Regulatory compliance is staying within the guidelines and restrictions of state and federally mandated rules. There are several categories out there, but the three most important categories are HIPAA, SOX, and PCI DSS. While each class is rather detailed, if you’re an organization who is required to adhere to one (or all!) of these categories, it is of the utmost importance you stay within regulatory compliance. Wonder why? We’ll be happy to show you.
In its most basic form, HIPAA law covers the privacy of an individual’s medical records. Think only doctors have to adhere to HIPAA law? Think again. According to HIPAA, every single organization who comes into contact with anyone’s medical records for any reason – whether it be for transmission, sharing, or storage – must adhere to the rules and regulations of HIPAA law. That includes businesses who work with doctors and hospitals. Again, if your company does pretty much anything with medical records, you’re required to stay within HIPAA regulatory compliance. If you’re not – you’re looking at severe fines and penalties, the potential for losing your right to handle medical records within your business, and even possible jail time for more egregious acts.
Basically, SOX regulatory compliance exists to keep corporations honest in their accounting and other financial reporting. As sad as it is, many large companies have thought they could use some creativity with their corporate books to cover certain things they didn’t want others to know about. What kinds of things, you ask? Oh, how about hiding massive company losses so your enterprise’s stock doesn’t plummet and you don’t get called on the carpet for it? How about secretly pocketing around $100,000,000 or so? (Yes, that’s not a typo: one hundred million dollars.) SOX regulatory compliance makes cheating the books a more difficult task and imposes some rather harsh fines and punishments for violations. If you’d like a few examples, check out how Bernie Madoff is doing these days, along with companies like Enron, Tyco International, Adelphia, Peregrine Systems, and WorldCom. Yeah, don’t be like them.
This is a significant category: anyone involved in taking credit or credit card payments, or who stores or transfers that information, must adhere to PCI DSS regulatory compliance. If your organization takes payments, chances are you’re expected to stay within compliance. Failure to do so may mean very stiff fines and fees, the loss of your company to take payments, and possibly more. But even without that, think about the other aspects of losing others’ credit data or allowing it to be stolen? Instantly, you’ve lost the trust and respect of your clients, your new and old business will almost certainly plummet, and you’ll likely have to pay restitution for any out-of-pocket expenses your clients have incurred due to dealing with the problems your non-compliance has caused. All of this is even before any civil or criminal lawsuits are brought against you or your company.
The answer is simple: No. Never. Forget It. No Way. Staying within regulatory compliance is likely one of the most important things you can do for your company. If you’re unsure about how to stay within regulatory compliance, give us a call. At Troinet, we’re vastly experienced in HIPAA, SOX, and PCI DSS regulatory compliance. We’ll be happy to review your current measures and construct a particular system for your exact needs. Let us help you. The alternative is . . . Less than appealing.
As you may very well already know, regulatory compliance is the practice of staying within the guidelines and restrictions of state and federally mandated rules. Three of the main categories are HIPAA, SOX, and PCI DSS. Your company may only be required to stay within regulatory compliance of only one, but some must adhere to two, or even all three! Even staying compliant in one category can be difficult, so here are a few tips for “keeping your nose clean” in each category.
Always remember: HIPAA law states very clearly that every single organization who comes into contact with anyone’s medical records for any reason must abide by the rules and regulations of HIPAA law. So basically, if your company has anything to do with medical records, you’re under HIPAA. One great idea for ensuring you stay within HIPAA regulatory compliance is to ramp up your network security and significantly increase accountability. In other words: make it next to impossible for a data breach, and if anyone within your organization tries to access any medical records, you need an electronic log of when, who, and if possible, why. Sometimes, staying compliant means making access to medical files a little harder for legitimate inquiries. But that’s okay because that also means it’s making access to medical records a lot harder for illegitimate inquiries.
SOX Compliance is one of the few regulatory compliance categories that deals more with safeguarding data on a mostly internal level, rather than protecting against external breaches. In essence, SOX is there to keep your organization’s books and numbers honest. Lots of corporations have gone completely down the drain while sending thousands to personal bankruptcy, thanks to a few high-level executives who decided they’d “cook their books” and either make their company look like they were profitable when they weren’t, or skimming several million bucks out of the company for themselves. Just like with HIPAA, the best method for fighting non-compliance of SOX is accountability, accountability, accountability. When financial numbers change, it shouldn’t go unnoticed or unjustified. Systems need to be in place which requires justification, documentation, even prior approval to making any adjustments. The more “big brother is watching,” the less likely people are to attempt accounting fraud.
If you sell, rent, or lease anything, this is probably for you. PCI DSS regulatory compliance is in place to safeguard peoples’ financial and credit information. Any transaction or storage of financial data your company performs falls under the PCI DSS umbrella. A great safeguard here is encryption. Even if someone who’s not supposed to have access to your customers’ financial data finds a way to do so, in essence, what they should see is: XvQ5 $3@% GbYH c#0Q. In other words – completely garbled data. Even with a data breach, if your network attackers can’t decipher the data, it’s useless to them – and it’s all thanks to your extra efforts to keep your company within PCI DSS regulatory compliance. Pat yourself on the back.
Violations of regulatory compliance can be a horribly scary thing: fees, fines, loss of licenses and business permits, jail time . . . It can be terrifying. Take a breath. We’re here for you. Troinet has a staff of experts who can customize iron-clad solutions for your specific needs to keep you and your organization compliant. If you’re even slightly concerned about falling out of compliance, trust us – we need to talk.