Cybersecurity is often implemented as a hurried reaction to a hacking or other IT disaster. But when it comes to regulatory compliance, cybersecurity cannot be an afterthought. For organizations that deal with regulations such as HIPAA and FERPA, regulatory compliance needs to be embedded into IT systems from the very beginning.
Fortunately, managed IT solutions can help with both network security and general cybersecurity to ensure that data privacy and protections are in place.
The Intersection of Cybersecurity and Compliance
The transition from paper records to electronic has been relatively recent for many companies and organizations. When it comes to sensitive areas such as healthcare or education, maintaining security and privacy of patient and student records can become more challenging when digitized.
Regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) require that private information be kept private. The last thing your organization needs is to have a records database hacked and have personal information splayed all over the Internet.
Organizations that fail to properly follow regulations, especially with private data, can face government fines and penalties as well as lost business due to lack of public confidence.
Challenges in the Compliance Landscape
The challenges of maintaining a strong compliance posture are many. First, the landscape is constantly changing. From new laws, to the increasing threat of cyberattacks, companies have a lot to track.
Many organizations are dealing with not just one but a variety of overlapping regulations, which can be confusing. Your educational institution may not only need to deal with FERPA but possibly the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and HIPAA. Anyone taking credit cards needs to be concerned with PCI compliance to ensure credit card transactions are safe and secure. And financial firms need to keep client data private in accordance with GLBA (Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act).
These regulations may have specific requirements about what types of encryption and security systems need to be place. For example, healthcare providers who want to offer telehealth need to use video conferencing solutions that meet minimum HIPAA requirements for security and encryption.
Hacking is Becoming a Bigger and Bigger Problem
The problem is, many organizations, especially those that are cash-strapped, often put cybersecurity on the bottom of the to-do list. At the same time, hackers are becoming more creative, aggressive, and resilient.
A study from Canalys found that more data records were breached in 2020 alone than all the previous 15 years combined. This is not good news. Ransomware in particular is becoming more and more of a problem, which not only compromises records but can completely cripple an organization.
Thus, your organization may have all the “right” compliance systems in place, but if a vulnerability is targeted by a hacker, all of that can go out the window in an instant.
How to Enhance Compliance with Cybersecurity
There are many ways to improve cybersecurity and thus compliance. Here is a basic checklist to get started.
1. Don’t Put it Off
The first order of business is to get started. You may think your business is too small to be a target. Wrong. Hackers target small businesses more and more. You may also think your organization can’t afford good cybersecurity. Don’t make that assumption. You don’t need to hire an expensive in-house cybersecurity expert or a pricy hourly consultant. Managed IT services can provide all the help you need in an affordable monthly rate.
Did you know CDS offers free cybersecurity and compliance assessments? Contact us for details!
2. Take an Inventory and Risk Assessment
Another important step in getting your organization more compliant is to do an accurate and honest assessment of current IT systems. This should include not just your software solutions, including website presence, email systems, and document workflows, but any and all hardware that connects to the Internet.
Printers, for example, are a prime target for hackers as they can be easily hacked in if an open port is left on with net access.
Furthermore, be mindful of easily overlooked security holes, such as employees who take credit card information over the phone and may be jotting it down on a piece of paper or typing it into an insecure document prior to entering it into the official credit card application.
3. Create a Threat Mitigation Plan
A cybersecurity plan needs to be established that takes into account everything that was discovered during the inventory assessment. You will want to prioritize the most critical areas first. Network security may need to be enhanced through proper firewall setup. Old equipment such as printers, switches, or firewalls may need to be upgraded to newer models that offer better security measures.
How Managed IT Can Improve Cybersecurity and Compliance
Managed IT can help your organization become more compliant without a lot of expense and worry. With a team ready to help your organization 24/7, you can be assured that your organization will be prepared for any network security issues, downtime, or cyberattacks.
CDS Office Technologies provides highly secure managed IT solutions for organizations that need robust compliance processes in place. Contact us today for an assessment.