How the Digital Business is Keeping Up with Compliance

We are becoming increasingly dependent on technology, from business process automation to online shopping and entertainment. And while technological advancement makes lives more convenient, it also contributes to the growing threats to data security and individual privacy.

According to the University of Maryland, a hacker strikes on the internet every 39 seconds. That is 2,244 cyberattacks daily. Attackers typically target smaller organizations (1 to 250 employees) at a rate of one in every 323. Phishing remains the preferred method of criminals, accounting for over 80 percent of cybersecurity incidents. As of January 2021, Google has listed a staggering 2,145,013 phishing sites. Ransomware closely follows phishing, affecting one victim every 10 seconds in 2020.

All organizations should comply with a set of guidelines to protect themselves, their consumers, and workers. Digital compliance may sound like a buzzword, but it is not new. International laws that ensure companies adhere to strict data security standards have been in existence for some time, including the European Union’s General Protection Regulation (GDPR), the UK’s Data Protection Act, and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

But what does compliance mean, and what are digital businesses doing to keep up with the regulations? Read on to find out more.

The Implications of Not Keeping up With Compliance

In 2020, the French data protection authority fined Google €100 million for not seeking consent from their visitors before storing advertising cookies on their computers. In July, the National Commission for Data Protection of Luxembourg issued US retail giant Amazon a record-breaking €746 million fine million for violating GDPR provisions. But apart from breaches and financial losses, non-compliance can result in license revocations, a decline of consumer trust, and irreparable damage to company reputation.

In general, non-compliance occurs when employees fail to follow internal or external rules and protocols related to their industry’s standards. It can be due to negligence, misinformation, unawareness, or malicious intent. In most cases, however, non-compliance is not a product of ill-natured intention but simply a failure to understand what compliance is and keep up with the changes in regulations.

When it comes to regulatory compliance, digital businesses primarily focus on data security and privacy protection. But it also encompasses fair market competition, sustainable growth, consumer confidence, and lawful and appropriate information disclosure.

Recently, with the rise of artificial intelligence and automation technology, digital businesses are starting to cover workplace safety, labor rights, and environmental protection.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to compliance as different regions have different guidelines for handling consumer privacy. Thus, businesses need to identify their audience to determine which regional regulations protect their customers and clients. Ultimately, compliance aims to keep people and the business safe by adhering to industry-specific laws.

Data Privacy

Today’s digital market makes data an indispensable resource, and collecting and sharing it could be a lucrative business. Data gathering allows companies to obtain essential knowledge about their customers, such as preferences, buying behavior patterns, and purchase trends. It helps them improve their marketing efforts, penetrate a broader audience base, and target potential patrons. Moreover, data enables organizations to make informed decisions, create effective business strategies, and stay abreast with the competition.

Personal information, arguably the most valuable type of data, is often the favorite target of hackers. A data breach happens when hackers obtain illegal access to a computer or network by circumventing security systems. Breaches also occur through the theft of a hard drive or device, insider leaks and misuse, credit card payment frauds, and human error such as using weak passwords.

Data breach is one of the most common cybercrimes, accounting for 3,932 cases in 2020 and affecting over 37 billion records. The healthcare sector was hit the most by cyberattacks, comprising 12.3 percent of reported incidents. According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million.

So, what are digital businesses doing to stay compliant with data protection laws? Organizations need to identify and fix old security vulnerabilities which have a high risk of being compromised. It means they should keep up with new cybersecurity standards. Businesses should use the appropriate software to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing crucial information stored in their databases. For instance, entertainment streaming giant Netflix, one of the most trusted tech brands, uses state-of-the-art Transport Level Security (TLS) encryption in handling customer data, search queries, and other sensitive information.

On the other hand, businesses should have the capability to recover compromised data if a breach occurs. Organizations need to involve specialists to create a set of security protocols that perfectly suits their needs, including keeping up with regulatory compliance. There are software systems that automatically detect legislation updates, making it easier for companies to monitor policy changes. Furthermore, businesses must ensure that their workforce strictly follows security procedures, particularly in handling sensitive data. Lastly, they must conduct regular audits to determine if their security processes are adequate and effective.

The Industry 4.0 Health and Safety Revolution

Industry 4.0 focuses on creating autonomous machines by incorporating digitalization and automation into manufacturing and other industries. Its chief goal is to make functional systems where computers can process daily operations efficiently with less or no human intervention. Although Industry 4.0 primarily covers automation and robotics in the manufacturing sector, it also involves artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, big data and analytics, augmented reality, and cybersecurity technology.

Automation, one of the most prominent areas of Industry 4.0, helps businesses comply with safety regulations by taking over dangerous and tedious tasks. It leads to a significant drop in workplace injuries and illnesses, especially in manufacturing, mining, quarrying, warehousing, and oil and gas extraction. With the integration of predictive analytics software capable of forecasting and detecting potential risks and equipment deficiencies, companies can prevent incidents from happening. Furthermore, automated tools improve product quality and increase productivity while decreasing operational and manual costs.

One downside of Industry 4.0 is it could lead to a job crisis. A study shows that robots will take over 25 percent of manual tasks in manufacturing industries by 2025. However, this will also increase the demand for advanced and complex automation and computer programming skills. There will be a shift in the industry 4.0 the job market as more companies search for highly talented individuals to look after robotic machinery and automated systems.

Photo: GettyImages
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