What is compliance and how does it improve your IT
Business Safety USA

What is compliance and how does it improve your IT

Abraão Almeida
Abraão Almeida

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Due to the recent implementation of the new General Data Protection Law (LGPD) in Brazil, one of the topics in vogue is the understanding of what compliance is.

This concept has to do with compliance by companies with specific laws and regulations, which may change and increase over time.

Which means the need to understand what compliance is to apply it in your company and not run the risk of breaking the rules.

When thinking about the LGPD and the companies' commitment to protecting their customers' data, the urgency of putting compliance into practice becomes more evident.

In this article, we'll explain what compliance is, how the concept came about, how it contributes to information security, and how compliance can improve your information technology industry. See the following topics.

What is compliance?

When asked what compliance is, you may answer that it is something related to fighting corruption, as the recent news has used the term in reports on Federal Police operations, among other matters of the same subject.

This association is correct, but compliance has a broader meaning. And its relationship with the LGPD leads to the companies' dedication to its application to the IT area.

The origin of the term “compliance” comes from the verb “to comply”, which means to act in accordance with an order, request or rule.

Taken to the corporate environment, the concept was associated with the alignment of the performance of all sectors of the company with the current legislation.

So what is compliance in a business context? These are the actions taken to ensure compliance with labor, regulatory, competition, tax obligations, among others.

As corruption involves non-compliance with rules, it makes sense to place compliance in the same semantic field. But compliance is not just about issues related to fighting corruption.

The expression “to be in compliance”, widely used in recent times, means to be in compliance with the current rules.

When it comes to the LGPD, being in compliance is the same as taking the necessary steps not to breach the new law.

In this context, activities related to information technology come into play, as data protection, which is currently mostly digital, interferes considerably in the IT sector.

Therefore, talking about compliance to comply with the rules set out by the LGPD means adapting the procedures of the IT sectors to this Law.

This is a very comprehensive concept, which is materialized in the measures taken with the objective of preventing, perceiving and remedying the existence of irregularities.

When applied to IT, compliance gains enormous importance due to the role of this area within companies after the digital transformation.

In other words, if companies today depend on technology to fulfill practically all of their internal processes, IT needs to comply with current legislation.

Otherwise, all activities of the company could suffer the consequences. This is not a problem in just one sector.

How did the concept of compliance come about?

Between the 1950s and 1970s, the implementation of some US laws and regulations related to security and combating corruption made the population begin to understand what compliance is.

Later, the term was also known in Europe and became popular in Brazil from 2013, with the creation of the Anti-Corruption Law (Law 12,846).

In this context, it is easier to understand the automatic association that is usually made between compliance and the fight against corruption.

But taking the concept to the context of companies, it is not difficult to infer that it is linked to the need to prevent irregularities, whether referring to internal rules, laws or specific regulations.

What is IT compliance?

Within the information technology area, compliance is understood as a set of rules and policies that guide its activities in order to meet the requirements of regulations and laws that permeate the tasks of this sector.

It is compliance, therefore, that prevents the application of penalties to the company related to the use of technologies, access policies and digital security.

As the LGPD deals exactly with the precautions to be taken to ensure the security of the data to which organizations have access, the creation of compliance programs for the IT area becomes urgent.

Therefore, compliance generates value for business, both by building a positive image for the company as complying with the law, and by avoiding possible penalties.

When the company applies compliance to its IT area, its concern and care with customer data is also evident.

If it has protocols to follow showing that its objective is not only to comply with legislation, but also to provide the security of customer data, its reliability increases.

That's because the amount of data that an IT sector has access to is huge, and information security-related crimes have skyrocketed in recent decades.

The company's responsibility is great when dealing with customer data, not to mention the need for security of the company's own data.

Applying and demonstrating that you have a compliance system is, therefore, a very important attitude for business success.

As we've already said, the IT sector has a responsibility to enable the use of technologies by all other sectors of the company.

When it has the compliance standards as its guidelines, the IT area manages to act by ensuring compliance not only with the LGPD, but also with other standards, such as the Marco Civil da Internet and the Copyright Law.

Thus, it is easier to structure processes aimed at data security, promoting preventive actions and avoiding errors.

Compliance rules must aim, for example, at the ineffectiveness of attacks or attempts to invade the company's network structure, in addition to preventing the misuse of data.

How can compliance improve your IT industry?

When you create a sector or committee responsible for compliance in your company, drafting standards is made easier.

Some attitudes are evidenced, then, as extremely necessary. This is the case, for example:

  • Continuous monitoring of the network to identify possible threats;
  • Creating a data backup policy;
  • Using VPNs on devices used for remote work;
  • Creating a disaster recovery plan and;

* Promoting periodic internal audits.

With these actions, the IT infrastructure needs to undergo rapid and continuous updates, becoming more robust.

This robustness brings more reliability to the IT area, which benefits the company as a whole, as this sector is responsible for the use of technologies by everyone else.

Final considerations

If you've come this far, you must have identified approximations between compliance applied to IT, corporate governance and, more specifically, IT governance.

Really, these are segments that can work together for your business' success.

Let's briefly explain the three concepts so that you can understand how, despite their differences, in practice they come together within a company.

While compliance is related to compliance with laws and regulations, corporate governance is linked to ensuring commitment to ethics.

IT governance, on the other hand, concerns the choice of best practices and procedures to achieve an optimization of IT management.

Now that you understand what compliance is, you can work it along with governance in your business. And if you're interested in IT governance, you'll need to choose a methodology for its deployment. To get deeper into the subject, we recommend the article on ITIL and COBIT. Have a good reading!

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