Understanding Cyber Security Compliance

Cyber security compliance

Cyber Security Compliance: What You Need to Know

Cyber security is a complex problem to navigate. Companies need a resilience-focused approach towards internet-exposed software and hardware infrastructures to rule out existing and potential vulnerabilities, however,  compliance takes no less consideration than cyber threats in the business environment.

Even though it’s an overwhelming topic,  establishing a cyber security compliance-focused company culture establishes a company’s trustworthiness, integrity and maturity in the industry landscape. Here’s everything you need to know about meeting compliance needs.

Why Does Cyber Security Compliance Matter?

Cyber security compliance isn’t just a collection of strict and mandatory requirements coming from higher-ups: It directly relates to overall business success. 

It’s important to note that any company is at risk of becoming a victim of a cyber attack. Small enterprises sometimes intentionally make themselves a target for cybercriminals as it’s easy to assume they’re too small to be attacked. 

However, not investing in a strong cybersecurity posture exposes vulnerabilities that interest bad actors. Regardless of the company size, data breaches can quickly escalate, snowballing into very complex situations that damage reputational and financial company capacity and can lead to legal proceedings and disputes that may take years to resolve. 

Meeting compliance standards reduces the major threat factor and what comes with it.

In the next section, we go into the major compliance requirements and briefly describe them.

Major Compliance Requirements for Cyber Security

Even though there are different and distinct compliance requirements, they all aim for the same goal — to create rules that are simple to follow and adapt to your company’s technology environment, ultimately safeguarding sensitive data.

HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a U.S. federal statute covering sensitive health-relevant information. Entities must comply with HIPAA privacy standards if they transmit/distribute health information electronically with covered transactions — to process claims, receive payment or share information.

The Act establishes three fundamental parts: privacy rules, security rules and breach notification rules to report the incident. However, HIPAA Privacy Rule does not apply to organizations outside the U.S.

FISMA

The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) regards the federal U.S. systems that protect national security and economic interest information, operations and assets from data breach risks. The FISMA defines minimal requirements for security to maintain threat prevention to national-level agency systems. 

The framework requires companies to adhere to these categories: 

  • Information system inventory.
  • System security plan and controls.
  • Risk assessments.
  • Continuous monitoring.

PCI-DSS

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a non-federal information security requirement to implement credit card data protection and security controls, with the main goal of protecting cardholder data.

The PCI-DDS standard applies to merchants that handle payment information despite the number of transactions or credit cards processed per month. Business owners must comply with 12 standard requirements that include firewall configuration, password protection and data encryption. Also covered are restricted access to credit card information and development and maintenance of security systems, processes and policies.

It’s not a good idea to risk noncompliance with PCI-DSS. You could lose your merchant license, become a potential target of cyberattacks that can result in reputational damage and end up with financial penalties that could reach up to $500,000 in fines.

ISO/IEC 27001

ISO/IEC 27001 is an international standard for implementing and managing Information Security Management Systems (ISMS).  Adhering to ISO27001 signifies an organization’s adherence to compliance in all technology environment levels — employees, processes, tools and systems — a complete setup to ensure customer personal data integrity and protection.

How Can I Build a Compliance Plan?

Building a compliance plan depends on your industry, the size of your organization, your location and a variety of other factors. However, the process can be broken down into five simple key areas:

  1. Form a compliance team. Having dedicated staff that has skills and knowledge in assessing compliance needs is the first crucial step toward meeting compliance standards.
  2. Perform a risk analysis. Establish and review your organization’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to cyber security
  3. Set security controls. These can include data encryption, setting up network firewalls, establishing password policies, determining network access control, developing an incident response plan, employee training and cyber insurance.
  4. Establish policies and procedures. Creating a security-oriented document helps systematically align, revise and audit your company’s compliance with security requirements.
  5. Monitor and respond to threats. Active monitoring gives you great insight into what established security methods paid off and where improvements are needed. Monitoring helps to identify new risks and responds by updating and implementing required changes.

Cyber Security Compliance: Next Steps

Whether your company needs to comply with regulatory requirements or cyber security standards like HIPAA or other standards, our IT compliance services will help you achieve security compliance standards and meet customer data protection expectations.

Talk with an expert or contact us for all your compliance concerns.

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