The alphabet soup of regulations imposed on industries like healthcare, banking, and insurance is enough to make any CIO’s head spin. From HIPAA to PCI DSS, companies in these highly regulated industries face regulations that create enormous IT challenges – particularly for those that are unprepared. And with so many moving parts to regulatory compliance, it’s easy to make mistakes. Let’s look at a few.

Not knowing the regulations

This is perhaps the simplest mistake and the easiest to make. Given the numerous regulations that already exist – in addition to the new ones that may sprout up or be changed – it’s not always easy to identify exactly which regulations are relevant to your industry and organization and fully understand what those regulations entail. Regulations come from different governments and different agencies, and many teams find themselves overwhelmed or confused by what it all means.

The “set it and forget it” approach

An ECM’s system is integral to governing and protecting an organization’s information. Unfortunately, many organizations have built a foundation on legacy ECM systems that they’ve all but forgotten about. It is the responsibility of the organization to perform the due diligence required to ensure that information policies and procedures facilitated by their ECM system are meeting the latest compliance regulations. Most systems that have been left stagnant are woefully underprepared to handle today’s rigorous compliance requirements.

A reactive strategy

The “set it and forget it” habit usually stems from a reactive approach to ECM. An ECM solution can be a major advantage in facilitating regulatory compliance, but only if it’s being utilized within an overall proactive strategy. Too many organizations fall victim to a reactive mindset and miss out on opportunities to jump out ahead of compliance curveballs. Your ECM strategy should involve a forward-thinking mentality. Ask yourself: Are my retention schedules compliant to external and internal policies? Is my data being archived in compliance with industry standards? Don’t let these questions only arise in a crisis situation – ask your team these questions now and be prepared for any scenario.

Relying on technology alone

Even with the most sophisticated ECM system, any compliance policy cannot be satisfied with technology alone. Technology and business processes run hand-in-hand. The human and business factors play a big role in creating a fully compliant environment. Organizations need to evaluate technology within their business processes and ask themselves: “Am I running this technology the way that the vendor would recommend for compliance purposes, or am I running it in a less than optimal scenario?” It’s important to know that an ECM strategy won’t magically appear when you invest in an ECM technology – it requires team buy-in, commitment and alignment with operational and business goals.

When it comes to an issue as critical as regulatory compliance, there’s a lot at stake for an organization. However, it shouldn’t be an impossible task if you have the benefit of two particular assets: a proactive mindset and an experienced, strategic ECM partner. Teaming with the right ECM vendor can make an enormous difference in understanding which regulations to be concerned with, implementing an iterative evaluation process, and building a strategy that prepares your organization for any occasion.

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