Information security compliance for businesses

Establishing information security compliance is really important for all sizes of businesses. To those who have little knowledge on this matter, compliance and cyber security are two different concepts, but they complete each other. Cybersecurity is a system that secures software or hardware infrastructures of businesses. On the other hand, compliance refers to the security guidelines and specifications that apply to all sizes of businesses.

Nowadays, for most businesses establishing cybersecurity compliance is essential because security compliance aims to implement an enhanced cybersecurity system that is aligned with regulations and standards. In most cases where businesses succeed in security compliance, they mitigate the security risks and keep confidential data safe against malicious actors.

To establish information security compliance, a business’s security and compliance teams should work together. Security compliance teams should implement security policies and measures in accordance with regulatory requirements. Additionally, to meet compliance regulations businesses must monitor and document every security policy and measure their security compliance teams put in place. That’s why most businesses consider compliance as a complex process, although it isn’t.

Establishing IT security compliance is easy, especially when a business breaks the compliance process into pieces and applies a step-by-step approach. On the road to accomplishing information security compliance, businesses should really understand which regulations apply to their businesses. Let’s take a closer look at the most important compliance regulations.

Most Significant Compliance Regulations

Today, all sizes of businesses are obligated to safeguard the sensitive data of their customers, employees, partners, and suppliers. Commonly, compliance regulations require businesses to implement specific security policies and measures for safeguarding sensitive data. Although each compliance regulation has its own methods, rules, and guidelines, their common goal is to control how data is governed, and protected by businesses.

Additionally, compliance regulations and standards vary according to industry, and geo-location of businesses. For instance, if a business operates in different countries, this business is obligated to follow the local compliance regulations of each country it operates. That’s why it is important to understand the compliance landscape that applies to your business so that you can avoid penalties and fines coming from regulatory bodies.   

1- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a compliance law that was regulated in 1996. HIPAA applies to all businesses which collect, store and share health-related confidential data in the United States, meaning if your business operates in any location other than the USA, your business isn’t obligated to follow these requirements. HIPAA regulations apply to third-party partners of businesses if they electronically transmit or receive health-related information.

HIPAA requires businesses to follow privacy, security, and data breach notification rules, and HIPAA procedures are needed for both securing health-related information, and applying incident response plans for affected parties. Lastly, HIPAA regulators can apply violation fines that can be up to 1.5 million dollars annually.

2- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to all businesses in Europe. GDPR is a legal framework that provides explicit guidelines and specifications to protect the confidential data of EU-based individuals. GDPR requires businesses to provide explicit terms and conditions to customers about their data collection procedures.

Meeting GDPR requirements can be an indicator of the privacy, and safety of confidential data that your company collects, stores, and shares. Additionally, GDPR obliges businesses to inform affected parties, and individuals when a data breach occurs. Lastly, GDPR regulators can apply penalties and fines up to 20 million euros annually according to the severity of data breaches, or GDPR violations.  

3- Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) aims to control federal systems in the United States. FISMA applies to all federal entities and their business associates in the U.S. The main purpose of FISMA is to protect data related to national security, financial interests, and federal operations against cyber attacks, and mitigate the risks of potential data breaches. FISMA requires businesses and government agencies to implement risk management, threat prevention, security maintenance plans, and monitoring procedures for national-level information systems. 

4-The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)   

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) applies to all companies which have a credit card payment merchant license. PCI-DSS is a non-governmental, global compliance regulation. PCI-DSS requires businesses to comply with twelve information security requirements to secure the credit card information of customers, employees, partners, or suppliers.

Some Information security requirements of PCI-DSS consist of data encryption, firewall configuration, password protection, restricting access to credit card information, and so on. When businesses don’t comply with PCI-DSS standards, regulators apply fines up to 500.000 dollars annually, or in more severe violations regulators can take non-compliant companies’ merchant licenses.

5- ISO/IEC 27001

ISO/IEC 27001 is a global standard that includes requirements for implementing and managing information security management systems (ISMS). ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation of businesses isn’t mandatory, but adherence to ISO/IEC 27001 compliance allows businesses to create resilient and credible cybersecurity management systems. ISO/IEC 27001 certification can be the indicator of data integrity, safety, and confidentiality of customers, employees, and partners.

Last Words

In today’s world, it is crucial for businesses to comply with information security compliance regulations. Unfortunately, non-compliant companies often face severe penalties and monetary fines that come from regulatory bodies. To avoid penalties, and fines, businesses should really understand which compliance regulations apply to their businesses.