Compliance is responsible for ensuring company policies and processes comply with appropriate laws and regulations. These vary depending on your industry, and certain sectors are more heavily regulated than others. For instance, healthcare institutions need to comply with most common regulations on data security, as well as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Fines for non-compliance can be costly, but should not be the sole reason for adhering to regulations. They also ensure your customers trust you, and you have an audit trail whenever things go wrong.
Compliance relies on the flow of information, meaning problems can arise if this flow is interrupted or proceeds in a risky manner. This might happen when access privileges are wrongly allocated for the sharing of files. It may happen if metadata is used incorrectly, making the searching and retrieval of content more difficult. It arises if there is not a standardized way of pushing content through a process.
What’s more, if manual processes are overly complex, employees often search for workarounds which may be in breach of regulations.
Workflow automation software can ease the compliance burden on you and your users. With automated workflows, you set the processes so they comply with your policy, meaning you never need risk breaking regulations again.
5 Compliance Breakpoints That Workflows Can Solve
1. The insecurity of email for sharing documents
Employees may choose to send documents over email as it seems easier or quicker. But email is not necessarily a secure method to send content, as there is the potential for it to fall into the wrong hands. For instance, sensitive information contained in an email could get sent to the wrong address, or forwarded to people who shouldn’t be given access (e.g. a non-disclosure agreement).
The solution: With a workflow form, users simply input the data and attach the relevant documents or files into the form. The data is then automatically saved in SharePoint for immediate access.
2. Audit trails
Many businesses deal with large volumes of data stored in different environments. This means users are working with different interfaces, each with slightly different processes. If users get confused, content can go missing or unaccounted for, putting a real strain on information and content governance.
The solution: The process of creating Audit Log reports can be automated and scheduled on a recurring basis (such as every month). This provides an overview of user and administrator access that can be reviewed to keep governance on track.
3. Chasing approvals
Ensuring information is approved by the right people can take time and can often involve chasing people up. In an attempt to accelerate the process, workers might approve documents ‘without thinking’ or simply choose to skip one step in the process. This can lead to compliance issues further down the line.
The solution: With workflows, important information will be automatically routed to the appropriate recipient. Users can also be alerted or notified for follow-up if they haven’t taken action on a pressing task.
4. Industry-specific compliance
Organizations in industries like finance, healthcare, and legal have additional and especially strict regulations to adhere to. These tend to add additional checks and steps to routine business processes – thereby increasing employee frustration.
The solution: Once again, flexible workflows can quickly and easily be designed to follow even the most complex process.
5. Searching for information
Document search is only as strong as the way documents are stored. If metadata isn’t correctly used, search will falter and finding documents during an audit will be difficult.
The solution: Regulatory compliance workflows work with your databases to route data based on relevant information: department, financial regulations, document expiration dates, etc. The workflow can automatically inform the relevant employees when they need to take action, generating reminders when customers’ documents are due to expire.
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Automated workflows can work in many ways to solve compliance issues for organizations. Ultimately, the focus is on a more streamlined way of work that reduces manual input. This removes much of the risk associated to human error, improving the security of information to better maintain compliance. At the same time, users are improving the security of sensitive information by dealing with that information less.
This is going to free up time for workers, and knowing that the necessary compliance regulations are under control should free your business from a lot of stress.
For more information on how you can address and maintain and current or future compliance regulations in your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Nintex today.