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Best Practices for Cybersecurity Compliance

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Ensuring cybersecurity compliance is challenging. You need to decipher all the regulatory acronyms and understand all the governmental and industry regulatory requirements. You also need to determine which ones apply to your business or organization and then ensure that you conform to all the various regulations. It’s tough to keep up. 

How can you ensure compliance with the dozens of cybersecurity regulations that may affect your organization? It isn’t easy, but here are five best practices you should follow. 

What Is Cybersecurity Compliance?

Cybersecurity compliance involves meeting relevant requirements set by some regulatory body. These requirements can be set by federal or state legislation or regulatory authority, or by relevant industry groups. The regulatory requirements differ by specific industry or sector but most often regard the privacy and security of user data. You may be subject to substantial fines if your business or organization does not meet relevant regulatory requirements. 

Depending on your business and industry, you may need to comply with some or all the following regulations.

HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) regulates the confidentiality and availability of Personal Health Information (PHI). It typically applies to healthcare providers, insurance companies, and other businesses and organizations that handle PHI. 

FINRA

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulates brokerage firms and the security industry. Its regulations ensure that confidential member and firm data is fully protected. 

NYDFS Regulation 23

The NY Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), under Regulation 23, details the requirements and best practices for financial institutions executing effective cybersecurity programs. It applies to banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, insurance providers, and other financial services companies. 

FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulates the privacy of student education records. It applies to all schools, public or private, that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. 

GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to companies operating within the European Union or doing business with EU residents. It regulates the privacy and security of individual user data. 

CCPA

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) stipulates privacy rights for California residents.

CMMC

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) deals with the security of what the government calls controlled unclassified information (CUI). It applies to federal contractors, especially those working with the Department of Defense. 

5 Best Practices to Ensure Cybersecurity Compliance

How can your organization best ensure complete compliance with all applicable government and industry regulations? Here are five best practices you should follow.

1. Educate Your Staff 

The first step to ensure cybersecurity compliance is to fully educate appropriate staff — especially IT staff — on compliance issues. They need to know the requirements — as well as what measures to take — to comply with those regulations. This education should be ongoing as new requirements come into play.

2. Appoint a Chief Information Security Officer

One person in your organization should be responsible for all cybersecurity compliance. Your Chief Information Security Office (CISO) can be a discrete position or a set of duties assumed by your CTO, CIO, or COO. 

3. Identify Which Regulations Apply

With that ever-shifting alphabet of confusing regulatory acronyms, it’s important to determine which ones apply to your business or organization. This requires identifying and classifying the types of data your firm uses and then determining which regulations apply to that data. 

Identifying relevant regulations may not be as clear-cut as you think, however. You may need to bring in an industry expert to help make the final assessment. You do not want to inadvertently or purposefully ignore a regulation that is later determined to be applicable to your business. (And don’t think that California, New York, or European regulations don’t apply to you; if you do any business in those states or countries, you’re on the hook for full compliance.) 

4. Assess Your Compliance Risk

Just as you (hopefully) conduct a regular cybersecurity risk assessment, you should also conduct a compliance risk assessment. This means assessing your regulatory exposure across every department and location you operate. This assessment should dovetail into your cybersecurity risk assessment. You need to know what data you possess, whether it’s subject to regulatory requirements, and whether it meets those requirements. 

5. Execute Essential Cybersecurity Controls

Knowing your regulatory exposure and the risks you face, you need to take all possible steps to comply with relevant regulations and protect your data. This is Cybersecurity 101 and involves a variety of technologies and procedures, including:

  • Employing anti-malware tools
  • Enabling hardware and software firewalls
  • Employing data encryption
  • Using end-to-end encryption for all communications
  • Creating an incident response plan
  • Training employees on cybersecurity and compliance issues

You should be doing all these things anyway to protect your valuable data. Strong cybersecurity will help ensure regulatory compliance, as well. 

Use Wickr to Help Ensure Cybersecurity Compliance

One way to ensure cybersecurity compliance is to employ a secure communications platform. Wickr provides secure text messaging, voice calling, video conferencing, file sharing, and collaboration tools with end-to-end encryption that meets or exceeds all common cybersecurity regulations. Contact us to learn how Wickr can help with cybersecurity compliance and provide a more secure communications environment for your organization.

Contact us today to learn more about how Wickr can help you comply with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and other requirements.

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