Major data privacy laws like the GDPR or CCPA are just the beginning. You can expect more countries and states to craft their own rules for how to handle data, especially when it involves consumers' personal information. Some of the rules imposed by these laws will change the way you do business. Achieving true data compliance requires more than a memo. Your entire corporate culture needs to revolve around compliance. Here's how to do it.
1. Ensure Transparency
Before you even begin to change business practices and issue instructions, you need to contemplate how you will communicate these changes to your team. Transparency is vital. When employees understand why these changes are happening, they are far more likely to get on board quickly.
If you fail to do this, you create what's known as ShadowIT. Shadow IT happens whenever employees deviate from protocols. They might do this because they don't understand the importance of your new rules or simply because they don't like the new policies and find them too disruptive to their workflow. In the worst scenarios, employees may take these changes as a personal attack on their work and actively resist them.
Before implementing any changes, let your organization know that you're trying to achieve compliance. Explain what laws apply to your company. Give everyone a heads up that this might impact how they work, but your goal is not to complicate anyone's life. When you're transparent, your employees will likely be more open to your new rules.
2. Start from the Bottom
This may run counter to common sense, but the best way to design new compliance protocols is to sit down with the very people who make your data: Your employees. These are the people who know your data best.Therefore, they can shed more light on how your data is currently being handled and used.
You may gain some valuable insights by having these conversations. After first learning more about how your employees handle your company's data, you can then go back to them with a clear goal in mind. Ask them how they think they could reach that goal without disrupting their workflow excessively.
When employees are involved in the decision-making process, they are far more likely to be compliant. This is basic psychology, and it's critical if you want to build a culture of compliance. When decision makers are unaffected by their own decisions, they tend to overlook how people below them will react. Imposing burdensome restrictions will lead to more of your data escaping your compliance protocols.
3. Train and Explain
After you've settled on the actions that need to be taken, you have to train your staff. Small doses are best. Long, dull training sessions won't stick, and your employees will quickly revert back to the old way of doing things. Remember, old habits die hard.
Aim to explain the benefits of achieving data compliance.Not only does it protect the company as a whole, but it also protects individual jobs. A data breach or a hefty fine from regulators can cripple a company and quite literally cost people their livelihood.
Another benefit of reaching compliance is that work can be made easier. When your files are properly managed with compliance in mind, employees won't have to worry as much about what they can do with your data.They'll know because if they aren't supposed to be doing something, they won't have access in the first place or will need to request that access in special cases. This can actually simplify your processes considerably.
4. Remove Human Error
Of course, none of this is possible if you don't have a crystal-clear understanding of your data. You cannot rely on each individual to always know whether a file should be treated with special care or not. This process has to be automated as much as possible.
Most data breaches happen because an employee unknowingly lets an intruder in. Others occur when employees mismanage files, which has become increasingly common as people work from home. Regardless, the cause is almost always human error. The more you can remove people from the data management process, the easier it'll be to cultivate a culture of compliance.
5. Monitor and Modify
Once you've set everything in motion, all that's left is to continuously monitor your data and your employees' activity. You may need to make slight adjustments later on. That will be much easier when you understand your data and can automate compliance at the file level. That's what Aparavi does for businesses. Try Aparavi today to see how we can make compliance easy.