After the pandemic, cyberattacks in Europe more than doubled from previous years. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated and IT security threats become more pervasive, companies need to strengthen security practices. This means it’s no longer enough to simply abide by compliance standards like GDPR.
To truly protect your business from security threats, you must go beyond meeting compliance requirements. In this article, we’ll discuss what more you can do beyond just meeting IT security standards to keep your business safe and secure.
Cybersecurity Is More than Just Being Compliant
While meeting compliance regulations is important, businesses often confuse compliance with security. IT security is about protecting information and systems from unauthorized access, disruption, theft, or modification. On the other hand, compliance is the practice of meeting security standards that are set by an organization from a particular industry or government agency.
A company could meet all compliance regulations for their industry but still be vulnerable to cyber threats like data breaches. Compliance regulations created by organizations may be extensive, but the possibility a vulnerability or flaw in the regulation exists is very likely. That’s why security must go beyond compliance to protect an organization from cybercriminals.
The Importance of Compliance Regulations
Compliance regulations are an important part of security and should not be overlooked. Compliance standards help to ensure that IT systems meet certain minimum requirements to protect data, such as using secure passwords, encrypting data in transit, and implementing multi-factor authentication.
Additionally, compliance regulations provide a set of common guidelines for business owners to follow when it comes to IT security best practices, such as regularly patching systems and conducting periodic risk assessments.
However, failure to adhere to compliance regulations can lead to devastating consequences. In some cases, organizations may face considerable fines, loss of reputation, damage to customer trust, and even encounter legal action. For instance, a breach of GDPR results in a fine of “up to 20 million euros, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 4 % of their total global turnover of the preceding fiscal year, whichever is higher.”
Types of Compliance Regulations
There are various compliance standards that businesses must follow, depending on the industry they operate in and the type of data they handle. All of these regulations have their own specific requirements and are designed to keep IT systems secure and protect data. Common security compliance regulations include the following:
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The GDPR is a data privacy regulation that applies to companies located in the European Union (EU) or those who process the personal data of EU citizens. The GDPR requires businesses to protect the personal information of their customers, as well as provide transparency about how they use and store this data.
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
CCPA, inspired by GDPR, is a law that gives consumers the right to know what personal data is being collected about them, how it’s being used, and the ability to opt out of the sale of their data.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
HIPAA is a US law that protects the privacy and security of health data, such as medical records and patient information.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
The PCI DSS is a global standard that applies to any business that processes, stores, or transmits cardholder data. It sets the requirements for IT systems used in payment processing and outlines the necessary security measures to protect customer data.
National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-171 (NIST)
The NIST compliance standard applies to any company that handles controlled unclassified information (CUI) in the U.S. and requires IT systems to have specific security controls in place to protect CUI.
Taking IT Security One Step Further
No matter the industry or data you handle, as a business it’s crucial to abide by compliance standards to ensure maximum efficiency and meet basic security requirements. To more fully protect your business from cybersecurity threats, consider supplementing required compliance regulations with additional IT safeguards.
1. Implement a Security Awareness Program
Staff should be aware of security best practices and be trained on the latest cyber threats. This will help protect against human errors that can lead to data breaches, such as clicking on suspicious emails or using weak passwords.
2. Partner with IT Security Professionals
Working with security experts can help ensure your IT systems are not only compliant but secure. IT professionals can provide guidance on security best practices, audit your IT environment, and set up the necessary safeguards for optimal security.
3. Perform Regular IT Audits
Regular IT audits allow you to assess IT systems and identify any security gaps that could lead to a breach. IT audits also provide insights into potential threats, which can help you take proactive steps to protect your IT infrastructure.
4. Invest in IT Security Solutions
Basic security solutions such as antivirus software, firewalls, and encryption tools typically meet compliance regulations. But more advanced security solutions like threat intelligence and identity access management can provide additional security and help protect your IT environment from evolving cyber threats.
5. Create and Enforce a Cybersecurity Policy
Creating a cybersecurity policy is essential for security and compliance. A comprehensive cybersecurity policy should include guidelines on IT security, data handling protocols, and disciplinary actions in the event of a breach. Staff members should also be aware of and follow the policy.
Exceed Compliance Regulations with we-IT
At we-IT, our IT security can help you exceed compliance regulations and protect your business from cyber threats. From data backup to vulnerability scanning, we provide the IT solutions and expertise you need to keep your data safe.
Our security experts provide personalized IT services and managed IT support to help secure your data, systems, and networks. Contact us today for more information on how we can help keep your IT environment secure.