Do you love flossing your teeth every night? Probably not. Do you appreciate avoiding pain, health problems, and hefty dental bills? Yes. As the expression goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Following cybersecurity compliance standards now helps you dodge a host of problems later. Read on to learn cybersecurity compliance standards, why they matter, how to become compliant, and frameworks to guide you.

What is cybersecurity compliance?

According to CompTIA, cybersecurity compliance follows the cybersecurity standards and regulations that an agency, law, or authority group implements. Organizations must protect their organizations through risk-based controls to achieve compliance. The goal is to protect information confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA).

Most cybersecurity and data protection laws focus on sensitive data. This includes personally identifiable information (PII), financial information, and protected health data. Other sensitive information includes race, religion, IP addresses, email addresses, and biometric data like facial recognition.

A few cybersecurity compliance examples are:

  • Encryption

  • Network firewalls

  • Password policies

  • Cyber insurance

  • Employee training

  • Incident response plans

Why is cybersecurity compliance important?

No organization is 100% immune to a cybersecurity attack. Therefore, following cybersecurity compliance regulations is in every organization's best interest. You may think only larger businesses should, but it's also necessary for SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses). SMBs are lower-hanging fruit for hackers. Small and growing organizations have numerous conflicting needs, and cybersecurity may not be a top priority. Therefore, they're often more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks.

A cybersecurity breach may cause debilitating problems for an organization. It can upend systems, cause productivity loss, and make confidential information accessible to suspicious parties. According to CSO Online, the average cost of a data breach globally was $4.45 million in 2023. This is a nearly 17% increase from the previous three years combined.

One of the most significant costs doesn't have a dollar amount: losing customer trust. No customer will want to do business with an organization that exposes their proprietary information. It could mean losing intellectual property like an organization's patents, copyrights, and engineering designs. People could perceive a data breach as a failure to provide adequate security and privacy protection. Consequences include reputational damage, lost business, and lost revenue.

Following cybersecurity compliance regulations is a way to avoid these disasters. They provide a robust security infrastructure and best practices to manage and mitigate cybersecurity risks. Cybersecurity compliance helps you identify and prepare for potential data breaches. They also protect your reputation, maintain client trust, and build customer loyalty.

How do I get cybersecurity compliance?

One way to start with your compliance program is through an audit. An audit means evaluating an organization's:

  • Financial records

  • Internal controls

  • Operations

  • Data security

  • Workplace Safety

  • Ethical standards

Begin with a risk assessment analysis to identify the present risks and the potential costs of non-compliance. Next, create and document compliance policies and procedures that coincide with industry standards and regulations. Hold compliance requirements training sessions for your employees and make sure they're aware of updates. Implement monitoring and reporting channels and ensure there are ways for employees to report compliance violations.

Create a clear incident response plan to establish protocols for a data breach. This means identifying the attack, informing all stakeholders, containing the threat, and conducting a post-incident analysis. Remember to test and update the incident response plan.

Codify your compliance policies. Establish the steps in a compliance audit and mark whether you've completed them. For example, SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls) has guidelines for how service organizations should manage customer data. Check out this SOC-2 Cybersecurity Compliance Checklist to keep you organized and ensure you're on track.

What is a cybersecurity compliance framework?

One way to adhere to cybersecurity compliance standards is to use frameworks. Frameworks set a course for defining and following industry-specific requirements, solving information security problems, and implementing security controls.

A few notable security frameworks are:

1. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework. NIST's framework is a voluntary set of security standards and best practices to protect your information, networks, and users. Its five principles are Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. This cybersecurity compliance framework aims to provide a common understanding of cybersecurity and detect vulnerabilities early.

2. CIS Critical Security Controls. A global IT community has prioritized these controls. They apply to both the private and public sectors. The CIS Controls are high-priority defensive actions for effective cybersecurity. They define a starting point for their cyber defenses, get quick wins, and then focus on organization-specific risks.

3. The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification 2.0 (CMMC). This model shows how advanced your cybersecurity program is. If you're at Level 1, you only have basic cyber hygiene practices and have some work to do! Level 2 means good cyber hygiene, and Level 3 means advanced or progressive cyber hygiene.

Cybersecurity Compliance Minimizes Interruptions and Maximizes Trust

Cybersecurity compliance standards provide necessary security measures for cyber threats. It helps you protect sensitive data, avoid financial losses, and keep your organization running well. Customers will be glad to know your organization has done everything possible to protect its information.

Becoming cybersecurity compliant doesn't have to be a lengthy, bureaucratic process. We at Trava help take the complexity out of achieving cybersecurity compliance, so please don't hesitate to schedule a call.