The constant advance of tools necessary to generate and share data has created an environment in which developments are made by increments and security measures struggle to keep up with the latest variety of cyber attack. Indeed, many corporations have fallen victim to these new threats, and even a small breach can cost a company dearly in both money and reputation. Perhaps the most egregious example of this has been the recent Equifax breach, which compromised customer information and sparked a discussion about the efficacy of cybersecurity.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s where information compliance comes in. It’s worth noting that compliance is not the same thing as cybersecurity. While security is IT-centric and often a futile effort due to the ever-changing nature of threats, compliance simply involves promoting best practices in corporate communities to prevent a potential breach. A staggering number of cyber attacks are made possible due to the negligence of employees, and it’s up to corporate leadership to ensure that all are informed of the ways they can prevent a click from turning into a catastrophe.

The benefits of compliance are manyfold. Again, the difficulty in implementing security solutions that account for a business’s needs, budget, and information distribution means that compliance is more important than ever. This is also due to in-house IT often being outmoded; there’s a good chance that, if your company does not work in technology, that better out-of-house options are available. Additionally, reducing the risk of a cyberattack is valuable from a legal standpoint. Compliance also helps provide thorough documentation that allows for a better response in the event of an attack.

So how does a business leader implement good compliance practices in an impactful way? It can often be difficult to steer an entire business in this direction, especially considering that one case of negligence can lead to disaster. Many make the mistake of believing that any such initiatives should be IT-led when in fact the department should just guide teams in the right direction rather than wasting time micromanaging the entire effort.

Education is an important step in the right direction. Even with thorough countermeasures in place, a simple email phishing scheme can spread quickly if not avoided. Recognizing fraudulent emails is a great topic of conversation, as is creating strong passwords. This may require giving employees access to certain files or documents on an as-needed basis. It may seem like an unnecessary hassle, but it cuts down on vulnerability and allows for the original threat to be isolated and tracked.

Of course, even if all of this information is imparted to employees, there’s still the matter of convincing all staff members to abide by it. I cannot stress enough the importance of a business being “all-in” when it comes to compliance. Therefore, change should start with leaders and work its way down. The tools necessary to ensure compliance should also improve the quality of an employee’s life; if they are forced to take extra steps, they are far less likely to adopt these new measures. Thoroughly research solutions to compliance and work to automate as much as possible. Check websites pertaining to your industry for more information about compliance guidelines and ways to safely share information. Governmental regulations should also be researched and observed.

Ensuring proper compliance can be a difficult task, but far worse is the prospect of lost or corrupted data. It is up to corporate leaders to choose to adopt a culture of compliance and enforce the standards that continue to become more and more necessary in the wake of devastating cyber attacks.