IT Compliance in the UK: Essential Guide for Businesses

IT Compliance for UK Businesses

Understanding IT compliance for UK businesses

Today’s businesses are required to comply with a variety of legislation and rules, including IT regulations. IT compliance is important to uphold not only to set an equal standard for all, but to protect your own business assets, employees, property and more.

Failures to do so can result in serious consequences for your business, such as heavy fines and sanctions. Therefore, it’s vital that everyone, from business owners, managers, to employees, are aware of their responsibilities and obligations.

What regulations do you need to comply with?

The first issue to address is identifying what regulations your business is subject to. As a UK company, you are required to adhere to all generic IT legislation and regulations. This includes the Data Protection Act, which incorporates the principles of the EU’s GDPR. However, there may be various sector-specific regulations that are applicable to your business as well.

While it’s important to be aware of UK IT regulation, you’ll also need to consider whether overseas regulations apply to your business. This is essential if you offer services in other jurisdictions or process data owned by users in other countries. In this case it is highly likely that you’ll need to comply with the relevant IT regulations in that jurisdiction, regulation or country.

For example, if your company processes healthcare data relating to U.S. patients, you’ll need to comply with HIPAA. This stands even though you’re a UK business and HIPAA is a U.S. regulation.

Contractual IT compliance

As well as adhering to IT legislation, you’ll also need to factor in regulations that are enforced via contract. This could include security standards such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). While this isn’t a legal requirement, companies that process or transmit data belonging to cardholders must be compliant with PCI DSS in accordance with the PCI Security Standards Council.

As you can see, even identifying which IT rules and regulations apply to your business can be complicated. Fortunately, having an experienced IT team can assist you with implementing appropriate protocols to ensure your business remains compliant.

Complying with IT regulations

Although there are numerous regulations relating to IT compliance, many of them contain similar or duplicate principles. This means you can maintain compliance by creating a secure IT network and a failsafe data management system.

For example, most IT regulations cover core areas, including:

  • Access control
  • Data sharing restrictions
  • Prevention of data loss
  • Malware protection
  • Incident response
  • Reporting and monitoring
  • Disaster recovery

Although these areas are critical to IT compliance, appropriate processes and protocols will in turn also benefit your business. For example, malware protection will first and foremost help to uphold compliance with IT regulations. But keeping this software updated will also reduce the risk of downtime and keep your systems secure. Similarly, effective disaster recovery strategies mitigate loss and enable business continuity, as well as ensuring IT compliance.

Is your IT infrastructure compliant?

Unless you’ve taken a proactive approach to ensuring IT compliance, then the answer is probably no.

While some software and platforms claim to have built-in IT compliance features, these are rarely sufficient to ensure organisation-wide compliance. After all, you need to analyse how data is managed throughout your entire company to determine if you’re staying compliant. Simply assessing one aspect of your data management is not enough.

If you’re unsure whether your IT systems are conforming, then it’s well worth talking to an IT expert. At totality services we can help determine whether action is required to bring your infrastructure up to date with the latest regulations.

IT compliance vs IT security

It’s easy to assume that IT compliance and IT security are the same thing, but this isn’t the case. While there is some crossover between the two, a secure IT system isn’t necessarily compliant with all IT regulations.

Often, your network will be protected against external threats. However, a failure to implement in-house access controls could mean that you’re not IT compliant.

As a result of these differences, it’s important to approach IT compliance and IT security separately. But it is always useful to recognise the symbiotic relationship they have. So, while IT security solutions may enable you to achieve IT compliance, it’s still important to assess and monitor your IT compliance in isolation.

What are the consequences of IT compliance failures?

IT compliance failures can have significant consequences for your business. For example, you could be fined for failing to comply with data regulations and your operations could be disrupted if you’re unable to continue processing data until your IT systems have been updated to achieve compliance.

In addition, you’ll need to consider the reputational damage that could befall your business if non-compliance becomes public knowledge. Losing the confidence and trust of your customers can cause irreparable damage to your brand. Therefore, never discount the impact that IT compliance failures could have on your company and your future.

Making your business IT compliant

At totality services we put your business needs first, whilst ensuring your IT compliance. And with the right support from external IT experts, business compliance becomes simple and stress-free. So, no matter what industry you operate in, or how far your operations extend, we’ll ensure your IT systems meet all relevant regulations. Subsequently, this allows you to focus on your core business targets, while we foster a secure and compliant digital environment for your organisation.

To find out more or to discuss IT compliance requirements in more detail, contact totality services now on 020 3744 3105 or message us here.