Cyber security compliance is overwhelming, especially for smaller companies where a couple of team members try to figure out how to comply. It’s even worse if you serve in different countries as most of them have varying standards.
There are two main steps to complete; you have to ensure you’re within the regulatory boundaries, and you also need to eliminate any cyber security weaknesses your product might have.
If you also feel lost among all these challenging processes, this article will provide you with a quick, easy guideline to follow for cyber security compliance.
What is Cyber Security Compliance?
In essence, cyber security compliance means that a company operating on the internet meets the cyber security requirements defined by governments. Cybersecurity compliance standards may vary depending on the country in which they operate.
Cyber security compliance mandates companies to draw boundaries and inform their customers about using, storing, and sharing their data. The second step to ensure full compliance is eliminating the vulnerabilities on your network to prevent any potential cyberattack.
Compliant companies also have to implement certain technologies to safeguard data confidentiality and availability. These technologies are used for both pre-breach precautions and after-breach responses. Some of these tools can be firewalls, VPNs, SSL certificates, or advanced data protection solutions.
Companies that don’t comply with such requirements are under the risk of facing serious lawsuits by the government or their customers in case of a data breach. Non-compliant companies also look less reliable to the users and they usually fall behind their compliant competitors.
Steps for a Comprehensive Cyber Security Compliance Program
1-) Categorize the Sensitive Data and Learn About Requirements
The first thing to do is learn about the type of data you store and use, and the requirements of the country.
Each government, even local authorities such as states, has various standards. You can learn yours from NCSL’s state-based guide if you operate in the US.
Next, you need to specify the personal data you process. These can be personally identifiable information such as ID number, first and last name, or address. You may also be using highly confidential medical information.
2-) Schedule Tests for Weaknesses and Risks
After understanding the boundaries set by authorities, you need to schedule risk and vulnerability assessment tests in your infrastructure to see potential threats.
Inform your IT security team about the regulations, make them conduct penetration tests to reveal the weaknesses of your network. These tests will uncover the parts you need to bolster up, and they will be incredibly helpful in your compliance program.
3-) Specify Policies, Procedures & Operations
After you learn about the standards you have to comply with and conduct vulnerability checks, you need to specify the policies and operations about cybersecurity.
Remember that the compliance requirements might change as well as the durability of your cybersecurity system. If you want to keep up with them, you need to have continuing operations done by an IT security team.
Lastly, make sure you have certain policies and procedures to eliminate any employee-related personal data misuse. Restricting access and adopting a least-privilege approach for the network might be a good idea for this.
Why is Cyber Security Compliance Crucial?
If you have a company with an online presence collecting customer data, you need to be aware of the cyber threats.
First of all, explaining to your customers how you process their personal information is legally enforced in most countries. Secondly, there are certain security standards you need to abide by to prevent legal issues.
The worst things a non-compliant company is threatened by are lawsuits with significant penalties and plummeting brand recognition due to personal data breaches.
Keep in mind that your customers may also suffer from ID theft, stolen credit cards, and other inconveniences.
Cyber security compliance is legally binding for most web-based businesses worldwide. You need to be careful to comply with the security standards of your local authority when storing and using customer data.
Understanding the requirements and repeatedly testing your cyber security infrastructure for vulnerabilities is crucial to set up effective policies and safeguard data. If you don’t know how to exactly create a cyber security compliance program, follow the steps above.