Cybersecurity Compliance: The Regulations You Need to Follow
Abiding by compliance is the most straightforward way to boost cybersecurity. Regulations include the NIST, CMMC, SOC-2, and more — here's what they all are.
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Abiding by compliance is the most straightforward and influential way to boost cybersecurity among countless strategies. Numerous security frameworks exist to guide different sectors with varying objectives in their unique digital environments to protect against cyber threats and secure personal information.
What does each compliance framework offer, and do you need all of them to stay safe in technological spaces?
NIST Cybersecurity Framework
NIST guidelines address gaps and administer regulations for the most healthy cybersecurity practices. It is regarded as one of the most well-known and comprehensive frameworks — analysts and software makers alike can benefit from NIST. It analyzes all sectors, from hospitality to auto manufacturing, and provides custom feedback for bolstering cybersecurity defenses by following five core ideals:
Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)
What was once the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement is transforming into the CMMC framework. Its goal is to expand upon its predecessor but make compliance stricter and more holistic. It is currently in development, resting in Version 2.0, but it is ready to begin administering assessments.
This compliance is essential for entities seeking government contracts with the Department of Defense. It tests foundational cybersecurity understanding via third-party assessment and self-evaluation and examines how well businesses know the protocols to work with secure government data. CMMC doesn’t test an enterprise’s cybersecurity outfit but focuses on knowledge and finding trustworthy business partners.
System and Organization Controls Level 2 (SOC-2)
Multiple SOC compliances exist, but SOC-2 is the most crucial for cybersecurity professionals. SOC-2 is administered by the American Institute of CPAs, which ensures companies gathering copious amounts of consumer data use it properly and can react appropriately in response to threats like data breaches.
It’s optional, but it provides a competitive advantage for service organizations. Because it requires a third-party audit, bidding for contracts or clients is more effortless. A company can prove cybersecurity strategies are established and verified by some of that nation’s top cybersecurity consultants.
HIPAA and HITRUST
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) compliances differ. However, both are necessary for the healthcare industry and related affiliates. HIPAA is exclusive to the United States, and HITRUST is international.
Though both outline ways for companies to secure, store, transfer, and obtain protected health information, HITRUST expands outside listing cybersecurity measures by offering resources. They offer a framework, plus an updated list of emerging threats and training programs with feedback so enterprises can invest in their cybersecurity literacy.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The GDPR is the security and privacy law governing countries in the European Union and any business dealing with EU citizen data. Alongside transparency and data minimization, its priorities encompass the following:
- Storage limitation
- Confidentiality accountability
The exhaustive law covers how entities should protect everything from employee information to international financial transfers. Not following the GDPR could result in fines — sometimes up to €20 million.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation — Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC-CIP)
Infrastructure in North America is seeing a rise in malicious activity. Cyberthreats put these vital resources at risk if you’re developing software for power companies or are a stakeholder in a local utility organization.
NERC-CIP encourages utility companies to take ownership of their protection by receiving training internally and throughout the supply chain. NERC-CIP also analyzes vulnerabilities to provide improvement assessments.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
ISO and IEC are arguably the world’s most powerful cybersecurity standards because it is consensus-based. Every member of ISO and IEC votes to create a framework that promotes easily translatable guidelines for proper cybersecurity usage — though their scope is far more expansive.
ISO 27001 and 27002 are the most influential in the cybersecurity world. They evaluate an entity’s risk and practices and how well they’ve created an information security management system. Compliance requires extensive evaluation time and maintains frequent audits. The goal is to analyze a company’s cybersecurity strength and adjust for cost-effectiveness and consistency.
They have over 60 standards, each related to a different facet of cybersecurity. Here are some of the notable ones:
- 22301: Asserts business continuity plans.
- 27018: Addresses cloud computing.
- 27031: Guides IT disaster recovery.
- 27032: Reviews cyber threat protections.
- 27040: Enforces storage security.
What Cybersecurity Compliance Do You Need?
The most significant divisions between different cybersecurity compliances are intent and industry. Only some outfits will need HIPAA compliance, but abiding by ISO standards is widely applicable. No matter what compliance you adopt within your organization, it will certainly increase your understanding of the cybersecurity landscape and provide more tools to fill in gaps in your cybersecurity risk management.
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