The growing global economy is impacting local markets in many ways, but making them safer isn’t one of them. All that growth comes with a corresponding rise in criminal activities which, in turn, drives up the proliferation of international regulatory compliance systems.
Attaining and maintaining regulatory compliance with any one of those systems—let alone several of them at once—is becoming harder to do.
Many SMBs are now challenged to establish a set of compliance policies and practices that can protect them from intentional or inadvertent violations as well as keep them in the clear for the foreseeable future. Most find they must choose between two distinct processes: set and enforce an internal roster of compliance requirements or find a technological solution that will do the compliance management for them.
Both strategies provide value, but with so much to think about, it’s difficult to know which option to pursue.
Compliance regulations rise in the face of escalating criminal activities
Not only are markets global, but so are the internationally based bad actors who prey on trusting digital customers and partners. One recent report indicated that fraud and corruption are on the rise in both the developed and developing world:
In Africa’s emerging markets . . .
The number of fraud complaints is up by 30 percent in Nigeria, and 44 percent in Egypt.
In Germany . . .
Reported fraud cases have risen by 26 percent.
And worldwide . . .
The incidences of cybercrime are increasing. In 2017, the ransomware “WannaCry” attack spread through 150 countries, infecting more than 200,000 computers, and costing the global economy as much as $53 billion, according to Lloyds of London, a global insurance leader.
SMBs aren’t immune to the threat
While some SMB owners believe their enterprise is too small to attract the attention of these nefarious characters, the data demonstrates otherwise.
An Australian survey concluded that SMBs are actually bigger targets than their larger competitors because most SMBs haven’t invested in appropriate compliance or defense technology or practices. In the year ending June 2015, reported cybercrimes against Australian SMBs rose more than 105 percent over the previous year, with the cost to each business averaging AU $10,000.
In the U.S., SMBs made up 61 percent of cyber-attack victims in 2017, costing those owners an average of $117,000.
Clearly, the data reveals that even the smallest SMB is a cybercrime target and that many still struggle with how to maintain SMB regulatory compliance while preventing an attack.
On the human factor side
Train your staff
Nothing can replace a well-trained workforce that prioritizes high production quality and appropriate compliance standards. Ensure that your staff knows why following compliance procedures at every step of every process is critical to the company’s success.
Make it a culture thing
Too many SMBs leave compliance processes to the IT department or hold workers accountable via the HR department. The threats posed today, however, are too significant to delegate regulatory compliance management to any one company division.
Ensure that every element of your enterprise has comprehensive training, materials and protocols in place to achieve compliance and make sure upper-level leadership can coordinate them all into a single, complying whole.
Require and monitor appropriate documentation of all activities, materials, tools and related compliance data. Most regulators require proof that compliance practices are in place, including proof of changes made over time.
Even the most compliant company can trigger censure if their systems are 100 percent compliant but they can’t prove that fact.
On the technology side
Keep it current
Outdated programming that can’t recognize today’s sophisticated attacks poses a significant threat to your business. While updates to current programming may be prohibitively expensive, cloud-based programming and tools can afford better service at an equally better cost.
Keep ahead of the regulators
Too often, regulations lag behind criminal realities. A body of regulations develops over time and usually after significant research and industry inputs. It’s not unusual for regulatory compliance practices to be in tune with existing rules while being hopelessly ill-equipped to manage incoming digital threats.
Jump to the cloud
Consider a cloud-based compliance system that can change as threats evolve.
Cloud services are uniquely well-suited to manage regulatory compliance because the programming, management, maintenance and currency of those systems are controlled by specialists whose sole focus is to ensure top compliance capacities.
Unlike your small business’s internal IT department, where your IT crew must also deal with daily glitches, catalog changes and similar business functions, a cloud-based compliance service is always on duty for one specific reason—to monitor your compliance concerns.
Adopt a quality management system
In many cases, an automated quality management system outperforms every other quality and compliance strategy. This is because an automated system is specifically designed to identify challenges at the earliest possible moment, creating alerts. Often, automated systems will catch a problem before humans are even aware that something is awry.
Implementing such a system offers a second benefit in addition to compliance confidence. It speeds production by guaranteeing the highest quality is reached by every product and process.
Take a coordinated approach
Don’t let your SMB be the next victim of tomorrow’s cybercriminals. The compliance and automation consultants at TechBundle can help you master your compliance and quality challenges.