This day in age, regulatory compliance should be at the top of every organization’s list of concerns. It is vital that your employees understand what regulations govern their day-to-day activities and the consequences of failing to abide by these standards. Per a 2011 compliance survey conducted by VaporStream, 46.5% of individuals interviewed were unsure of whether or not their company monitored or archived employee email. Quite astounding, right?

A lack of awareness, as it were, is akin to a greater likelihood of failed compliance. If employees aren’t aware of the compliance standards of their organization, it’s entirely possible that they’ve unknowingly violated policies in the past (and will continue to do so). In the aforementioned survey, nearly 50% of those questioned admitted to having used a work email to send or receive private and confidential information unrelated to their jobs. Chances are that, in many cases, this action was in direct violation of mandated compliance regulations. How many of this 50% were also members of the previously noted 46.5%? That is the question.

Importance of Compliance Policies

As an organization, it is important that you provide employees with a defined set of email and electronic data compliance regulations. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons, actually. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Establish Reasonable Expectations

Being upfront with your employees with regards to your expectations is usually a best practice. In the case of developing compliance standards, this is no different. As a company, you will benefit in establishing a reasonable set of expectations for your employees’ usage of company email, sensitive information, and the like.

Set an Ethical Standard of Lawfulness

Although compliance can pertain to internal regulations, much of it concerns adherence to relevant laws. By creating a thorough compliance policy, you instill a standard of lawfulness into your organization – making each and every employee personally responsible for upholding this standard.

Create a Secure Environment for Client Data

This one is especially important. While you likely won’t share your internal compliance policy with clients, they will have certain expectations when it comes to the security of their shared data and information. An employee’s awareness of an active compliance policy makes him or her more conscious of the need for absolute privacy. Once employees are aware, leaks in information become a question of personal ethics or accident, rather than company-wide awareness.

As security is an integral part of any customer-business relationship, the company with the cleanest record will always appeal to the client. Your public image has a direct effect on your ability to achieve organizational goals, and regulatory compliance can be the fulcrum for that public perception.

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Regulatory compliance starts with company-wide awareness. As an organization, your first concern should be not only instating a compliance policy, but also conveying the standards of that policy to your employees. At a certain point, you do have to rely on the individual. If you hire with the qualities of the individual in mind (and not simply their skill set), you shouldn’t have to worry. Make your employees aware, and you’ll almost certainly observe a more strict adherence to company email and data compliance guidelines.

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