How cloud-based software impacts workplace compliance management

Across industries, businesses are undergoing digital transformation. And with the ongoing push to digitize business processes and operations, compliance management has come to the forefront. Specifically, as businesses implement new cloud-based workplace technology, they must learn how to handle all the data those technologies generate. 

Cloud-based software is appealing to companies for numerous reasons. Updates are automatic, eliminating administrative overhead and costly hardware upgrades. Users also enjoy seamless and immediate access to an applications latest capabilities. According to a 2019 Symantec cloud security threat report, cloud app deployment increased 16% over the past 12 months and is expected to surge 22% in the next year. And 42% of companies say providing access to data anytime, anywhere, is the main driver for cloud adoption. 

But maintaining cloud-based processes and systems can present workplace compliance management challenges and potential operational risks. Research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that privacy and regulatory issues, along with governance and compliance of cloud services, worry more than 60% of enterprises. A clear understanding of how compliance can be achieved in the cloud will enable companies to capitalize on the business agility and growth that it offers — including making data accessible and actionable while keeping it secure. 

As more laws and regulations are introduced around data privacy and security, businesses will need to re-evaluate operational compliance to reduce non-compliance risks and costs. Here’s how cloud-based workplace technology such as a visitor management system can help simplify operational compliance and data collection from the moment a visitor arrives. 

New regulations and the risks of non-compliance

In May 2018, the European Union introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a law that affects any company operating in the EU or processing the data of any EU citizen. GDPR ensures that a citizen’s data is always under their control and stored only with their explicit permission. GDPR benefits consumers, but it also increases the workload for organizations in terms of how they collect and store data, and requires higher levels of transparency into a business’s operations and data management processes.

Not only has GDPR changed the data game for global organizations, other regulations such as HIPAA, SOC 2, ITAR, and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), are having an impact. Beginning in January 2020, the CCPA enforces new standards for data collection and storage, and new consequences for businesses that fail to protect user data.

As government regulations such as these continue to proliferate and restrict how companies store and use data, businesses must be extremely careful about data security regulations. Failure to comply in such areas as security and corporate governance can be costly — the Ponemon Institute estimates the annual cost of non-compliance averages $14.8 million. This includes expenses associated with business disruption, productivity losses, fines and penalties, and settlement costs. By contrast, the cost of maintaining or meeting compliance requirements — involving costs associated with compliance-related platforms, incident response, and audits and assessments — was found to average about $5.5 million. That means non-compliance costs about  2.71 times more than compliance management.

To meet various local and international data privacy requirements, it’s critical to understand data storage and security. More than half of the IT and security professionals surveyed in a recent report agree that data privacy protection (31%) and data storage security (26%) are their most important priorities. Workplace security hinges on these activities.

Compliance management and the front desk 

More than one-third of companies place workplace security responsibilities solely on their front-desk receptionist, who may or may not have the training or experience needed to handle those responsibilities. For example, these employees shoulder the burden of collecting and protecting visitor data as they wrestle with visitor management. 

Traditionally, this has been done manually with pen and paper. Inconsistencies or illegible handwriting can result in visitor data chaos, making it difficult to track when someone comes into or leaves the building, or who has access to the corporate Wi-Fi. It’s also difficult to ensure that visitors complete all the paperwork necessary to comply with regulations, such as NDAs and liability waivers. This process is prone to error and leaves the business vulnerable to security breaches, theft and compliance violations. 

Despite the growing number of regulations that govern business today, just 69% of organizations are leveraging workplace technology — such as visitor management systems — to support their compliance management initiatives. Such systems can alleviate much of the legwork associated with keeping companies compliant and secure.

Cloud-based visitor management applications assist with compliance management in the following ways:

  • They make it easy to maintain a digital log of all workplace visitors. 
  • They enable businesses to automatically ensure anyone who visits signs mandatory legal documents such as NDAs  or liability waivers. 
  • They enable you to track who’s on the corporate Wi-fi at all times.
  • They offer visual compliance to verify a visitor’s identity.
  • They can be configured to automatically deny access for a short list of unwelcome or prohibited visitors, keeping bad actors away from sensitive data and intellectual property.

Data security is a shared responsibility

The increased adoption of cloud-based workplace technologies enables efficient, reliable and secure data storage. Knowing, being confident in, and communicating openly about where company data is located enables companies to prove, in case of an audit, that the necessary processes and procedures are in place to protect stored data. 

But remember: Although cloud-based products can simplify compliance management and security, the responsibility for data security ultimately belongs to the organization itself. Be prepared! Begin by fostering a culture of compliance within your company by enforcing policies for protecting sensitive data. And, make sure your compliance and IT teams are involved in the planning of any cloud software deployment, to ensure the solution is designed to support the necessary operational risk and regulatory compliance policies.


Get the ebook, “The essential guide to workplace compliance,” to learn more about how to create and maintain compliance for your business operations.

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