Cybersecurity compliance: Time to clean up the cobwebs
Cybersecurity compliance became prominent in the last decade. From being a trivial part of an organization’s business strategy in the early years to being a core objective now, cybersecurity compliance has come a long way.
Today, organizations have dedicated teams and personnel, such as chief compliance officers, to ensure that they stay compliant with the relevant standards pertaining to their industry and location. It is essential for organizations to stay updated to avoid sanctions.
Users should also have an idea of the prevalent compliance and regulation standards. This will help them understand their rights and responsibilities in case of any mishap; they can use this knowledge to stay protected. The majority of compliance standards are created to protect the interests of different parties involved in the business transaction.
In our evolving cyber landscape, authorities amend regulations from time to time. Further, the dynamics of the rules have shifted from being generic to being very specific as evidenced by the regulations issued lately.
For instance, compliance regulations like GLBA and HIPAA were generally focused on protecting and securing data, whereas more recent regulations, such as the GDPR, and CCPA focus on protecting the rights and privileges of the users.
How times have changed
The focus of compliance has changed from being organization centric to empowering users. Privacy has taken the center stage, and authorities are drafting regulations to protect end-user information.
This shift in the paradigm of compliance has been well-received by both users and organizations. Users now have complete awareness of where and how their information is being used. Organizations, furnishing the details of how user information will be used, have helped enhance their integrity and reputation.
Fines aren’t fine anymore
An organization’s reputation can suffer from actions of non-compliance. Organizations that are scrutinized, fined, or pay penalties can also lose customers and revenue.
Previously, an organization might just pay the penalty and continue with their business, but today’s consumers are often fully aware of cybersecurity or privacy violations, and can even demand explanations from the organization.
Further, the penalties for being non-compliant have drastically increased lately. An average of $5.47 million in revenue is lost annually by organizations due to non-compliance.
The cost of non-compliance can be split among various factors such as penalties and other charges, damage to reputation, disruption of business, a fall in productivity, and a decline in revenue.
How staying compliant helps organizations
Staying compliant helps organizations in different ways:
- Enhancing its reputation: By staying compliant with all the industry standards, organizations can enhance their reputation in the industry.
- Avoiding penalties: Organizations that follow all compliance requirements can avoid the enormous fines levied by regulatory bodies for being non-compliant.
- Achieving easier regulatory approvals: Since an organization follows all the requirements, it is often easier for them to obtain approvals from authorities and financial institutions. For instance, if an organization that produces medicines follows all the industrial standards and legal requirements, it’ll be easier for them to earn approval if they want to venture into say, manufacturing of medical equipment. Further, financial institutions are more inclined to lend money to an organization with a solid business reputation and compliance status.
- Improving security: Certain requirements help improve an organization’s network security. For instance, HIPAA requires entities to make necessary arrangements to ensure the security and privacy of patient information. To meet this requirement, a medical institution might have to deploy a solution that constantly monitors the database for unauthorized access or modifications, thereby improving network and data security.
For an organization, staying compliant is one way to retain an edge over competitors.
Best practices for compliance management
Be aware of the laws: Ignorance of the law cannot be excused. It’s an organization’s duty to be fully aware of all the compliance mandates pertaining to their industry and the location of their business. Organizations must also be aware of all the recent amendments and must make necessary arrangements to meet the changes in the requirements.
Audit regularly: Compliance audits are seldom a practice in organizations. However, these audits help identify non-compliance efficiently. Organizations must conduct compliance audits internally at least once a quarter to know where they stand in terms of meeting regulatory mandates.
Automate compliance management: The best way to stay compliant is to automate compliance management. For instance, an organization that collects credit card information of users for business purposes is bound to protect this information. Doing this manually can be taxing and time-consuming. A SIEM solution that regularly monitors and secure this information and provides compliance reports can be deployed to meet PCI DSS requirements.
In short, staying compliant continuously is difficult. However, it’s not impossible. Organizations must see to it that they take necessary measures to meet all compliance mandates and thereby stay true to their users and the industry.