Perimeter
5/8/2012
09:13 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Screw Compliance, We're Trying to Survive

In tough times, compliance efforts may seem optional

I have a healthcare-related client for which we develop custom software and database programs. It is a relatively small company, but it has a growing national presence. Nice people.

The CEO is what I consider an accidental entrepreneur. She has a great work ethic, knows her industry, and has innovative services of great value to her clients. But she never prepared to run and grow a business. As with many leaders of small and midsize businesses, knowing how to do something can be very different from knowing how to run a business that does that thing.

As my team worked on software projects, we noticed a number of clear HIPAA compliance issues unrelated to our work. I suggested to the CEO that we could provide a HIPAA assessment and action plan to address issues in a cost-effective manner. She admitted the company had issues it needed to address, but she sighed and said she had to focus all of her resources on revenue generation. She wanted to address these issues, but said they would simply have to wait.

As an entrepreneur and investor in start-up companies, I get it: starting and growing a business can be a bit sloppy at times. I even consider this to be normal. Young companies often have too few staff doing too many different jobs. Too little is documented, and deferring expenses can be critical just to survive.

So what is such a struggling or growing company to do? I believe it starts with leadership. A business culture of proper, measured risk management leads to the foundation successful businesses can build on. Compliance cannot be treated as an add-on to work. It must be a normal fact of life, addressed in each new process and with each new employee. And it must be continually supported and reinforced.

This approach does not have to be expensive. In fact, when thoughtful leaders build their companies with a focus on the future, they ingrain their work processes and work culture with the tools that inherently reduce risk and naturally build compliant systems. In the long run, this is less expensive, too.

Even businesses (or departments) without such a foundation can implement a plan that methodically builds a new foundation. But it takes discipline, focus, and leadership. That leadership ideally comes from the CEO or COO, but it can also come from thoughtful leaders within departments who add business value through culture and execution.

Times are tough for many business organizations. But I contend that by using compliance requirements as a guide, even gradually, many businesses can become stronger and more valuable without breaking the bank (or themselves).

Glenn S. Phillips, the president of Forte' Incorporated, works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. He is the author of the book Nerd-to-English and you can find him on twitter at @NerdToEnglish.

Glenn works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks awaiting them. The Founder and Sr. Consultant of Forte' Incorporated, Glenn and his team work with business leaders to support growth, increase profits, and address ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
DWEBER460
50%
50%
DWEBER460,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/14/2012 | 7:21:37 PM
re: Screw Compliance, We're Trying to Survive
Your comments are spot on. Compliance definitely-Šbegins with good leadership who encourage top of mind awareness. Also, when instituted properly, compliance should be-Ša small part of the day to day efforts of the organization and not a major undertaking when the epiphany occurs.-Š Unfortunately the latter is most often the case however. Xeneros proivides license and credential tracking services for the insurance and healthcare industries and our most successful service (not part of the original business)-Šis our compliance audit becuase so many companies have not taken the time to implement good license management practices.-Š
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-6306
Published: 2014-08-22
Unspecified vulnerability on IBM Power 7 Systems 740 before 740.70 01Ax740_121, 760 before 760.40 Ax760_078, and 770 before 770.30 01Ax770_062 allows local users to gain Service Processor privileges via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-0232
Published: 2014-08-22
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in framework/common/webcommon/includes/messages.ftl in Apache OFBiz 11.04.01 before 11.04.05 and 12.04.01 before 12.04.04 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified vectors, which are not properly handled in a (1)...

CVE-2014-3525
Published: 2014-08-22
Unspecified vulnerability in Apache Traffic Server 4.2.1.1 and 5.x before 5.0.1 has unknown impact and attack vectors, possibly related to health checks.

CVE-2014-3563
Published: 2014-08-22
Multiple unspecified vulnerabilities in Salt (aka SaltStack) before 2014.1.10 allow local users to have an unspecified impact via vectors related to temporary file creation in (1) seed.py, (2) salt-ssh, or (3) salt-cloud.

CVE-2014-3587
Published: 2014-08-22
Integer overflow in the cdf_read_property_info function in cdf.c in file through 5.19, as used in the Fileinfo component in PHP before 5.4.32 and 5.5.x before 5.5.16, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) via a crafted CDF file. NOTE: this vulnerability exists bec...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Three interviews on critical embedded systems and security, recorded at Black Hat 2014 in Las Vegas.