With businesses rapidly moving to the cloud following the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a rise in cybersecurity and data protection legislation and regulations to counter increasing cyber crime. No business is immune from cyber attacks – small and medium businesses are often the prime victims of cyber criminals, and cyber threats evolve daily in severity and attempts.
Don’t put your business or customers at risk – defend your company and keep sensitive information safe by becoming cybersecurity compliant and developing effective, robust defense techniques.
What Does it Mean to Become Cybersecurity Compliant?
Cybersecurity compliance is when a business adheres to established regulations and standards to protect sensitive information and its confidentiality, integrity and accessibility from cyber attacks and data breaches. Compliance requirements usually involve specific frameworks, processes and technologies to safeguard data against potential cyber threats and existing vulnerabilities.
Four types of sensitive data need protection:
- Personally identifiable information (PII) – this includes a person’s first and last name, date of birth, address, Social Security Number, mother’s maiden name and driver’s license.
- Financial information – this has to do with credit cards, bank accounts, PINs and credit history or ratings.
- Protected health information (PHI) – this covers medical information and appointments and insurance, prescription and hospital records.
- Other – race, religion, marital status, IP addresses, email addresses, usernames and passwords and biometric data.
For cybersecurity compliance, you must meet certain laws, regulations and standards specific to your industry or location. Some even depend on the type of data you work with. There are dozens of these requirements, and they look like alphabet soup:
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
- Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO)
- Consortium for IT Software Quality (CISQ)
- Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies (COBIT)
- Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)
- Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)
- International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission 27001 (ISO/IEC 27001)
- International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
- New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS)
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
- Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (SHIELD) Act
- System and Organization Control 2 (SOC 2)
With all that being said, we understand why cybersecurity compliance can be a challenge for some companies. It can be confusing and difficult navigating which regulations you need to meet, and it can be costly to implement the right security infrastructure to defend against cyber attacks. However, it’s vital to stay diligent and meet cybersecurity compliance.
What Are the Benefits of Cybersecurity Compliance?
Companies that comply with cybersecurity regulations and requirements are often more successful than their non-compliant counterparts. That’s because dozens of benefits come with being cybersecurity compliant.
The first benefit is pretty obvious: by installing a better security program and improving your security posture, you can gain peace of mind knowing you can defend your sensitive information and data from cyber attacks and data breaches. Breaches can be extremely costly and ruin a company’s financial standing, as they disrupt business proceedings, leading to revenue loss.
You can also look at it this way – compliance and security are directly interconnected, because the more compliant you are, the safer your security practices are. Clear, consistent systems for managing, storing, collecting and using data means greater operational efficiency.
Another benefit is not paying large fines – if a breach happens and your company is non-compliant, it could face severe financial penalties.
Cybersecurity compliance can also lead to a better reputation and brand image, as well as provide a competitive edge. If you had to choose between a company with constant data breaches and security issues or a company without any breaches and with a terrific security protocol, who would you choose? That’s what we thought.
Trust is a valuable commodity. Consumers time and again have preferred companies that prove they value protecting sensitive information and data – cybersecurity compliance is an easy way to gain that trust. Plus, no one wants to be the one to say “Hey, we got hacked, and all your information got stolen.”
Create a Cybersecurity Compliance Program
To ensure cybersecurity compliance and reap the benefits, you need to create and implement a compliance program. This program is designed to continually assess your compliance and help identify risks and vulnerabilities. There are seven steps to the program.
- Identify your regulation requirements: You first need to figure out what laws, regulations and standards you need to comply with so you can start meeting the compliance requirements (see the alphabet soup list above). Remember, these vary by industry and location, so you won’t have to follow all of them.
- Create a compliance team with a CISO: A dedicated team is necessary for implementing a thorough compliance program and maintaining a responsible cybersecurity environment. Heading it should be a chief information security officer (CISO).
- Build a risk assessment process: So you can protect data properly, you must perform a risk analysis. This analysis will conduct a deep dive and show you how well the business is currently doing and where it needs improvement so you can comply with a stronger cybersecurity framework. There are four parts to the risk analysis process: 1. Identify – identify which information systems, assets or networks access the sensitive data. 2. Assess – assess the risk level of each data type and the location the data will be stored, transmitted or collected. 3. Analyze – analyze the risk impact of a breach with this formula: Likelihood of a breach x impact/cost. 4. Set tolerance – this is when you categorize and prioritize risks by mitigating, transferring, refusing or accepting the risks identified
- Implement security controls: Based on your risk assessment, you’ll next need security controls to prevent, detect and mitigate threats. These include physical (fences, cameras, gates) and technical (firewalls, encryption, cyber insurance, password policies, incident response plan, network access control) controls. You should test these controls regularly and ensure they stay up to date.
- Document policies and procedures: Once you create policies and procedures for your business, you’ll need to document them to establish clear, sufficient instructions about your security programs. They also come in handy for internal or external audits.
- Educate employees: What’s the use in achieving regulation requirements, completing a risk assessment and implementing security controls if your employees are not on board? Train employees on your new security policies and code of conduct. Make sure they understand the importance of complying and the consequences if they don’t adhere to them.
- Monitor and respond to changes: Compliance doesn’t just stop once you implement policies and controls; cybersecurity regulations and policies are constantly changing or being created. Continuously track these changes and identify room for improvement in your security posture. If you detect new threats or vulnerabilities, respond to them before they lead to a data breach. You’ll also want to document your continuous monitoring and response to prove compliance.
How Thriveon Can Help You with Cybersecurity Compliance
If you need to meet cybersecurity compliance but you have no idea where to start or you want to make sure you do it correctly, come to Thriveon. Our extensive cybersecurity compliance services mean you won’t have to pay hefty fines, lose revenue or business opportunities and waste time and money. Let us take the challenge of complex cybersecurity compliance regulations out of your way.
Schedule a consultation and become cyber-resilient today.
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