The sophistication of phishing and hacking has improved with advancements in technology. Under such circumstances, online business owners must adhere to cybersecurity compliance without fail. An online business is at a more significant risk than an offline one as online malicious attacks can disrupt its activities anytime. It will require all sorts of protection, such as email security, phishing protection, ransomware protection, and anti-phishing services to protect the organization. The below information on data breaches in 2020 is something to ponder about

  • Almost 28% of all data breaches were associated with small businesses.
  • Outsiders perpetrated 70% of data breaches.
  • Hacking was the reason for 45% of all the breaches.
  • Of all the breaches, Social Engineering was the method used for 22%.
  • 86% of all breaches were due to financial motivation.
  • It took a month or more for 25% of the data breaches to be discovered.

The data from Statista confirms that the gradual rise and the eventual reduction in the number of data breaches in the United States during the period 2005 to 2020. The reasons for the slight dip may be attributed to better cybersecurity compliance and protective measures.


What Is Cybersecurity Compliance?

Cybersecurity Compliance is a set of rules and regulations that will define the risk-based controls that the online business will have to observe strictly. These controls are based on the three pillars of cybersecurity, namely confidentiality, integrity, and availability or CIA. Cybersecurity compliance is, however, not standalone rules and regulations defining controls. They depend on the industry, and different standards are created based on it. There are specific standards that may overlap, and there are checklists that need to be followed.


What Are The Kinds Of Data That Are Subjected To Cybersecurity Compliance?

The categories of data subject to cybersecurity compliance include:

  • Personal information
  • Personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Personal health information
  • Financial information
  • Data protected under state or national laws


Benefits Of Cybersecurity Compliance

There are manifold benefits of adhering to cybersecurity compliance, as listed below.

  • Setting Access Privileges: First, it defines the roles of each member of the team and the kind of access privilege one gets. It is essential since illegal entry can turn catastrophic for the entire network.
  • Avoiding Financial And Reputational Losses: An online business holds an immense amount of customer information. If there is any malicious intrusion or phishing attempt on the organization, it will prove disastrous for the stakeholders. Losing data often has financial and reputational losses associated with it. Hence, an online business owner must ensure safeguarding all forms of information.
  • Better Customer Trust: There are many more benefits attached to cybersecurity compliance. An organization that protects consumer data earns more trust, based on which one can build a more extensive consumer base.
  • Improving Operational Efficiency: Cybersecurity compliance also adds to operational efficiency since every part of the internal processes is covered through these controls.
  • Protecting Trade Secrets: Other than bolstering the security posture of the organization and following the law of the land, cybersecurity compliance is also helpful when it comes to protecting trade secrets such as business models, intellectual property, and backend codes. These are essential to the business’s survival, and losing them would mean certain doom as they are crucial to give the online business a competitive edge over its rivals. It is also the same information that malicious actors want.


Steps To Create A Cybersecurity Compliance Program

Maintaining a compliance program for an online business involves much dedication and several significant steps, as discussed below.

Step: 1 – Establish A Compliance Team

For businesses of all sizes, a compliance team is a necessity. This team will be responsible for all the compliance-related activities. When organizations begin to move their operations to the cloud, their role becomes all the more critical. They would have to reconfigure and tweak all the controls and create workflows that will enable departments to communicate with each other. The compliance team works in the area where IT and legal aspects overlap. They will be treading both these departments to keep the business ahead of the curve.

Step: 2 – Risk Analysis Procedure

Establishing a risk analysis process is necessary immediately after the compliance team has been created. It involves the following actions.

  • Identification of all assets is vital to risk analysis. Every information system and the network has to be listed as part of the risk analysis plan.
  • Assessment of risk is the second step which will evaluate the risk involved with each asset and grade them accordingly.
  • After assessing the risk and grading it, every known and unknown risk will be analyzed, and preventive measures are undertaken.
  • A risk tolerance level will have to be established, which will act as the threshold beyond which specific response systems have to be built.

Step: 3 – Controls

The setting of controls is based on the risk analysis. Risk analysis will determine the kind of controls established to protect the systems and the network from any malicious entry and access.

The controls can be of many forms, such as:

  • Firewalls
  • Policies that will define entry and access, like passwords
  • Risk Management programs for vendors
  • Awareness programs for employees

Step: 4 – Continuous Monitoring

Whether big or small, every organization will need to have IT security and cybersecurity teams that continuously monitor the systems and network. It is necessary from the cybersecurity point of view. Malicious actors always think one step ahead and lookout for ways to disrupt processes. Not all of them indulge in Zero-Day attacks, but they also watch for old vulnerabilities. With continuous monitoring, such attempts can be thwarted. Any vulnerabilities that may arise can be taken care of through constant surveillance.


Final Words

Cybersecurity compliance is a necessity that must be adhered to by every online business. The US government has mandated government contractors to adhere to SP 800-171. And for defense contractors, it is Defence Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) § 252.204-7012. These are regulatory standards that define the best practices and the risks involved, and their assessments and analysis. It is also necessary for online businesses to train employees on protecting themselves and the organization from malicious attempts like spear-phishing and social engineering.

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