GDPR was arguably the biggest change in regulation for the finance and insurance sector in the last decade. In this article Javid Khan, CTO at LayerV, a Pulsant company, argues that there is a need for continuous compliance in The Cloud, because data – like money – never sleeps.
Compliance. It’s a word that we hear all the time, especially in the highly regulated world of insurance. It is now an extremely high priority for all businesses, and requires cooperation from all employees across all areas of an organisation.
In today’s market compliance is an even more challenging issue. Even if your business is not in a constant state of change, you can be sure that the compliance landscape is. Just look at the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May and threatens to impose huge fines for any business that fails to meet its standards.
While the GDPR is just one of the many regulations and guidelines that the insurance industry must adhere to, it is solely responsible for bringing the importance of compliance into focus. Suddenly, businesses started to sit up and ask themselves questions. Am I compliant? If not, how do I get there?
Simply put, compliance is an organisational commitment of the modern age that spans both technologies and processes. It forms part of a governance regime that embodies good practice, and it simply makes good commercial sense.
While achieving compliance is on thing, the fast pace of change means that maintaining it over a long-term period is another thing entirely. This is known as continuous compliance and is something that many compliance-conscious businesses are already doing in some capacity.
However, there are numerous common obstacles preventing people from doing this effectively. Size, growth and understanding remain the largest of these factors, but there is also a significant skills gap to think about. The harsh truth is that IT teams rarely have the right internal skillsets to ensure cross-organisational compliance with constantly shifting industry regulations.
Achieving compliance through technology
For those in insurance to enjoy the reassurance and peace of mind that comes with continuous compliance, they need their IT teams to utilise tools that provide them with everything they need to know about their state of compliance in a single dashboard. While this might be easier said the done, the good news is that there is generally a large crossover between various regulatory frameworks. This therefore means that, if businesses can achieve compliance according to one regulation, they are likely to be a large part of the way towards achieving compliance on a much wider scale.
Specifically, the compliance journey can be aided with cloud technology – something that has already proved its worth in the modern business world. Initial concerns regarding security did cause a degree of scepticism among some organisations, but these soon disappeared as the technology gained more widespread acceptance. Nowadays, cloud forms a fundamental part of how insurance businesses in the UK operate, and has also helped them to enjoy a reduction in capital expenditure.
Taking compliance into the cloud
Considering cloud technology’s dominance in business, it simply makes sense for insurance organisations to factor it into their corporate compliance efforts. As with any technology, there are still minor gripes to deal with, but the advantages it can bring far outweigh anything else.
The beauty of maintaining continuous compliance through cloud technology is that it enables businesses to audit, query, alert and resolve any cloud infrastructure changes through virtual means – an incredibly powerful tool for any organisation to have at its disposal. On top of this, it can provide much-welcome cost savings and streamline workflows by automating certain processes, simplifying reporting and cutting down on the number of compliance and reporting tools needed.
Having a unified approach is key to successful continuous compliance, and that’s exactly what cloud technology can deliver. A cloud-based platform can enable any business to integrate all its relevant compliance-based data and information into a single view, thanks to the ability to consolidate existing management tools and respective data sources. This, in turn, enables the standardisation and normalisation of the data before querying against a policy engine that incorporates a subset of rules that align to multiple regulatory frameworks.
The benefits of this are huge. It gives insurance companies an intuitive compliance dashboard that combines data sources from across the entire business, allowing them to see what they’re doing right and where they’re going wrong, at-a-glance, and in near-real-time.
Finally, employing cloud technology allows businesses to track the health of their IT infrastructures on a continuous basis, and to trigger alerts when necessary. Thanks to a set of pre-defined rules and the option to add bespoke policies as necessary, a cloud-based compliance platform can pull information and check it against the controls it has in place to identify any non-conformities, making it simpler and quicker to resolve them.
The only way to address the challenges of achieving and maintaining compliance is to use a technology this is flexible and agile enough to keep up with the pace of change. Thankfully, cloud technology is more than up to this task. By using the right cloud-based platform, insurance companies can ensure they remain adherent to the industry’s many regulations. A continuous compliance approach is the only approach that matters nowadays, and the sooner all businesses accept this as the new standard, the better