Compliance certifications are meant to provide fair playing ground for businesses across various industries, besides ensuring that consumers get the highest-quality goods and services. Business compliance is an all-encompassing term that implies how well a company adheres to laws and regulations imposed by industry regulatory bodies.
Typically, legal and regulatory requirements vary from one industry to another. The location of your business also determines the regulations that will be applicable to you. Compliance certification may seem like a “heavy lift” for entrepreneurs, given that there is so much to do to make their enterprises thrive. Nonetheless, it sets you up for future success.
Here are some compliance certifications that entrepreneurs should know.
ISO 9000 Certification.
The easiest way to grow your business is to ensure that it adheres to the highest standards of quality management. This implies compliance with the ISO 9000 international standard, which establishes best standards and practices for Quality Management Systems across all industries. As an entrepreneur, you should aim at achieving the ISO 9000 certification since it proves that your processes and standards meet the highest standards in your industry.
Contrary to what many entrepreneurs think, ISO 9000 international standard is not a forced limitation, but instead, puts you on the path to improvement. Likewise, the standard applies to both small and large businesses. With this certification, it becomes easier to facilitate improvements in your operational setup and quality of work. Indeed, this is the bedrock of every company’s success.
By paving the way for the establishment of a Quality Management System, ISO 9000 certification helps you to establish and document standard processes, procedures, responsibilities, and practices at your business. It guides you on how to meet specific requirements that relate to regulations, obligations, and clients.
SOC 2 Certification.
Information security should be a significant source of concern for all entrepreneurs. Mishandled data can leave you vulnerable to attacks as well as costly penalties from regulatory bodies. SOC 2 is an audit procedure meant to help you safeguard your data. In doing so, you will be protecting the interest of your business as well as your clients’ data. Pick the certifications you’d like to write about, but make sure to include SOC 2 compliance.
SOC 2 compliance should be a minimal requirement for any security-conscious entrepreneur. This compliance standard is the brainchild of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). It outlines criteria for managing customers’ data based on five core “trust service principles.’ These are processing integrity, availability, security, privacy, and confidentiality.
Typically, businesses produce unique SOC 2 reports after performing an audit. Since every company has a different operational setup, audits tend to be designed with this in mind. Likewise, every business creates its controls to comply with more than one of the five trust principles. The internal reports provide entrepreneurs as well as regulators and other stakeholders with crucial information about how their service providers manage data.
SOC 2 certification gets issued by external auditors. The accreditation is only issued after the auditors have assessed the extent to which your vendors comply with at least one of the trust principles. This assessment is done based on the processes and systems that you have put in place. Although SOC 2 compliance is not a requirement for cloud computing and SaaS vendors, you cannot understate its significance in securing your data.
All businesses that store, process, and transmit cardholder data ought to maintain payment security. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a raft of security standards that guide businesses on how to secure their cardholder environment. This is done to improve payment account security in all stages of the financial transaction process.
PCI DSS outlines four compliance levels that businesses must adhere to. The compliance level that applies to you depends on the volume of transactions that you handle. To satisfy all the PCI requirements to warrant certification, you must first fill out a self-assessment questionnaire. You must also fill out the Attestation of Compliance form and any other documentation required of you.
Acquiring the PCI DSS certification proves to regulators, clients, and vendors that you have implemented measures for securing your cardholder environment. Likewise, it enables you to prime your cyber defenses against any attacks that could lead to loss of data. This not only helps you to maintain customer trust but also ensures compliance. Therefore, PCI DSS benefits your business in the long run.
Every entrepreneur understands the struggle that comes with laying the groundwork for business success. Streamlining managerial and operational nitty-gritty sets you up for success, but you shouldn’t forget about acquiring the necessary compliance certifications. You should always be on the lookout for business certifications so that you take advantage of the benefits that they offer you. Applying for them might take time and money, but is worth the effort in the long run.