Cybersecurity compliance isn’t something you can accomplish easily. There are an overwhelming number of acronyms, controls, and laws that leave many scratching their head. Compliance requirements vary and can be imposed by law, non-government regulatory bodies, and even private industry groups. Cybersecurity Compliance involves meeting various “conditionals” or controls to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and access of data. Compliance requirements vary by business type, sector, or industry. They typically involve using an array of specific processes and technologies to safeguard and upkeep data. Controls come from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, frameworks like the NIST, and ISO 27001.

While there’s no fits-all-guide, here’s a few things to keep in mind to make Compliance an easier and smoother status to achieve.

Think about the data and infrastructure you work with, and where it comes from.

To begin working towards compliance, it’s important to first figure out what regulations or laws you need to comply with. To start with, every state in the U.S. has data breach notification laws that require you to notify customers in the event that any of their personal information is affected by a data breach. Look up your local state laws to find out specific regulations.

Since compliance requirements vary vastly from state to state, it is important to keep in mind your own states compliance laws. However, some apply regardless of whether your business is located in the state or not. For example, If your business deals with financial information of a resident of California, you would be subject to the set of requirements laid out by The CCPA. This is regardless of which state your business, or data store, is located in.

Compliance for Data type is important as well.

It’s important to determine what type of data you are storing and processing, as well as which states, territories, and countries you are operating in. Specific types of personal information can be subject to additional regulations and standards. PII stands for personally identifiable information, and includes any stored data that could identify an individual. There’s also a special case for PHI. PHI stands for Personal Health Information and is any stored information which can be used to identify an individual or their medical treatment.

Conduct Risk and Vulnerability Assessments

Almost every major cybersecurity compliance requirement requires a risk and vulnerability assessment. These are crucial for determining what your organization’s points of failure in cybersecurity, as well as what controls you already have in place. Consult with a Cybersecurity company or firm to figure out just exactly what you should be doing, or hire one to conduct them for you.

Implement Infrastructure and Devise Policies and Procedures

Your next step should be to begin implementing policies, procedure, and infrastructure based on your risk tolerance and the cybersecurity regulations you are achieving compliance to. Alternatively, you can use a cybersecurity framework as a guideline, then add additional infrastructure to meet compliance conditions. Cybersecurity isn’t just about technology. Having policies and procedures in place to mitigate risk is also crucial for both compliance and safety. You can’t stop every cyberattack, but you can mitigate it.

Find an expert, or employee, to help manage your compliance

You may want to consider consulting with a cybersecurity company or attorney to figure out what compliance requirements may apply to your oragnization. If there’s issues with contracting out, however, any employee with the work ethic and technology background can be appointed to manage cybersecurity as a part time duty. By appointing an individual to be responsible for organizational cybersecurity and compliance you can get regular updates regarding the state of your cybersecurity posture.

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