Cybersecurity Compliance

Cybersecurity Compliance: What It Is, and Why It Is Important

A complex set of legal regulations globally governs cybersecurity and data protection. Every country has a different set of privacy, data protection and cybersecurity compliance laws that companies must adhere to reduce risks, or they can face severe financial and legal consequences. According to this IBM report, companies are paying more than the global average for data breaches in Canada. 

Within the March 2021-March 2022 period, 25 Canadian companies paid an average of $7 million in recovery costs per incident, compared to the global average of $5.5 million. Companies need to understand security compliance and monitor and assess their systems, devices, and networks regularly to ensure that they meet cybersecurity compliance requirements and protect their data. Organizations, especially those highly regulated, such as healthcare, legal, and financial verticals, must stay updated with any changes to regulations and the constantly evolving threats and vulnerabilities. This can be especially difficult for companies with complex infrastructures or large and spread-out teams.

Below are the top 4 challenges that companies face when it comes to cybersecurity compliance:

1. Constantly Evolving Threats

The threat landscape in Canada and worldwide continues to grow at unprecedented rates. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated and coming up with new types of attacks. Moreover, the frequency of these attacks is increasing, as cybercrime is more lucrative than ever before. To match these threats, companies must remain vigilant in implementing controls and taking care of vulnerabilities to protect themselves.

2. Complex and Diverse IT Environments

Cybercrime is constantly evolving, and today’s IT environments are always changing. The Covid-19 pandemic pressed many companies into embracing fully remote or hybrid workforces, and more and more companies are moving their applications and data to the cloud. Companies are also adopting more and more 3rd party applications to help streamline productivity, automate processes, and communicate remotely. While these changes benefit the end user, they can also increase the complexity of the IT environment, making it harder to monitor, secure and meet cybersecurity compliance requirements.

3. IT Skill Gaps

Many companies cannot afford to hire a broad and varied set of skills in-house and often have IT teams of only 1-5 members. Unfortunately, having a diverse skill set that includes expertise in regulations, including cyber threats, processes, controls, and cybersecurity technologies, are not viable for most small businesses. However, without this expertise, it is difficult to properly assess, monitor and mitigate security risks within an organization.

In today’s threat landscape, endpoint devices pose a serious risk to businesses of all sizes. They can quickly become infected with malware, are difficult to update, and have access to sensitive company data once connected to the network. Yet, protecting the endpoint has never been more challenging. Due to the nature of hybrid workplace models, more devices are being used, and the potential attack surface of companies is growing exponentially.

4. Meeting Different Regulations

While small companies may struggle with skill gaps in their IT department, global companies with multiple locations face another challenge: meeting compliance requirements across different countries, states, or provinces. In Canada, PIPEDA applies to most provinces, except Alberta, Quebec, and British Columbia, which have similar PI protection acts. The United States, however, has no single principal data protection law, and its rules can vary heavily from state to state. Companies that operate in Europe will have to follow the GDPR. Moreover, every industry must meet a variety of different standards as well. For example, healthcare services organizations must comply with HIPAA. But, if these same organizations accept payments through point-of-service (POS) devices, they must also meet PCI DSS requirements. The number of different compliance regulations that organizations must meet can be a complicated challenge for meeting cybersecurity compliance.

Managed security services like Gibraltar Solutions can help companies develop a security compliance plan and maintain a strong security posture. Keeping good data management practices, encrypting and storing sensitive data, and having a backup plan in case of a breach are all part of maintaining a high level of cybersecurity compliance. According to Ponemon’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach report, organizations with many compliance failures paid an average of $2.3 million more for a data breach than those with compliance regulations. This is because the cost of the data breach includes fines, penalties, and lawsuits along with the cost of the data breach. For example, Uber was hit with a $148 million fine, and Equifax paid $575 million for a 2017 breach. 

Conclusion

The best way to reduce the potential costs, reputational damage, and legal penalties of a breach is to adhere to cybersecurity compliance requirements and maintain a robust security posture that can match your organization’s needs. In most cases, security compliance guidelines should be considered the minimum level of security. The standards presented in compliance guidelines are a great starting point for security but do not necessarily cover all possible threats and attacks each organization faces. What may not be considered a danger for some organizations could be much more dangerous for a different one. In most cases, companies should do more than meet compliance guidelines to fully protect their data and networks. It is ultimately up to each organization to analyze and implement the level of security that meets the needs of their business and clients.

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