Compliance is a constant issue that affects businesses in multiple ways every day. Not only must your compliance program address individual acts of misconduct; the program must assure that your organization follows laws, rules, and regulations overtime — every day, day after day, in perpetuity.

In the ideal, compliance management leads to a culture of compliance, which focuses on both regulatory compliance (adhering to legal rules and regulatory requirements) and corporate compliance (following a company’s internal policies and rules around risk management).

To do that over time, however, chief compliance officers (CCOs) need to create and maintain compliance programs and management systems that can evolve along with whatever new legislation or new compliance risks might come along.

In this post, we’ll share some of the key elements involved in a successful and evolving compliance strategy.

What Are the Key Steps of a Compliance Strategy?

To begin, let’s cover the basic steps that should be present in your compliance strategy.

Understand the Business Landscape

The compliance strategy must take into account the environment in which the company operates: the industry, its geographic location, the customers it serves, and the business model.

The chief compliance officer needs to understand all these elements, to have a clear sense of the regulatory landscape and the needs of the compliance program. That’s how the organization can identify, and avoid, risks of non-compliance. (An information security questionnaire can often be a great place to start.)

Emphasize Data Protection

Even when companies are not directly covered by data protection regulations such as GDPR or HIPPA, those rules have a way of reaching a wide range of businesses. Compliance officers need to understand how globalization, social media, and the handling of personal data can affect their businesses anyway, and change the company’s risk profile.

Effective compliance strategies must take these forces into account, and place special emphasis on cybersecurity mechanisms when developing compliance programs and implementing compliance activities. In doing so, they can be sure to protect their companies and their stakeholders from the administrative, commercial, and reputational consequences of data breaches.

Take the Team Into Account

The company’s rules and regulations are carried out and enforced by people. Consequently, an effective compliance strategy must be able to formulate processes that involve training personnel, recruiting talent, and monitoring adherence to policies and procedures.

Facilitate Transparency

Compliance strategies should be developed with the objective of transparency in mind. Regulators, law enforcement, audit firms — they will all want to see evidence of the organization’s obedience to compliance obligations. So your compliance strategy must anticipate the need for evidence and documentation, to satisfy any parties that come asking about your compliance program’s success.

Support with Technology

Keeping track of all regulations and related activities is not an easy task, and is itself a risk factor for non-compliance.

Today new technologies allow compliance teams to monitor all the elements of compliance programs and regulatory changes, which provides greater assurance that compliance processes are working as expected and allows better detection of any non-compliant events.

This is especially true in the case of multinational businesses, which labor under an enormous number of rules and regulations from multiple jurisdictions, while also dealing with thousands of employees scattered across complex enterprises.

Why You Should Regularly Revisit Your Compliance Strategy

In many cases, compliance failures aren’t due to the absence of compliance systems; they’re due to the misapplication or obsolescence of those systems. Hence the importance of revisiting your compliance strategy regularly, to be sure the strategy still fits the needs your business has.

For a compliance strategy to remain effective, it must adapt to the needs of the company as the business expands, launches new products, enters new markets, restructures existing operations, acquires new subsidiaries, divests older ones, and so forth. Your strategy must also be able to digest new laws, rules, and regulations, and the new burdens they might place on your company.

ZenGRC Has a Compliance Solution for You

ZenGRC is compliance software created specifically to meet the needs of a constantly evolving compliance landscape.

With it, CCOs can track non-compliance risks quickly and easily, based on the particular needs of each compliance framework in real-time.

In addition, ZenGRC contains a series of formats adapted to various high-impact national regulations and international standards and frameworks such as CCPA, GDPR, ISO, and many others.

In doing so, organizations can eliminate duplicate work and minimize the time required to implement and monitor policies.

With support from subject matter experts, dynamic visualization content, and other technical risk assessment tools, ZenGRC is the ultimate solution to resolve compliance issues and better manage your compliance strategy over time.

Schedule a demo to learn how we can help guide your organization to confidence in infosec risk and compliance.