Have you been told your business needs to comply with certain information privacy and/or security standards, such as PCI, HIPAA, etc.? If so, you may find yourself quickly overwhelmed with all the requirements for bringing people, processes and technology into “compliance.”
Is it really possible to adhere to a compliance standard and at the same time, actively run and grow a business?
Yes, you can…
It is possible—and I will go so far as to say it is critical—to maintain a strong security posture as you build your business. That’s because all privacy and security related compliance standards share the same goal: To effectively defend and protect sensitive customer information.
Just like sales and marketing or finance and accounting, information technology and data security are core business processes. Businesses that deemphasize the sales function will take in less revenue, and those who deemphasize security and compliance will wager long-term success for short-term gains. In other words, each security gap you ignore today puts you at greater risk of a debilitating data breach tomorrow.
…but a unified approach is essential.
By taking a unified approach to security and compliance, your business can simultaneously strengthen its security posture and simplify the compliance process. Here’s how this works in terms of people, processes and technology:
- People: Limiting the number of individuals with access to sensitive customer information, and providing ongoing training and task-appropriate updates to those who do, strengthens security and satisfies multiple compliance-related requirements.
- Processes: The processes by which your organization conducts its day-to-day business should be considered (or re-considered) from a security standpoint. Are core business processes that involve data receipt, transmission and storage accurately documented, fully communicated and followed as prescribed? Security and compliance unite when exceptions and ambiguity are eliminated wherever possible.
- Technology: The secure implementation and management of your business’s IT network—and its individual components—is critical for compliance as well as avoiding technology gaps that can make your business vulnerable. For example, effectively deploying a piece of secure technology such as a Unified Threat Management (UTM) firewall can strengthen your business’s security posture while resolving multiple compliance mandates.
When security and compliance are unified, they work together to protect customer data and satisfy industry-specific requirements. You have the freedom to run and grow your business, along with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re a step ahead of the cyber criminal.
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