Compliance has always been a top concern for organizations. As the way businesses leverage technology continues to change, businesses face new challenges related to IT compliance.
It’s easier than ever to collect business data. As important as that data is, it presents risk for businesses who don’t follow compliance guidelines.
Not following regulatory compliance and security standards can result in data breaches. Penalties can be steep and cause productivity and budgetary setbacks.
Having a reliable IT security and compliance partner helps manage digital communications, data protection, and technology infrastructure so you can keep your business running smoothly and avoid expensive penalties.
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The Basics of IT Compliance
Compliance in IT companies refers to regulations an organization must follow to ensure processes, people, and data are secure. These regulations establish rules for a company’s technical environment.
Not following these rules presents the risk of organizations receiving violations by regulatory bodies, who set the rules for companies to follow.
So, What Is IT Compliance?
IT compliance is a set of practices that ensure business technology meets certain legal and regulatory requirements. Most, if not all businesses are impacted by compliance, whether they know it or not.
Compliance requirements drive security measures that businesses must put in place to protect their people, processes, and sensitive data. It’s important businesses adhere to compliance guidelines to ensure they are not violating any requirements. By adhering to these IT compliance requirements, companies mitigate risk associated with the loss of company data, data breaches, and other technology risks.
Importance of IT Compliance
IT compliance requirements, IT compliance regulations and compliance laws aren’t in place to give companies a list of things needing to be done to avoid fines. IT compliance requirements and compliance regulations are in place to protect businesses and their customers. The most important reason for IT compliance requirements is to protect company and customer data. Violating compliance standards introduces information security risks. Additionally, compliance violations result in hefty fines.
Organizations can mitigate information security risks by implementing appropriate cyber security controls, or rules. Implementation of cyber security controls result in a safer environment, lower risk of data breach, a reduction in reputational risk, and increased user trust.
IT Compliance vs. IT Security
Information Technology Security essential for IT Compliance. Although these two areas complement each other, they both have unique aspects that are necessary to effectively manage a technical environment. IT Compliance is focused on cyber security, monitoring, and safeguarding user data. IT Compliance also encompasses cyber security issues and requires organizations to deploy defined infrastructure and technology that protects data. Information Security is all encompassing, and includes all strategies to protect the technical environment.
Although both are necessary to protect company and customer data, IT Compliance is specifically a concern for businesses following regulatory standards. Although the rules for IT Compliance are strict and penalties for compliance failure are impactful, the guidelines help to instruct businesses so they can follow best practices for both cyber security and data privacy.
Going forward, companies could benefit from increasing their cybersecurity defense and response posture while simultaneously considering steps to prepare for compliance.
Why Every Business Needs to Pay Attention to IT Compliance
Compliance matters not just for large companies and financial institutions. IT compliance is essential for all businesses. Any business utilizing technology and handling customer data should pay attention to IT Compliance.
Businesses must pay attention to IT Compliance and applicable laws in part because cyber security incidents are constantly in the public spotlight. Cyber security incidents have been happening for years, but most remain out of the public spotlight. Recent high-profile incidents propelled this issue into the national, legislative, and regulatory spotlight. We are now entering a new era in cybersecurity, one where governments, federal agencies, and companies around the world work to increase oversight of cybersecurity practices.
6 Laws Your Business Should Be Aware Of
IT Regulatory Compliance standards differ depending on what data businesses store. Additionally, there may be different compliance standards that business should follow. Below, you will find some of the most common regulations:
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA oversees healthcare industry related companies who handle customer healthcare data. The US Department of Health and Human Services issued the HIPAA Privacy Rule to protect sensitive patient information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS): Businesses handling credit card data and payments must comply with PCI-DSS. PCI-DSS is administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The standard increases data security controls related to cardholder data to mitigate the risk of credit card fraud.
- System and Organizational Controls (SOC 2): Companies maintaining digital customer data must follow SOC 2 standards and allow annual audits to stay compliant with SOC 2. SOC 2 is a voluntary compliance standard for service organizations, developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. SOC 2 provides guidance on securely managing data. The standard is based on Trust Services Criteria: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX): Congress passed SOX to guide and oversee the way that businesses handle electronic records, data protection, internal reporting, and executive accountability. SOX was introduced to improve auditing and public disclosure in response to several accounting scandals in the early-2000s.
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): General data protection regulation is in place for any company that handles European Union data. GDPR is intended to give users greater control over their data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business.
- Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC): CMMC, also referred to as NIST 800-171 is intended to safeguard Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) across the Department of Defense (DoD) supply chain. Contractors or vendors who do business with the DoD will eventually be required to obtain a CMMC certification. CMMC is in place to strengthen IT national security.
How Can I Ensure My Business is IT Compliant?
All compliance requirements are unique, however many requirements overlap. There are core elements of cyber security that are themes throughout many of the IT Compliance requirements. The first step in IT Compliance is understanding what standards are relevant to your business. Compliance standards are constantly changing, so new standards and regulations must also be reviewed and understood to avoid penalties and fines.
By ensuring the following measures are in place, business can be assured they are covering the core elements of IT Compliance:
- Access and Identity Management: Includes authentication and authorization
- Data Controls: Businesses should have good control over the data shared with the public and their customers
- Incident Response: Organizations should know how to respond and recover from a cyber attack
- Disaster Recovery: Businesses must be well versed in how to restore operations. Disaster recovery helps to reduce the business operations impact from an infrastructure failure
- Data Loss Prevention: To avoid the risks associated with data loss, data loss prevention helps companies have appropriate control over their data
- Protection Against Malware: Endpoint detection and response is critical for businesses to protect their technical infrastructure. Every IT compliance regulation requires protection against malware
- Corporate Security Compliance Policies: It’s important for companies to outline measures to protect technical infrastructure and data in a security policy
- Activity Monitoring and Reporting: If an organization is not monitoring the activity taking place in their environment, they will not be able to detect malicious events in their environment
Challenges with IT Compliance
Cyber security and IT Compliance is a top concern for businesses in today’s technical landscape. As organizations continue to leverage technology, cyber crime will continue rising, leading to expanding cyber security and technology regulations.
As cyber security legislation expands, it’s difficult for businesses to know what regulations and standards they should follow. Additionally, it’s difficult for businesses to know how to best implement requirements that come from many of the regulations.
Discover How Vivitec Can Help You and Your Business
At Vivitec, we provide our partners with the IT Security and Compliance services needed to protect their data. When you work with us, you can expect a comprehensive suite of security, risk management, and compliance services including:
- Analysis and review of current compliance policies
- Drafting and maintenance of new compliance policies
- Tracking compliance via compliance management software
- Alignment of policies with industry-specific regulations
- Strategic planning to address gaps in compliance
- Audit preparation and ongoing support
- Data Security
- Security training
- 24/7 security monitoring
Vivitec’s compliance experts specialize in helping clients achieve and remain compliant to IT regulations in several industries that are constantly changing.
Vivitec assesses your security posture, brings a rich perspective on cyber security to companies; and then tailors and maintains a solution for your specific business needs, risks, industry, and size.
What is the role of IT compliance?
Compliance requirements drive security measures that businesses must put in place to protect their people, processes, and data. It’s important all businesses adhere to compliance guidelines to ensure they are not in violation of any requirements. Adhering to IT compliance requirements helps companies mitigate risk associated with the loss of sensitive company data, security breaches, and other technology risks.
Why is compliance needed?
Violation of compliance standards introduces cyber security risks including malicious actors gaining access to company networks and systems and a potential data breach of both customer and corporate data. Compliance violations can result in fines and penalties.