Challenges that Compliance Officers face Today
Samantha-Anne Horwitch. General Counsel/Chief Compliance and Human Resources Officer if Citelum US, EDF Groupe, is an accomplished, driven and business-savvy professional, experienced corporate lawyer, compliance professional and Human Resources leader with a demonstrated history in the multiple industries. Her background shows a consistent record of excellence in organizational leadership, corporate advisory, litigation and contract management, policy and process creation and implementation, team building and motivation, and corporate training. Samantha-Anne provides expertise in all aspects of corporate legal guidance, strategic business support, domestic and international regulatory compliance, and risk mitigation across relevant industries and sectors. She adapts quickly to evolving legislation and changes in the law, and educates colleagues and clients as a recognized subject matter expert. With extensive experience in public and private corporations, Samantha-Anne possesses instinctive business acumen and an understanding of how to protect and support a company, its mission, and its employees.
“Change takes time.” While I am not sure who was the original author of the quote, I can almost guarantee they didn’t anticipate how quickly the world, specifically the business world, needed to change for a global pandemic. In March 2020, offices across the country went from being full of employees in the everyday hustle, to sitting empty as stay at home orders rippled through the United States. Employers were forced to change their protocols for everything within just a few days-processes that would usually have been thoughtfully developed and meticulously executed over months. While some industries are designed to allow for this model and have been ready, countless offices were not prepared for the challenges that would arise with a full remote workforces. This thrust Compliance Officers in every industry to the forefront of the workforce to help address these challenges.
Evaluating compliance technology is a cyclical and living process-one that must be continually monitored needs continual updating as better tools are developed
The challenges brought by this situation are many, specifically for the legal and compliance departments. How can data be protected when all outside the office? What are the risks of a completely remote workforce? Can cyber security be ensured with unknown remote connections? How can privacy and compliance be maintained when employees are working from home? Where are the company’s compliance vulnerabilities in this new environment?These challenges can all be addressed by leveraging the technology advancements that allow for remote working while maintaining necessary compliance protocols.
Technology is proving to be the key to helping companies maintain and manage compliance programs during this time. Whether this technology includes virtual private networks, secure video conferencing, remote desktops, or third party security authentication, each company must analyze the potential risk and reward of new and emerging technologies to appropriately guide their company to appropriate decisions. Once determining the extent of their needs, companies must evaluate the technology that is necessary to their business, prioritize the urgent needs, evaluate the legal and compliance risks, and troubleshoot integration with existing or chosen software programs for full functionality, before a protocol can be developed for employees to utilize during deployment. These processes and changes must be clearly communicated to employees so that they can be properly utilized and serve the intended function of protection and compliance. Without this step, even the best technology will not be effective if improperly used.
The challenges do not end there, and companies need to track incidents and develop controls as a response. Reporting is an essential piece of continuous improvement for an effective compliance program. With the increased speed of this evaluation and implementation process, feedback and reporting is key to ensure the functionality of the software, but also the efficiency is use by employees. With this information documented and proper response undertaken, companies can continually reassess risk and adapt their program to meet evolving compliance needs.
Evaluating compliance technology is a cyclical and living process-one that must be continually monitored needs continual updating as better tools are developed. Companies must keep up with regulatory change, evaluate advancements in technology and changes in software, train employees, and communicate compliance needs to third party clients, suppliers, and vendors. These ever changing needs ensure that compliance professionals will be of the utmost importance for companies moving forward, and integral to the strategic implementation of appropriate technological advances. The responsibilities of a Compliance Officer during these transitional times is ever changing and growing, but key to the success of a company that is adapting to the current climate of change.