Compliance is a continuum. Keeping up with privacy legislation and regulatory frameworks can be demanding for organizations of all sizes, including managed services providers (MSPs). But if you must keep compliant as an MSP, you might as well help your customers stay on top of their obligations.

Many rules and regulations that businesses must follow today are driven by privacy and cybersecurity concerns. Some legislation and frameworks affect a broad range of industries. In contrast, others are specific to certain sectors, such as healthcare or finance. Regardless, compliance requires resources and expertise within the business and guidance from outside the organization.

Smaller Organizations Grapple With Big Rules

In the digital age of smartphone apps and online commerce, ensuring citizen privacy has become a higher priority. That’s led to legislation worldwide that affects how business must be conducted. Many organizations don’t fully realize their obligations or understand which regulatory frameworks they must follow.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an excellent example of privacy legislation that affects businesses worldwide, even though it was introduced by the European Union in 2018. Because it is designed to protect the privacy of European citizens no matter where their data resides, a business without a presence in a European country still must abide by GDPR so long as they are handling the data of a European citizen.

Canada has its own privacy legislation, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). If you’re a U.S. technology service provider operating in Canada and serving Canadian businesses, you’ll need to understand your obligations. Some privacy legislation is more regional — the State of California has its own privacy legislation. Other well-established laws that can impact your business include the Sarbanes Oxley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) affects any organization that handles major credit cards to help reduce card fraud. All of these have reporting obligations and require that businesses understand how Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is handled.

Remaining compliant also intersects with cybersecurity. For example, HIPAA includes a security rule requiring a data backup and a disaster recovery plan. However, having robust cybersecurity doesn’t automatically make your organization compliant.

What both compliance and cybersecurity have in common is that obligations are the same regardless of the organization’s size. Larger businesses tend to have the internal capability to deal with regulatory compliance demands, especially in sectors such as finance and healthcare. But understanding broader privacy legislation can be a challenge for SMEs, and that’s where an MSP can add value.

MSPs Have an Excellent Vantage Point

As an MSP, understanding the value of data as it pertains to customer success is essential to your success. If you can’t keep that data safe, you will not be in business very long. A thorough understanding of privacy legislation and regulatory frameworks should already be part of how you run your business. Preparing your customers for audits and assessments is another pain point you can solve.

Suppose you’re already providing remote monitoring and maintenance to your customers, as well as cloud backup services as a part of a disaster recovery plan. In that case, you’re in an excellent position to proactively monitor their entire infrastructure and understand their compliance posture. For any organization, compliance is essential but adds to the workload of an already burdened IT staff. It can be especially overwhelming for SMEs operating in highly regulated industries to keep up with their compliance obligations.

If you haven’t formalized your compliance support as a service offering, you’re leaving money on the table, as well as an opportunity to deepen relationships with your customers. Given that you’re already required to be compliant in several areas as an MSP, it makes sense to leverage that effort to help your customers, including those in certain industry verticals.

Your expertise in privacy legislation and regulatory frameworks should be a key selling point when pitching new business. And by helping your customers improve and maintain their compliance posture, you can help them win more customers and grow their business.

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