Technology advances and usage trends evolve, but compliance standards remain an unmoving target — one that many businesses still struggle to hit. Verizon’s latest Payment Security Report reveals organizations that failed their PCI assessment had neglected a shocking 13% of the necessary compliance controls. In the healthcare industry, personal health information (PHI) breaches hit at a record-breaking pace in 2017, and the total average organizational cost of a breach rocketed to $7.35 million, according to IBM’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study.
In the face of compliance threats, your communication technologies, including run-of-the-mill tools like phones and web conferencing platforms, represent sizable opportunities to mitigate risk. They can also betray devastating points of failure.
No matter how dynamic your communication processes are, it’s essential that the solutions you use to drive communication are grounded in compliance. Unfortunately, many widely used communication tools and practices pose threats to compliance with HIPAA, PCI and other regulatory standards.
To support you as you revisit your communication stack’s compliance measures, here are three red flags that may indicate you’re risking a violation:
1. You have a ton of on-premises legacy equipment.
Many business leaders worry that shifting communication infrastructure to the cloud introduces greater security and compliance risks. In reality, antiquated hardware is far more likely to threaten compliance, often because legacy systems are simply not designed to meet the latest standards. For this reason, many businesses are combatting the compliance risks presented by on-premises, legacy hardware by migrating even more of their communication infrastructure to the cloud, as most cloud communication technology is purpose-built to adhere to the most stringent compliance, security and governance requirements.
2. Your teams use residential apps for business collaboration.
A common challenge among businesses — especially those with limited IT resources and remote workforces — is the prevalence of employees using collaboration apps to “self-medicate.” Instead of using the company GoToMeeting platform, they’re spinning up their personal Skype account to hold business meetings or interact with colleagues. This presents massive compliance and security risks because these apps operate outside the company’s network and firewalls. In these instances, maintaining strict compliance procedures as a business doesn’t matter if employees are going rogue and using non-compliant technologies.
Unified communication technologies offer a potential solution to employees self-medicating with residential apps. Not only do these solutions arm users with an array of innovative collaboration tools that operate within the company network, but they also fit into one unified bundle that can be easily managed for compliance purposes. For instance, you can automate enrollment and disenrollment from collaboration platforms as your needs change.
3. You haven’t brought compliance up to your service provider.
Many businesses expose themselves to compliance risks because they don’t give the topic its due diligence during initial conversations with service providers. If you’re in a regulated industry, compliance should be one of the first topics covered when evaluating service providers for your communication technologies.
How Compliant Is Your Communication Technology?
When it comes to communication and collaboration technology, one of the biggest compliance mistakes business leaders make is simply overlooking the subject. Even if your technologies are reliable and your data is secure, there’s always the possibility you have gaps in your communication workflows and processes that expose your business to compliance risks.
The goal of plugging these gaps is one of the many factors driving the rapid shift toward solutions like unified and cloud-based communications, platforms that enable you to more seamlessly manage the disparate components of your collaboration stack. But no matter what collaboration technology you’re using, the best way to ensure you’re meeting your required compliance standards is by performing a thorough review of your communication tools, processes and service providers— especially if you notice any of the red flags listed above.
If you’re interested in benefitting from the insight and knowledge of an objective resource that is well versed in the compliance regulations of HIPAA, PCI and others, connect with the team at Select.