A No-Nonsense Guide to Cybersecurity Compliance

A No-Nonsense Guide to Cybersecurity Compliance

Any device that can connect to the internet can be hacked. And, did you know that there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds? Not only that, but 66% of businesses that have been hacked were not confident they would recover. 

The threat of cybercrime is continually evolving, and the more sophisticated hackers become, the greater the number of businesses that will go under as a result of cybercrime. 

For all of these reasons, cybersecurity compliance exists. It is essential if you run a business that you protect yourself from cyberattack. But what can you do to ensure you meet cybersecurity compliance regulations? 

In this no-nonsense guide, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about compliance and cybersecurity. 

What Does Cybersecurity Compliance Entail?

Cybersecurity compliance entails meeting a specific set of control measures which are usually a requirement of law or regulatory authority. These measures are designed to protect the confidentiality of data. 

Requirements may vary by industry, although they will generally use a selection of processes and technologies to keep data safe.

These controls come from a variety of sources including NIST 800 171 Compliance

Identify the Data You Want to Protect

The first step in implementing cybersecurity policy and compliance is to identify exactly what you need to protect. 

In a lot of regulations, certain data will be subject to controls. Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is one such data set that needs to be controlled. Examples of PII include: 

  • Full name
  • Date of Birth
  • Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Mother’s maiden name

Using this information, it is possible to identify an individual.  

If you are working within the healthcare sector, you’ll need to think about Personal Health Information (PHI). This might include: 

  • Medical history
  • Admissions records
  • Prescription history
  • Appointment history
  • Insurance records

All of this data must be protected from getting into the wrong hands. 

Identify the Compliance Areas Specific to Your Sector

There are several types of compliance and the state that you are based in may have its own specific laws too. 

It’s important to understand all of the laws and regulations that apply to your business. 

For instance, companies working within the healthcare sector and those handling medical insurance details need to work to HIPAA guidelines. 

The NYDFS and California Consumer Privacy Act have regulations that may apply to your company in any state. 

Appoint Someone to Take Care of Your Internet Security

One of the first things you’ll need to do is to appoint someone within your organization who will be in charge of your internet security and maintaining compliance. 

If you run a small business, the person in this role may double up their responsibilities. This may be your IT manager or Chief Information Officer. This person will be responsible for liaising with the relevant agencies to understand the specific compliance requirements.  

Get the Right Support 

With cybercrime being such a potent risk, it is essential that you get the right support. You may want to bring in external help in the form of a managed services provider. 

A managed service provider will provide round-the-clock support for you with system monitoring and regular compliance audits. If you have specific regulations such as HIPAA that need to be followed, choose a specialist IT company that only works with companies in your field. 

Conduct Risk Assessments 

Nearly every cybersecurity regulation will require you to carry out a full risk assessment on your IT systems. This is to identify any areas where there may be vulnerabilities. 

Following on from carrying out your risk assessment, you should look to implement controls based on its recommendations. 

Implement Technical Controls

Once you’ve carried out your risk assessment, you’ll have a greater understanding of the specific dangers you are facing and where your pain points are. Controls that you might need to set in place may include: 

  • Installing firewalls on all devices
  • Installing antivirus software across the board
  • Encrypting sensitive data
  • Putting network monitoring software in place

You can then set to work putting these measures into place. 

Implement Policies and Procedures 

Cybersecurity goes beyond just technology, it also incorporates the people that will be using the equipment and data that you want to protect. To do this, you’ll need to have policies and procedures in place that will mitigate risk. 

You can have the best cybersecurity in the world, but if you have an employee who is either reckless, negligent, or unaware of phishing scams they could download malware that could jeopardize your entire operation. 

Some examples of policies and procedures you may want to implement include: 

  • Ensuring all of your team have thorough cybersecurity training
  • Fully documenting your policies and procedures so everyone is aware of them
  • Carrying out full audits and making your team accountable for their actions
  • Appointing a CISO
  • Carrying out regular cybersecurity risk assessments 

Once implemented, you will need to monitor the effectiveness of these policies and procedures. 

Test and Review 

You must ensure that you regularly test your controls to check that you’re meeting your requirements. 

As your business grows, it can be easy to let aspects of your cybersecurity compliance fall by the wayside. It is essential that you continue to evaluate your compliance and keep abreast of any changes within your sector. 

If at any point you’re unsure whether you are meeting the demands of the regulators, it is advisable that you seek outside help from a cybersecurity specialist. 

Ensuring Cybersecurity Compliance in Your Business

Obtaining a cybersecurity certification of compliance should be the goal of every business. 

Maintaining a good habit of carrying out regular risk assessments and reviews of the effectiveness of your cybersecurity compliance is essential if you’re to make sure you don’t become another statistic of cybercrime. 

For more articles similar to this, check out the tech section of our website. 

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About the Author: Veronica Baxter

Veronica Baxter is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area.