What is Cybersecurity Compliance?
What is Cybersecurity Compliance?
For many financial, healthcare, or government contractors, cybersecurity compliance is complicated and daunting. In addition to federal regulations, companies processing personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, names, driver’s license numbers, and more also have important practices they must follow to protect this information.
The rules, standards, and regulations can not only be difficult to understand, but they also change frequently making it difficult to stay compliant in the most recent do’s and don’ts of cybersecurity.
Some companies default (consciously or unconsciously) to a “we’ll fix it if it becomes an issue” philosophy. However, especially in industries with strict regulations, not only can a formal audit result in more expensive solutions and fallout than having the right protocols in the first place, but a cyberattack could be crippling and destructive to the company.
How to Know if Your Cybersecurity is Compliant
One of the best starting points for knowing whether your cybersecurity measures are compliant is by starting with an internal cybersecurity audit. This means comparing your current cybersecurity standards to the regulations your company is held under or the best practices.
1. Review Your Cybersecurity Plans
First, review all of your documented cybersecurity plans. Compare these to the standards set by any regulatory or best practices authorities in your industry. Are your documents up-to-date, complete, and aligned with the most recent standards?
Because of the swiftly changing cybersecurity environment, if you haven’t reviewed your cybersecurity plans recently, they’re most likely out-of-date. Take this opportunity to update the documents to fit the most current compliance regulations. Make sure the plan has clear guidelines, is relevant to your current systems, and that all the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.
If you don’t currently have formal cybersecurity plans, it’s time to create them. This can be done by your in-house IT team if they have the time and bandwidth to complete the task or can be completed by an outsourced IT expert.
2. Assess Your Risks
What has changed in your technology systems since you last looked at your cybersecurity plans? If you have added new software, third-party data storage, new hardware or servers, or have new employees or roles within the team, they should be taken into consideration when reviewing your cybersecurity compliance plan. If you’re not sure how to account for these changes in your cybersecurity plans, ask an outsourced IT advisor.
3. Audit the Actionability of the Plan
Having documents for security is only the first step of having compliant cybersecurity. Cybersecurity actions should also be in-place and up-to-date. This means ensuring any protective actions such as firewalls, anti-virus software, intrusion detection, and prevention systems are up-to-date and functioning.
It also means making sure employees are trained and up-to-date on the latest rules and standards for security in your company, including regularly updating passwords, equipment management outside the office, data sharing, email scam awareness, and more.
In addition, you should ensure any emergency actions are clear, tested, and actionable. If there is a cyber emergency, how are you notified and what happens next? Do people within your company know who to contact in case of a breach? Do they know where to find additional information about your security measures? Do you know how the security actions would take place and how long they would take to resolve the situation?
4. Hire an IT Consultant
Cybersecurity compliance can be complicated and time-consuming. Hiring an IT consultant can be a great option for companies who can’t sacrifice the time of their current IT team to undergo an internal cybersecurity compliance audit.
It is also the best way to get an in-depth, unbiased review of the current security environment. In some cases, internal IT employees may intentionally or unintentionally skew cybersecurity audit results or the state of the cybersecurity landscape of the company to preserve their jobs or to avoid “looking bad” to the company.
Outsourced IT consultants can provide unbiased information about the current cybersecurity systems and compliance and will work diplomatically with the IT team to ensure proper procedures and actions are in place. In addition, an external IT company can also offer regular cybersecurity services to ensure your security systems and compliance stay up-to-date so you don’t have to worry about them.
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