As the United States begins to reopen for business after the coronavirus shutdown, your organization will have new challenges to address. Not only will you need to rethink your operations, your staffing, and your financial situation, but you’ll also have to consider how your compliance program will be affected.
After three months of business as abnormal, your compliance situation is probably a big mess. It won’t get any better during phased reopening, as your employees return to the workplace. In fact, you’ll have new challenges and disruptions to deal with.
Let’s look at six impacts on compliance you’ll need to prepare for post-coronavirus.
Related reading: How Will Coronavirus Impact Your Company’s Security?
6 Post-COVID Impacts on Your Compliance
1) Cost-cutting decisions
The COVID-19 shutdown may have left your company limping a bit. It’s going to be months, maybe years, before business recovers financially. As a result, executives and department heads throughout your organization will have to make some painful decisions to reduce costs as much as possible.
Your largest costs are also your most valuable assets — your people. The more you can optimize their work and reduce inefficiencies, the better off your company will be. Unfortunately, compliance activities are notorious for being time-consuming and inefficient. Compliance is also non-negotiable.
2) Reduced personnel
As you begin to reopen your business after the coronavirus shutdown, you’ll probably be operating with a reduced workforce. Fewer personnel will need to take on more responsibility — at least, for a while.
If you have new people assigned to assist with your compliance efforts, you’ll run into several speed bumps that will get in the way of a smoothly operating security and compliance program. Expect more delays than normal, more rework, longer status meetings, slower production, and a lot more confusion and chaos.
3) New vendors
The vendors you trusted and relied on before the coronavirus period may no longer be around post-coronavirus. You’ll need to find a new set of vendors you like, trust, and can afford — and you’ll need to vet them for compliance.
Your vendors are a greater security risk than you probably realize. According to one survey:
- 69 percent of businesses say they definitely or possibly suffered a security breach resulting from vendor access within the last year.
- The number of breaches attributed to vendors has increased by 22 percent since 2015.
- About two-thirds of companies don’t even know how many vendors are accessing their systems.
If you need to fill the gap fast, it may be tempting to simply check the boxes and move on. But taking the necessary time to do your due diligence will help prevent additional catastrophe during a time when your company is still in recovery mode.
4) New processes — health & safety, operations, staffing
Returning to work doesn’t mean returning to normal. Before you open your doors, you’ll need to create a slew of new processes to protect the health and safety of your employees. That means new operational procedures and new staffing policies.
That will have implications for your security and compliance program. If you’re doing business differently, it’ll have an impact on the way you do compliance. You’ll need to consider how your new ways of operating will impact your compliance management.
5) Permanent remote work
When the coronavirus hit businesses, organizations suddenly transitioned to remote work. In many cases, ad-hoc systems were set up to allow employees to work from home. Most organizations simply allowed their people to log on from their home networks, expecting the situation to be temporary.
Now that experts are predicting that organizations will continue to embrace remote work, you will need to seriously evaluate your security protocols for employees working from home. Chances are really good that your company is more vulnerable than you realize, and it should be a top priority to remedy that as soon as possible.
6) Picking up the dropped balls
Let’s be honest — your compliance activities almost undoubtedly experienced hiccups during the shutdown. That’s understandable, since everyone was just trying to make it through this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime event.
But that leaves your organization with the unenviable task of picking up all those balls that were dropped three (or more) months ago. Wise companies will get started now, well before their next audit cycle culminates. You’ve probably got a lot of detective work ahead of you and you will certainly have a lot of evidence to gather.
TCT Portal Can Make Reopening Less Painful
TCT Portal was built by people doing compliance to help people doing compliance. We get the challenges you’re facing — now and when life is “normal.” Here’s how our compliance management system can make the transition back to the worksite less painful.
As we begin to come out from under the shroud of COVID-19, you may not have the resources you had before. TCT Portal streamlines the resources and time that you do have. Here’s a quick snapshot:
- The Dashboard gives you live visibility to the status of your compliance program — who has done what, what’s due when, and what tasks are still outstanding.
- Requirements are mapped across certifications. If you have multiple standards to comply with, some requirements will probably apply to more than one standard (for example, both PCI and HIPAA have firewall requirements). TCT Portal maps those overlapping requirements to eliminate the duplicate work from your compliance efforts.
- Automation prompts your people for you so you don’t have to hunt down documents, and nag people for evidence.
Because you’re more efficient, you can stay on top of compliance without hiring more people, saving your organization money. TCT Portal lets you do more with less.
TCT Portal creates a whole new level of organization for environments where there’s been transition and lost productivity, lost dollars, and a fluid workforce. TCT Portal provides a level of organization to the compliance process that is monstrously helpful as you go through a series of fluid changes. TCT Portal’s automation engine keeps your evidence organized, provides insight, and gives you a single spot to go to.
While you’re reopening, you’ll have a lot of details that need to get folded into place, and your productivity will take a hit. TCT Portal can mitigate some of that by keeping compliance organized and automating the menial and time-consuming tasks that you’ve done in the past.
TCT Portal’s Dashboard is a huge timesaver, because it gives you real-time status at a glance. You don’t have to wait for the weekly meeting to find out where everything is at. Updates are made in real time, and notifications are sent to the people who need to know, when they need to know.
While some teams wait around for the weekly meeting to give updates and ask questions, in TCT Portal, people are submitting questions, submitting evidence, and updating their status live.
For those running the engagement, you can do a quick spot-check every morning, instead of hours-long analysis, information gathering and weekly compliance status meeting prep. This feature alone could save you hundreds of man-hours every year — and that’s just the time saved from one facet of compliance.
Over the last three months, you’ve probably had several compliance items that were due yet still need attention. TCT Portal tracks who did what, when, and what’s still outstanding. All you have to do is log in and look at the Dashboard. You can instantly tell what items are overdue and who needs to do them. This makes it easy to clean up your compliance stance and get back on track quickly.
There’s also the possibility that your internal compliance experts have been furloughed or laid off. Now that they’re gone, how do you continue their work? Without TCT Portal, you could end up back at Square One, rebuilding major portions of your compliance/security program.
But with our compliance management software, you can easily go to last year’s track and see what everyone did. You know exactly what they did, when they did it, and what evidence they used. It’s all there in one place.
While you’re slowly transitioning from a distributed workforce, one of the biggest challenges is finding a way for everyone to communicate and collaborate easily. TCT Portal was built from the ground up to be a distributed platform. Many of our clients have teams that are dispersed across multiple time zones, and even internationally. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the office, traveling or at home — with TCT, you gain the consistency of a system that’s doing its job.
Minimize the Challenges of Post-coronavirus Compliance
As we begin to move forward out of the coronavirus crisis, we’ll have new challenges waiting for us. We’ll have to figure out new ways of doing business and operating our organizations. TCT Portal can minimize the challenges around compliance so that you can focus on getting your business back up to speed faster.
COVID-19 won’t be the last disruption your business faces. Investing in TCT Portal now brings immediate benefits today, and into the future.