Any business that deals in data needs to have strong cybersecurity measures in place. Industries such as healthcare, insurance, financial, government contractors, and legal providers have strict cybersecurity compliance standards to follow. These regulations are designed to protect the customers whose delicate data they handle daily.
Are you properly protecting the sensitive data your company handles? Failing to meet compliance standards could be catastrophic for you and the people whose data you store. With ever-increasing risks and changing standards, how do you remain secure and compliant so that your data remains safe? An IT professional who is certified in compliance for your industry is usually the answer.
What is Cybersecurity Compliance?
Cybersecurity risk compliance means implementing network protections that align with your industry's laws and regulations set around data use. These regulations can come from government agencies, regulatory bodies, or industry authorities. They are designed to protect innocent victims whose confidential information may be compromised by an attack.
Any time you access, move, or use data, you risk opening it to attack. Making sure your data, especially sensitive personal information, remains safe should be a priority. Failure to comply with regulations could result in the loss of your license and ability to operate.
Why Your Business is A Target
Large businesses and corporations are no longer the only ones worrying about internet attacks and ransomware. Hackers have discovered that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are easy prey. That’s why complying with existing cybersecurity regulations is crucial for businesses of any size.
Unfortunately, hackers have become elaborate in their techniques and they can “case” thousands of websites with automated bots that look for vulnerabilities. Where in the past it wasn’t worth their time to attack smaller businesses, they’ve since learned it can be lucrative. The average data breach in a company with less than 500 employees is $2.98 million. If hackers find a weakness in your network, they can focus on exploiting it. Compliance regulations are designed to stay ahead of the techniques hackers use.
Does My Business Require Cybersecurity Compliance?
The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have identified 16 infrastructure sectors, including energy, defense, manufacturing, healthcare, and finance, that need to be protected. A breach of a business within these sectors could risk national security, public health, the economy, or public safety.
If your business operates in one of these 16 sectors, you likely deal with personal, financial or health-related data that requires strong protective measures. Without this compliance, you risk:
- Your reputation
- Client trust
- Financial setback
- Disrupted operations
Regulatory agencies monitor trends and compile cyberattack data to better protect its members against attack. It becomes in your best interest to follow these guidelines to keep your data protected.
What Are Major Cyber Regulatory Organizations?
Chances are, you will have to deal with one or more of the following agencies:
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) - If you take credit card payment, you are probably familiar with the standards set forth by PCI DSS. They require you to protect credit card data with strong controls and monitor your network for signs of vulnerability.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) - Any healthcare provider, an insurance company or business that deals in personal health information (PHI) must remain HIPAA compliant to protect patient’s rights. In cybersecurity that includes keeping health records from being hacked or stolen by third parties.
NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation - Any financial service provider must follow this New York-based organization's guidelines for risk management. They also require you to hire a CIO to oversee your compliance measures.
Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) - The defense department created this protocol to protect contract information and classified materials. If you work with the defense industrial base, you’ll go through rigorous third-party vetting to ensure that your security compliance is sufficient.
How To Build a Cybersecurity Compliance Program
Compliance requires equal parts preparation, prevention, and observation. To remain compliant, you’ll need a well-designed security program that you continuously monitor and upgrade. Here are six steps to follow for your compliance and cybersecurity program:
Compile an IT compliance team
Appoint a chief information security officer who will lead your compliance program. Make them the point of contact for all communications and updates regarding your security controls. You may want to employ the services of an outside IT consultant to ensure that all your cybersecurity measures are safely implemented and effectively monitored.
Identify which laws and regulations apply to your data
Once you understand the laws and regulations that your business must adhere to, you can draft your plan. It’s important to note that every state has laws around notifying your customers in the event you do have a data breach. You can review your state’s protocols at the National Council of State Legislature’s page.
Assess your levels and areas of risk
All cybersecurity compliances will require you to perform a risk assessment to identify where your company’s vulnerabilities lay. Knowing where your security flaws are will allow you to upgrade and adjust your controls accordingly.
Create your cybersecurity framework
Install and update the necessary network controls and protections to keep your business up to the required standards. This involves managing your firewall, encrypting data, installing antivirus software, adding email protections and patching your open ports.
Standardize policies and reporting
Your employees are a key link in your cybersecurity chain. Make sure that they understand the compliance steps you must take and educate them on how to identify a security breach. Identifying suspicious activity as soon as it happens can save your company a lot of time, money and grief. Implement reporting procedures that everyone will follow so that you remain accountable and build evidence that your controls are in place.
Monitor and update
Cybersecurity is never a one-and-done operation, especially regarding high level compliance. To keep your valuable data protected, you’ll need to constantly monitor for vulnerabilities and threats. This means having a dedicated person/team who monitors cybersecurity protections and stays up to date on best practices. Upgrade your antivirus measures as needed and continually patch open ports.
Need Help with Your Cybersecurity Risk Compliance?
An IT team can help you make sense of the complexities involved with cybersecurity compliance standards. The experts at Thriveon can help you with:
- HIPAA cybersecurity compliance
- FSA cybersecurity compliance
- Cybersecurity compliance in the financial sector
Whether you’re building a HIPAA-compliant cybersecurity program or protecting important financial data, let us make sure your security measures exceed the regulations with a proactive approach that keeps your systems airtight. Schedule a meeting today and protect your business's future well-being.