Businesses have been forced to contend with an unfortunate growing fact: a security breach is all but inevitable. Last year, nearly every type of cyberattack—from ransomware to encrypted threats—increased by anywhere from 6% to over 100%. Encrypted threats rank the highest, having shot up by 167% (10.4 million attacks).
Most companies focus on the financial and reputational consequences of a breach. However, a cyberattack can also have legal ramifications that extend far beyond the immediate loss of money.
As more industries embrace digitalization, more sensitive information is moving online—information that is subject to regulations including HIPAA or FedRAMP. If this information is impacted by a security breach, the company processing the information is ultimately liable, opening them up to both financial penalties and legal repercussions. That means not only do companies need a cybersecurity plan, they need a cybersecurity compliance plan to make sure customer data is safely stored within every application.
What is Cybersecurity Compliance?
In order to protect confidential data, companies need to follow certain processes to meet required standards and regulations. These regulations differ depending on where a company is operating, how data is being processed and what type of data is handled, whether it’s individual health information or data from large government entities.
Two of the most common regulatory frameworks include:
- Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA): This set of standards was created to protect the privacy of patients’ sensitive health information. Unfortunately, with the increasing digitalization of patient data and a growing number of security breaches, staying compliant with HIPAA has become more difficult. Consumers are increasingly suing companies for data breaches, with the largest number of lawsuits occurring in the healthcare sector.
- The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP): This is a federal program that outlines the security requirements for government agencies operating in the cloud. If these requirements aren’t met, agencies are subject to potentially hefty fines.
All U.S. states require companies to alert consumers if their personal data is impacted by a breach, but many states have additional compliance requirements. If a company is working with customer data from California, for example, then they have to adhere to the California Consumer Privacy Act, and those that use a point-of-service (POS) device have to adhere to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). And this is far from an exhaustive list. FedRAMP alone comprises more than 14 separate laws and regulations.
Needles to say, when it comes to staying compliant, there can be a lot to keep track of. And that makes planning ahead so important.
How to Build a Strong Cybersecurity Compliance Plan
To start building a strong cybersecurity compliance plan, it’s important to take a step back and determine what type of information your organization oversees that may be subject to regulations. This includes personally identifiable information, such as surnames and social security numbers, as well as financial data and health information.
The next step is assembling a compliance team to create a robust risk assessment plan. They’ll need to identify not just what information is being processed but across what applications. This team will find out where high-risk information is stored and then determine the level of risk using the following formula: Threat x vulnerability x information value.
Next, it’s time to set policies and controls based on the level of risk acceptable for each information asset. It’s important to keep in mind what the ultimate goal is. Does the company plan to transfer, refuse, accept, or mitigate the risk for a certain asset?
It’s also critical to remember that cybersecurity is never static. Threats are continuously evolving, and old tricks fall by the wayside as new threats appear. That means an essential part of any plan is continuously monitoring the application infrastructure for threats and updating cybersecurity policies accordingly.
Finding the Right Compliance Partner
Obtaining cybersecurity compliance is a large undertaking, a process that is never fully finished. However, the good news is that no company has to tackle cybersecurity compliance alone.
Before building a cybersecurity compliance plan, it’s worth evaluating whether a third-party vendor can help. For example, if an organization uses Atlassian applications, a partner like Contegix can create customized FedRAMP-compliant processes depending on the impact level desired.
In fact, Contegix has the tools and knowledge to guide companies through staying compliant with a whole range of standards, including PCI DSS and HIPAA. Contegix’s team can take the guesswork out of evaluating risk and be the strategic partner needed to put the right policies and security controls in place.
Cybersecurity is complicated—as is staying compliant. But companies can get ahead of the cyberattacks with planning ahead and the right help.
Learn more about how Contegix can help create a robust cybersecurity compliance plan.