With cyberattacks on the rise against businesses this year, more attention is being paid to how businesses and organizations can protect the sensitive information they hold. This year has seen some of the largest companies become targets to massive cyberattacks like Mariott, Experian, and even The World Health Organization. Unfortunately, although cybercrime is growing steadily across the globe, most countries are yet to implement legal and regulatory frameworks addressing cybersecurity for businesses. That does not mean that there hasn’t been some progress, however. Over recent years, countries have moved to propose cybersecurity legislation and monitoring bodies. For instance, The Australian Securities and Investment Commission released a cyber resilience report. As compliance meets cybersecurity in today's digitally-driven environment, cybersecurity compliance is quickly no longer becoming an option.
What Are The Benefits
While it may not be widely legal across the globe, there is no denying that cybersecurity compliance has long-lasting positive benefits for a business. As more businesses (and their customers) shift to online, the potential for data breaches has grown exponentially. One of the leading benefits of IT security compliance is the avoidance of legal fees and repercussions, which can hinder your business. For instance, payment merchants are required to adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) or risk fines between US$5,000 and US$100,000 per month. Similarly, organizations that fail to adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can face a non-compliance fine of between US$100 and US$50,000 per violation- or up to US$1.5 million per year.
Businesses that choose to prioritize cybersecurity compliance also enjoy heightened consumer trust and a stronger brand reputation. This is because customers view these actions by the company positively and can impact their chances of purchases. In a report by Deloitte, 59 percent of customers said a single data breach would negatively impact preference for a company. Finally, establishing cybersecurity compliance regulations allows enhanced accountability and risk management. However, it also comes down to identifying digital compliance regulations for your business and getting its implementation right. For instance, e-commerce businesses can work with a compliance platform for their website archiving compliance needs.
What Data Is Covered By Cybersecurity Compliance
In recent years, GDPR has been a well-documented example of compliance regulations. However, as cybersecurity and regulatory compliance continued to merge, there have been many more examples. This starts with identifying the type of information that may be subject to cybersecurity compliance like protected health information, personal details, and financial data including payment information and social security numbers. The best place to start is to identify the kinds of data your business handles before you can begin planning your cybersecurity compliance strategy.
Your Industry May Overlap With General Compliance Requirements
The location and industry your business operates in will also dictate the cybersecurity compliance regulations you will need to be aware of as a business. Every state in the U.S. has its own individual data breach compliance laws and regulations. To find the data breach requirements for your state, visit the ,a href+"https://www.ncsl.org/">National Conference of State Legislature’s website for the Security Breach Notification Laws. There will also be specific cybersecurity and data compliance regulations in your state. For instance, businesses handling the financial data of New York residents will most likely be subject to the requirements of NYDSF Cybersecurity Regulations.
Similarly, businesses may find an overlap of standards they need to adhere to. One good example of this is businesses operating in the healthcare industry who are not only subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) but also Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard regulations. Also, if they are located in New York or California, the business would also be required to follow the NYDSF Cybersecurity Regulations or the California Consumer Privacy Act.
Ensure You Invest In A Thorough Risk Assessment Process
A thorough risk assessment process is key to implementing a rigorous and effective cybersecurity compliance program. A risk-based approach in cybersecurity is generally recommended since it allows for better customization and identification of specific vulnerabilities- for both the industry and the business. The first step is to identify the risks, networks, and data the business handles or stores. You will then need to assign a risk level to each type of data. When assigning a risk level, consider all the influencing factors like the risk of the data type being breached and the current security measures you have in place. To analyze your risk, calculate the likelihood of a breach, its impact, and the cost.
Don’t Forget Continuous Documentation
One of the most important parts of compliance for any business is the continuous monitoring and adjustment of its compliance program. As time goes on, the cybersecurity risks and business environment your business is operating in will continuously change. Cybercriminals and hackers are always looking for new ways to secure a data breach or access sensitive information. For instance, cyberattacks on remote workers increased by 5 times compared to before the pandemic. The cybersecurity environment is always changing- and compliance needs are continuously changing with them.
Continuous monitoring helps your business identify the risks and respond in real-time. It is also important to keep clear documentation of your business’ compliance every step of the way- including monitoring and adjustments. This will act as proof of your compliance actions and controls in place. It also covers your business and showcases governance adherence. Some of the essential cybersecurity documentation includes an information security policy, an updated incident management plan, and disaster recovery plans. Having proof of your cybersecurity compliance can end up protecting your business.
In a world where cybersecurity is becoming a necessity for businesses, implementing a rigorous cybersecurity compliance program is not an option but a long-term investment. It should be seen as much more than a way to satisfy local and federal cybersecurity regulations. Instead, it is a strategy that protects your business, ensures its longevity, helps to build brand credibility, and covers your bases legally. With mounting evidence and reasons, there is no longer an excuse not to prioritize cybersecurity compliance.
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