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Why are Compliance and Related Controls so important in IT?

Policies and industry standards help to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information. For example, higher education institutions must protect student data and financial information through FERPA and other regulations, healthcare organizations must comply with HIPAA regulations to protect patient information, and financial institutions must comply with PCI-DSS to protect credit card information. Compliance with these regulations helps prevent data breaches and other security incidents that could significantly harm individuals or organizations.

Maintaining compliance helps to protect organizations from financial and reputational damage. Failing to comply with regulations can result in significant fines and penalties and damage to the organization’s reputation. For example, organizations that fail to comply with GDPR can be fined up to 4% of their annual revenue or $20 million, whichever is greater.

Maintaining regulatory compliance also helps to ensure the proper functioning of IT systems and processes. For example, IT general controls such as change management and incident management help to ensure that changes to systems and processes are made, controlled, and authorized and that incidents are quickly identified and resolved. One of the biggest causes of a data breach is the failure to patch software systems, so many companies and institutions have policies and compliance controls to ensure this is done. This helps minimize the risk of system failures and other issues that disrupt business operations.

In summary, compliance and related IT controls are critical for protecting sensitive information, preventing financial and reputational damage, and ensuring the proper functioning of IT systems and processes.

Gartner and EDUCAUSE recognize this importance and have published several reports, papers, and studies on the topic. Gartner, for example, has published reports on IT risk management and compliance, as well as studies on developing a successful compliance program. EDUCAUSE has published several papers and guides on various compliance-related topics, such as data security and HIPAA compliance for higher education institutions. Both organizations offer a wealth of information, guidance, and best practices for organizations looking to improve their compliance and control practices.

About Columbia Advisory Group:
Columbia Advisory Group (CAG) is a leading Information Technology (IT) consulting firm. CAG’s team has assessed and helped improve the performance of more than 300 technology organizations and IT departments, including many higher education institutions, state agencies, and Fortune 50 customers. Practice specialty areas include Infrastructure, IT Service Management, Cybersecurity, and A/V Services. CAG improves business outcomes with IT insights and expert technical support. Based in Dallas, Texas, CAG works extensively with clients throughout the U.S. Contact us at .

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David McLaughlin


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