What is compliance in cybersecurity?

Compliance in cybersecurity

In a simple term, compliance in cybersecurity is adhering to protocols and regulations that binds the safety of data privacy.

Organizations either large or small are to follow these set of guidelines, regulations or even protocols that have been instituted by governing bodies locally or internationally.

Compliance in cybersecurity is not limited to tech companies or companies that build infrastructures, it’s an essential for every organization that deals with transferring data and information.

A breach of data from any organization can become a threat to the nation or even other companies and these would even be a worse case for organizations that do not prioritize compliance in cybersecurity.

Why is compliance important in cybersecurity?

In 2021, 533 million Facebook user’s data were leaked and security researchers said the data can be used to impersonate and commit fraud. That same year, Facebook reported that they have spent $13 billion and also employed 40,000 safety and security employees.

What does this mean?

It simply means if a behemoth company that understands the need of cybersecurity can be a victim of data breach, what about businesses that are playing deaf ears to this?

Some of the importance of compliance in cybersecurity are listed below:

  • Protection of sensitive data: Compliance in cybersecurity ensures data networks, infra, collection, and sharing are secured. It can even go as far as encrypting sensitive data in order to add an extra layer of security. Organizations are freely connected to stakeholder’s or investor’s sensitive information which when released to malicious actors can be used to perpetrate damages to such individuals or anything attached to them.
  • Meeting up with regulatory demands: Every industry is regulated by a body, this body gives certain protocols and procedures to ensure legitimate business, trustworthy owners and also ensure safety of clients. For example, NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology provides cybersecurity guidelines for organizations worldwide. Organizations that don’t meet up with these requirements or are not in compliance are in the danger of being a victim and not only that but paying heavy fines.
  • Minimizing risks with cyber threats: As long as you deal with data, you can be a victim of cyber attacks. Compliance in cybersecurity gives you an edge over basic security loopholes and also shows you what to do in the midst of  a threat. 
  • To maintain investor’s/customer’s trust: 

It is not enough to run a legal business (maybe investors have gone through your KYB procedures). A data security conscious business/organization will be the priority of any investor and mind you, businesses are shifting into the remote cycle, the first question customers or investors will ask is how secure is my information.

What are Cybersecurity Frameworks?

Cybersecurity Framework is a set of standards that help organizations and businesses understand their security posture. The framework offers guidelines for businesses to create their own due diligence process for staying secure with customer’s data.

Here are some common cybersecurity frameworks:

NIST Cybersecurity framework

The NIST framework is presently the most common framework to set up cybersecurity guidelines and procedures for organizations. It groups all cybersecurity activities into 5 functions which are:

Identify – What processes and assets need protection

Protect – Implement appropriate safeguards to ensure protection of the enterprise’s assets.

Detect – Implement appropriate mechanisms to identify the occurrence of cybersecurity incidents 

Respond – Develop techniques to contain the impact of cybersecurity incidents

Recover – implement the appropriate processes to restore capabilities and service impaired due to cybersecurity events.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR is a compulsory framework for businesses either large or small scale that offer services to individuals that are located in the EU or in the European Economic Area. Whether their data is processed online or offline, businesses in this category must adhere to the regulations.

GDPR ensures that organizations don’t carelessly collect private information from users but ensure they give a detailed explanation of how the information is processed, why the information is collected and also require legal claims to back their reasons.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

People through health care services can also fall victim to identity theft. For this case, frameworks like HIPAA are put in place to help health care providers implement guidelines or procedures to secure patient’s data. Especially in these days of electronic devices produced by diverse manufacturers, HIPAA helps these organizations put in check protection of privacy and also maintain integrity.

How to achieve compliance in cybersecurity?

To stay compliant in cybersecurity, there are necessary strategies that your organization must put in place which must be adhered to and also as the cyberspace evolves, you must be ready to adapt fast with the changes. 

Below are some methods to achieve compliance in cybersecurity:

  • Understand and follow applicable regulations closely: Each industry has their own regulations, you wouldn’t compare a healthcare organization to a payment processing platform. Each framework or regulation must be reviewed and implemented, you can beckon experts to help with this process, this will give your security structure the right posture.
  • Analyze your compliance structure: This would fish out security gaps or loopholes you have not solidly paid attention to. Also to help, you can compare with similar organizations too. This will also showcase where you need improvement and what strategies can be applied to fill in the gap.
  • Consistent review of security compliance: Your security compliance review shouldn’t be a one time game, it should be done consistently to ensure  your measures for cybersecurity are still in check. Also, this process can be automated through Security Information and Event Management tools.
  • Provide cybersecurity training and awareness: This should be at the grassroot of your strategy to stay compliance in cybersecurity. You need to educate your workforce on the best practices of cybersecurity, how to stay compliant, etc. Intermittent training should be made available to employees handling sensitive data so as to evolve with cyberspace.

In Conclusion

Every day, malicious actors are looking for the next vulnerable business to attack, so diverse methods are being deployed every minute. Businesses will always fall victim since human weaknesses cannot be eradicated from staying secured, this is where compliance in cybersecurity  comes in. What compliance does is to check how well you can guarantee your security and also help you to be vigilant with how you can ensure safety with client’s personal information.


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