The caliber of a company can be determined by how well it demonstrates IT security compliance. This ensures that proper measures are taken to protect everyone’s personal data from online attacks. While most meet the mandatory requirements, changing and expanding demands of cybersecurity make it hard to keep up. Keep reading to find out more about compliance regulations and how your business can take proactive steps to protect your operations and stay ahead of the game.
What Are IT Compliance Regulations?
IT compliance requirements refer to a set of rules that businesses must follow to protect the data that they collect, use, and store within their IT systems. They are typically created by government entities and apply to a wide range of industries, both domestically and internationally. Here are a few examples:
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) 800-171
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Safeguard Rule
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001
How IT Compliance Regulations Affect Your Business
Regardless of the size of your business, you rely on software, hardware, cloud applications, and more to manage your operations. IT compliance regulations impact all of these areas, requiring you to take specific measures to defend against cyberattacks, data breaches, and other security risks.
Many compliance regulations require that crucial physical elements of your IT infrastructure, like your on-premise data center, are physically secure. You may need to restrict access to all but a few individuals or set up surveillance cameras to ensure security.
Your network connects you to the wide, wonderful world of the internet. This presents myriad risks, especially for businesses looking to establish IT compliance. Many IT compliance regulations require that you install comprehensive firewalls to monitor and filter your traffic. If you’re storing data in the cloud, you will likely need to use encryption to protect your information.
Modern businesses rely heavily on software for a variety of critical functions, such as customer-facing applications, internal communication systems, or even accounting programs. These elements need to be updated regularly so that they’re equipped with the latest, most advanced cybersecurity protocols.
Looking to stay safe online? Take a look at some of the tools, statistics, and trends that can help you improve your virtual presence.
What Businesses Need to Have Security Compliance?
Although every firm should take its IT security seriously, different regulations apply to different industries because each handles diverse forms of sensitive data. Here are a few key industries where compliance regulations apply.
Many healthcare organizations handle sensitive health information so that they can provide expert care to their patients. Much of this information—patient names, telephone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, medical records—are referred to as Protected Health Information, or PHI. Healthcare organizations, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and relevant business associates are required to establish comprehensive security measures to protect this data under HIPAA. Failure to maintain compliance can negatively impact patient relationships and result in costly fines, penalties, or jail time.
For companies that work with the government, especially Department of Defense (DoD) contractors and subcontractors, IT compliance is not an option—it’s a requirement. They handle sensitive Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and Federal Contract Information (FCI), so specific measures are required to protect this sensitive information. These requirements fall under CMMC 2.0, which was recently updated. Companies looking to secure DoD contracts must achieve regulatory compliance before they do so.
Legal and Financial
Organizations like law firms and financial institutions deal with a wide variety of sensitive data, including PHI. As a result, they’re often required to maintain HIPAA compliance. These firms are also often required to comply with PCI DSS, since they handle financial information via transactions and cardholder information. Finally, they typically need to abide by the Federal Trade Commission’s Safeguard rule to protect consumers’ personal information.
Educational institutions are typically required to abide by HIPAA and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to protect private student information, including PHI and education reports.
Other Regulatory Standards
Every other business should adhere to basic IT security compliance protocols which safeguard their business, employees, and clients, such as NIST 800-171 or ISO 27001.
By taking proactive safety measures to guard against malicious actors who seek to steal personal information, you help to dissuade further bad entities. Unfortunately, even with these safety measures, many data breaches occur, which makes it even more vital that companies do routine checks on their systems to ensure their security compliance.
How to Ensure Your Data Is Protected
Maintaining regulatory compliance is a very detailed-oriented task. However, that doesn’t mean it needs to cause frustration within your business. Here are a few actionable steps you can take:
- Fully understand relevant regulations: Become familiar with the specific IT compliance regulations relevant to your organization and industry. Take time to research and read up on any changes or updates that may have been made recently.
- Perform a thorough assessment: Assess potential risks of non-compliance by evaluating existing systems, policies, and procedures. Identify any areas that need improvement in order to keep your business compliant. Partner with a reputable cybersecurity expert to ensure your assessment is unbiased.
- Change policies as needed: Update company policies and procedures as necessary in order to meet the requirements for IT compliance regulations. Make sure to clearly communicate all changes with employees so they are aware of the new rules and regulations.
- Provide training: Provide training for employees on the new regulations and how they should be followed. Make sure everyone is clear on what is expected of them in terms of following the regulations, as well as any potential consequences for not doing so.
- Perform regular audits: Cybersecurity requirements are constantly changing in response to emerging threats. Regularly audit your IT systems and procedures to ensure they’re compliant. This will help you identify any potential issues before they become serious problems.
Stay Compliant and Protected With Technology Response Team
Need a reliable, trustworthy partner to guide your business on the path to compliance? Good news, you’re in the right spot. Start a conversation to learn more about TRT and ask about our complete suite of IT services.