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Why Compliance Management is Essential in the Pursuit Toward Client Intelligence

Being able to systematically gather, analyze, and make sense of client relationship data is essential for the success of professional services firms. Shared client insights are what drive collaboration, increase revenue, and help organizations operate as One Firm. At the same time, firms need to properly maintain security compliance management as they seek a 360-degree view of client interactions — from the granular to big picture details.

Staying up-to-date on clients’ rapid organizational and structural changes can be difficult. One day, a client may announce a merger that significantly influences its strategic direction, while a few weeks later, that same client may declare a reorganization of its executive leadership team. These shifts have massive implications for professional services firms — both in terms of data stewardship and in ensuring that existing services offerings align with client needs.

To stay on top of key client updates, many organizations are investing in technologies that streamline the information gathering process. With this, firms must ensure they’re protecting sensitive client data and using best practices for security compliance management. In this blog, we’ll explore why security compliance management is essential for professional services firms and answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) on how organizations can address security concerns while maintaining a robust repository of client intelligence.

The importance of security compliance management

Security compliance management is the act of continuously setting and reforming internal mechanisms and policies so they meet regulatory requirements related to data security. Data security compliance serves to minimize the risk of breeches, losses, and unauthorized access to data. 

Failing to align with data security and protection rules exposes professional services firms to exponential risks, including possible legal repercussions, hefty fines, and reputational damages. To put the financial costs into perspective, IBM estimates that the average cost of a data breach in 2023 was approximately $4.45 million.

Firms that implement the proper security compliance management policies and controls reduce the likelihood of data breaches and other cyber threats, as well as the additional costs relating to brand reputation and eroded client trust.

FAQs: data security and client intelligence

Now that we’ve explored why security compliance management is critical for professional services firms, it’s time to address common questions pertaining to data security and the management of client intelligence.

How do data security compliance requirements differ across jurisdictions?

Compliance regulations vary around the world, with some countries having different requirements than others. For example, the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the most stringent and well-known regional data security rules. 

Certain countries within the EU — like Germany and Austria — have their own supplemental data security laws that set additional and stricter requirements (or ‘national derogations’) on specific sections of the GDPR. For example, Germany and Austria specify requirements around processing video recordings, whereas in Italy, there are stronger criminal sanctions around unlawfully processed data. 

In the US, similarities exist between state rules, but many states have passed their own individual data security and privacy requirements, galvanized by recent regulations coming out of California and New York. Likewise in Canada, privacy regulations are similar to the GDPR, but with a broader definition of personal details than in the UK.

Professional services firms operating globally and across jurisdictions must ensure they’re complying with every data security and privacy regulation that’s relevant to them. For example, if an accounting firm does business in Germany, New York, and California, it must be compliant with the GDPR, Germany’s Federal Data Protection Act, New York’s Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act, and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Are there any security certifications professional services firms need?

Different data security and privacy regulations require professional services organizations to put a number of controls in place to maintain data integrity and protection. International standards and certifications, such as the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) 27001, independently confirm that firms are adhering to some of the world’s most stringent data security mandates and best practices. These standards also promote a holistic, organization-wide approach to information security and ensure firms are both risk-aware and proactive in identifying and addressing potential security threats.

How can firms gather client intelligence while ensuring security compliance?

To effectively meet client needs, professional services firms must figure out a way to securely analyze and assess their relationship intelligence. This can be done through technology platforms that have independent certifications and reports to affirm they’re aligning with the highest level of data security and privacy standards.

For example, Introhive’s client intelligence platform has several independent data security and privacy certifications, including those for ISO 27001, SOC 2, the EU-US Data Privacy Framework, and Cyber Essentials Plus — a UK-backed data security scheme. Introhive also does annual penetration testing for data security.

What are some of Introhive’s privacy controls available to users and organizations?

There are many controls available to individual users and organizations to ensure sensitive contact data does not get captured or exposed. Firstly, Introhive only scans emails and calendar metadata. The body text of email and calendar entries are not accessed or stored in Introhive. 

Additionally, there are many privacy controls made available to users and organizations through the Introhive platform, including: 

  • Blocklisting specific email addresses or entire email domains so correspondence with certain email addresses or an entire external domain is not processed.
  • Keyword identification within subject lines so interactions are not processed if a certain keyword — for example, “private” — appears in the subject line of an email or meeting.
  • Respecting ‘private’ markers on individual contacts, emails, and meetings so Introhive ignores all correspondence with individuals marked as ‘private.’ 

As part of our implementation plan, Introhive provides a full list of its privacy controls and guidance on how to implement them within your organization.

Why choose Introhive for client intelligence?

Introhive understands that professional services firms need to protect client data and has built its platform in a way that honors both data security and privacy regulations and standards. Introhive’s platform maintains the highest level of cybersecurity while delivering professional services firms with the relationship intelligence necessary to drive collaboration and revenue growth. Request a demo to learn more.

Evan English, Director of Risk and Compliance at Introhive

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