Running an effective IT security and privacy program requires teams to keep track of a huge number of details. Where and when does software need to be updated and patched? What data is the organization collecting from its customers, and how is this information being protected? Which employees have completed cybersecurity training and when do curricula need to be updated? The list goes on.
Thanks to increasingly complex threat environments and company IT footprints, this checklist is getting more extensive and harder to keep up with by the day. What’s more, investors and regulators want proof of a company’s cybersecurity and privacy credentials, often in great detail.
Failure to comply just amplifies the costs when things go wrong. According to IBM’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach report, lack of IT compliance increased the average cost of a data breach 51.1%, to $5.56 million. Companies also lose money when they lack the security certifications needed for a contract or bid.
In short, the worlds of cybersecurity and compliance have converged, and they're more important to the bottom line than ever. Read on to discover the drivers behind this trend, and to learn how a robust IT compliance program can help your company wrangle the details.
GDPR Was Just the Beginning
In 2016, the EU adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which became an official requirement in 2018. Remember the vast amount of time, money and resources companies invested in order to adapt and comply?
Get ready for a lot more. As just one example of new cybersecurity-related regulations on the horizon, proposed requirements by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — expected to be codified into law any day — will require:
- A written cybersecurity program describing an organization’s actions to protect information
- Notification within four days of cybersecurity incidents deemed to be material — either on their own or when aggregated with other subsequent and similar cyber incidents
- Public filings and other reporting on what management is doing to implement security procedures and serve in an oversight role
Lax Certifications Leave Money on the Table
In another response to escalating cyber threats and consequences, security certifications have become more of a business essential than ever, providing customers, partners and investors with third-party proof of sound data protection and privacy practices.
Some of the more common acronyms — each involving a wealth of complexity and detail — include:
- ISO 27001 — the international standard for managing information security risks, such as cyberattacks, hacks, data leaks or theft
- Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)
- SOC 2 for data storage
- HIPAA and HITRUST for healthcare
- PCI-DSS for financial services
Shareholders and prospects are also looking at the credentials of individual staff. This puts the pressure on companies to help employees become Certified Cloud Security Professionals or Integrators, earn (ISC2) CISSP certifications, and gain credentials from the Cloud Security Alliance, CompTIA and the Cloud Credential Counsel.
RFPs, government procurement offices and contract renewals may require certifications with a specific cloud provider, like AWS or Microsoft Azure, as well.
It's all challenging to keep up with and time-consuming to manage. But if an organization can’t deliver the certifications their customers demand and their industry requires, they may miss out on significant revenue opportunities.
Robust IT Compliance Puts You in Control
Where does your company stand in each of these areas? If you’re using disconnected manual processes, you won’t be able to answer this question in a timely manner. And without a plan in place for achieving visibility, even as the landscape changes, you’ll waste time and resources trying to keep up.
To bring order to the chaos, organizations need to take control, and here’s where a robust IT compliance program comes in. What does such an initiative look like? Think of an IT compliance program like a four-legged stool, enabling your company to:
See what’s going on: Better decision-making starts with visibility of relevant regulations, company operations and how the two match up. Ideally this view is grounded in data and delivered in real time to leadership in a streamlined fashion, making their job of strategy and oversight easier.
Do more, faster: Improved efficiency is another cornerstone of IT compliance. In an area with myriad manual andrepetitive tasks, automated workflows can save invaluable buckets of time, freeing up labor and resources for more strategic initiatives. So can a common controls framework (CCF). As the name implies, a CCF helps organizations “kill several compliance birds with one stone” by identifying what various policies have in common and bringing the overlap together into a streamlined framework. This empowers organizations to build a process, application form or report once, then reuse it as similar requirements emerge.
Stay accountable: Externally, auditors want to see accurate records that align with regulatory requirements. Internally, leadership and finance want a view into IT resources against risk and ROI. A robust IT compliance program can help you deliver both accurate and timely data.
Seize opportunity: As more customers seek companies with individual and firm-wide security and privacy certifications, a robust IT compliance program can help you sharpen your competitive edge in this area, wrangling the details as to the latest in-demand standards and how your operations are measuring up.
The Right Technology Can Help
Technology solutions can help turn these words into actions for your enterprise. Such applications can bring ease to cumbersome IT compliance processes and build confidence that your company is checking the right boxes at the right times, even as these checklists grow and change.
- A centralized platform that scales with your needs
- Automated workflows and processes
- The ability to apply a common controls framework for security certifications, and reuse controls multiple times after they’ve been built
- Dashboards that offer executive leadership deep visibility into systems, certifications and gaps
Diligent IT Compliance was designed with today’s challenges and an evolving regulatory landscape in mind. To learn more about what it can do for your organization, request a demo today.