Compliance

In business, compliance is an important concern as there is an increase in the number of regulations requiring companies to be vigilant when it comes to maintaining a proper understanding of the regulatory compliance requirements.

Some eminent standards, regulations, and legislation demanding the compliance of organizations are:

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

HIPAA Title II is a section of an administrative simplification that includes the mechanisms of security designed to protect the confidentiality of patient, data privacy, and edicts the standardization of health record systems. 

Can-Spam Act of 2003

This Act demands enterprises to use legitimate return email addresses, label commercial emails as advertising, process opt-out requests with 10business days and provide recipients with opt-out options.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

In 2004 VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express created a set of policies and procedures called the PCI DSS in order to ensure the security of debit, credit and cash card transactions.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002

In response to the high-profile Enron and WorldCom financial scandals, SOX was enacted to protect the general public and shareholders from accounting mistakes and fraudulent practices in the enterprise. Along with other provisions, the law sets rules on retaining and storing business records in IT systems.

Dodd-Frank Act

The Act enacted in 2010, was formed to decrease federal dependence on banks by complying them with regulations which enforces accountability and transparency in order to protect customers.

Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

Established in 2002, in order to keep risks to data at or below particular acceptable levels, this act requires federal agencies to conduct annual reviews of information security programs.

More about Compliance

Compliance guidelines for IT differ from country to country, the US legislation SOX is a good example. Australia’s Corporate Law Economic Reform Program Act 2004 and Germany’s Deutscher Corporate Governance Kodex are similar legislations of other countries. Thus multinational organizations should be aware of the regulatory compliance requirements that they operate within each country.

Specialized compliance software and IT compliance consultancies are being approached by companies now because regulations and guidelines have increasingly become the concern of corporate management. The addition of compliance jobs such as chief compliance officer by organizations proves this.

Compliance risk management

Managing compliance risk and passing a compliance audit are the major responsibilities of the chief compliance officer in an organization. Factors such as the industry of the organization, private or public company, nature of data created, collected and stored determine the nature of the compliance audit of each company.

The protection of an organization can be assured on a whole with regular regulatory compliance training programs provided to IT staff members and business users. The guideline of a compliance training program differs according to the industry a company is in, and the data generated and used.

The literal meaning of compliance is to formalize the act of obeying an order, rule or request. In a corporate environment, it refers to the state of being in agreement with a list of guidelines or specifications that are widely considered as a benchmark. In the world of software development, there are certain compliance specifications which might be enlisted by a body and then deployed by a user organization with a vendor’s licensing agreement. While checking for compliance breaches, an organization may take into account industry regulations as well as government legislation.

Regulatory compliance requirements for business

Compliance stands to be one of the foremost business concerns because of the endless list of regulations that the companies need to be vigilant about while designing any product. It is essential for companies to lie within the regulatory needs of their field of service or action.

The compliance rules vary on the basis of industry type that is further bifurcated on the basis of the country it is going to cater. For instance, SOX is a US legislation based compliance guideline. A company, when catering to multi-national clients or domains, must keep in tandem with the compliance regulations of all the countries they cater to.

The need for these regulations to be kept in check has increased drastically in the recent years as opposed to being an afterthought earlier. Due to this rise, companies now approach various sources that exclusively look into regulatory needs and compliance guidelines based on the region and industry that a company might cater to. These sources manage the compliance risk and audits. These audits might vary based on the sector that the company belongs to, i.e., either public or private. The aspect of compliance is further expanded with training programs that guide the auditors. 

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