Compliance regulations are necessary to ensure the trust and security of any program. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, simply referred to as SOX, is a federal law that expanded requirements for all U.S. public companies in robust efforts to increase corporate and auditing accountability, responsibility, and transparency. It was created in reaction to protect the public due to major corporate and accounting scandals, including Enron and Worldcom. As a result, all financial companies had to identify and implement internal controls to ensure the effectiveness of their financial statements and attestations.
So what does compliance mean for cybersecurity in companies?
It means that companies must create an appropriate cybersecurity program for themselves to develop risk-based controls to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of information that is stored, processed, or transferred.
The difficulty of creating the appropriate program lies in the complexity of the company where various regulatory standards, depending on the industry, apply and overlap. For example, if a company is in the healthcare industry and received payment through a point-of-service device such as a barcode scanner or electronic cash registers there are both health and cybersecurity compliance requirements that the company must meet.
So what must you do to create a cybersecurity program within your company? Here are 5 steps:
- Create a compliance team: The team should be able to effectively create interdepartmental workflow among the business and IT departments
- Establish a risk analysis: Identify, assess, and analyze risk, and set a risk tolerance.
- Set cybersecurity controls: Firewalls, encryption, password policies, third-party risk, employee training, insurance are some common controls.
- Create policies: The documentation of compliance activities and controls will serve as a foundation for any internal or external audit necessary.
- Continuously monitor and respond. As cybercriminals are continuously finding new ways to obtain data, there must be continuous monitoring to detect the new threats and respond to them before they materialize into a data breach into your company.
With the everchanging and ever-evolving world, compliance rules are changing as well to meet the needs of trust and security. For cybersecurity, with attacks increasing in both frequency and severity, the sophistication of the attacks being widespread, and the cyber-attack techniques swiftly changing, the government seeks to both enforce cybersecurity compliance requirements and create more stringent policies. Thus, to stay ahead of all the new requirements, it is in the best interest of companies to adopt a “security first” approach.
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