Information security is critical for businesses in every industry. A lack of proper software and policies can compromise sensitive customer information, lead to costly fines and significant reputational losses. Many small companies never recover from such a hit. It is for this reason that governments and regulatory agencies put rules in place.
While it is easy to see these regulations as hindrances, the reality is they do more good than bad. For example, they provide a baseline for businesses, automatically boosting security measures. A natural side effect of better protections is healthier control over employees and systems, limiting the possibility of mistakes and breaches. The minimization of potential losses is perhaps the most significant for business owners. An intrusion into an organization’s network can wreak havoc, causing lost revenue in downtime, fines for not following regulations, and the overall recovery cost.
The more data is stored and shared, the more significant role IT compliance plays. Today’s businesses must be aware of the regulations that affect them and ensure they are followed. A robust strategy and comprehensive solutions are essential to protect against threats to compliance.
Let’s look at five areas where companies tend to struggle to adhere to regulations and industry guidelines.
The sudden switch to remote led to many employees using personal devices for work. Chances are, the staff doesn’t have a secure network like the business, nor do they have the software in place that protects communications. BYOD cannot be left unchecked. Avoid potential issues by implementing strict BYOD policies that include a VPN, password management, and encryption. Also include mobile device management. This allows the IT team to secure and enforce policies on an employee’s device.
Internet of Things has become a regular staple of most workplaces. Unfortunately, IoT security standards took far too long to develop. The more endpoints, the more vulnerabilities. For this reason, organizations should schedule penetration testing and audit whether devices are unsafe or have the potential to compromise compliance policies. Audit anything that collects data. It is also a good idea to separate IoT devices on the network to limit sensitive data access. This ensures that if a hacker gains access to the system via IoT, they will not have unbridled access to everything.
HIPAA & HITECH
Health care providers, insurers, and employers that provide health insurance must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires data to be digitized and meet specific privacy and security standards. For example, businesses must limit who has access to PHI (Protected Health Information). The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) expanded upon HIPAA. HITECH added the required use of electronic health records (EHR). Perhaps most impressive, it outlines penalties of up to $250,000 for the first noncompliance infraction. Not taking these acts seriously can have serious repercussions.
PCI (Payment Card Industry)
Being PCI compliant is against card brand regulations and is extremely important in keeping malicious actors from stealing customer card information. The PCI certificate shows that an organization has been through extensive training to secure data when a customer pays with a credit card. Like IoT devices, network segmentation can significantly decrease the possibility of sensitive information being stolen and shared. Separating cardholder data from the rest of the network can also limit the scope of a PCI DSS audit.
DLP (Data Loss Prevention)
There is so much emphasis put on safeguarding the perimeter and limiting the likelihood of a breach that often businesses forget to build provisions for if (and when) a hacker does gain access to the network. A single breach could expose every single piece of information a company holds on its network. Limit potential losses by restricting employee access so that they only have access to the data they need. Network segmentation and categorizing information is essential here as well. DLP minimizes the attack surface, so few records will be exposed instead of the entire network if there is an attack.
Where There is Data, There Must Be Security
Failing to comply with regulations can compromise customer data and be the downfall of a business. After a breach, it is challenging to recover financially and build trust among clientele again. In a world where cyberattacks happen daily, it would be irresponsible not to take every action possible to prevent such situations.
Keeping a business secure and compliant can be a daunting task. The good news is you don’t have to go it alone. Let the experts help your organization build policies specific to you and implement software that creates a safer cyber-environment.
Netzbahn has your back. Contact us at 920-297-5000 to learn more about what we can do to ensure your company has the right security measures in place to maintain compliance.