Business Guide to Compliance
Click here to download now
Overview: In a world where the use of electronic data is rapidly increasing, companies must find ways to manage data now so that they effectively control compliance risks. The proliferation of electronic data is both astonishing and overwhelming. Given the storage power of average computers today, even the most modest mom-and-pop business may have electronic storage capacity equivalent to 2,000 four-drawer file cabinets. The task of managing electronic data is further compounded by the fact that the data is no longer just tangible pieces of paper, but rather are bytes of information that are constantly being edited, changed, and updated from different people and sources. Proper archiving, retention, monitoring, filtering, and encryption of electronic data are no longer optional: they are imperative.
Electronic data systems control and direct machinery, process financial data, manage inventory, place orders, and transmit pictures and documents. They immeasurably increase the speed of verbal and non-verbal communication. Email is the most familiar form of electronic communication, but communication components include online journals ("web logs" or "blogs" , instant messaging (IM), conferencing webcams, document and video transfers, and broadband voice services. Such systems, however, also are subject to misuse which may harm a business. As a result of both mandatory legal requirements and voluntary best practice protection, companies must plan, implement, and train before a legal crisis arises. Few companies will have the luxury of first thinking about and starting to address such issues after a lawsuit is filed, the intellectual property is already "out the door," private information released, or a hostile work environment created. It is critical for organizations to plan ahead.