Navigating Security & Compliance Frameworks

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Security framework adoption

With what feels like the increasing proliferation of security breaches and a hyper awareness on data usage, more and more organizations, regardless of size or industry, are adopting security frameworks even when not regulated to do so. 

As the number of security breaches continues to rise, as well as the publicity of those breaches, consumers are becoming increasingly mindful of where there data lives, how it is being used, and how it is protected. That means the adoption of frameworks is likely to increase, especially for smaller organizations.

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An Overview of Popular Frameworks and Regulations

Depending on your industry or the types of information your company is handling, some frameworks make more sense than others. Here are just a few.

HITRUST is a certifiable framework that provides organizations with a comprehensive, flexible and efficient approach to regulatory compliance and risk management. Catered towards Healthcare and IT security industries, the HITRUST CSF rationalizes relevant regulations and standards into a single overarching security framework. 

Learn more here.

SOC 2 is an auditing procedure that ensures your service providers securely manage your data to protect the interests of your organization and the privacy of its clients. SOC 2 compliance is a generally accepted minimal requirement when considering a SaaS provider.

Learn more here.

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework consists of standards, guidelines, and best practices to manage cybersecurity-related risk in an effort to promote the protection and resilience of critical infrastructure.

Learn more here.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a federal law that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information such as personal health information (PHI) and electronic personal health information (ePHI).

Learn more here.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards which aims to secure credit and debit card transactions against data theft and fraud. It is a requirement for any business that processes credit or debit card transactions.

Learn more here.

ISO 27001 is a security standard that outlines the suggested requirements for building, monitoring and improving an information security management system (ISMS) to build a set of policies for protecting and managing an enterprise’s sensitive information, financial data, intellectual property, customer details and employee records.

The amount of time and resources a company has to dedicate to become compliant or receive a certification is going to vary on a number of factors, the main one being the status of the organization’s security operations when it starts the journey. Typically these are going to be 6-figure investments and could take anywhere from 6 months to a couple years for the initial certification. Renewals follow each year.

Out of breath? Beginning to Sweat? It’s ok.

The journey to compliance doesn’t have to be hard. The key to making the process simple is to start with the end in mind when it comes to security operations. What are you trying to achieve? Why does it matter? Here’s a hint – it has nothing to do with a certificate you can put on your site.

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Frequently asked security framework questions

Are the Rules & Regulations of Each Standard All the Same?

Each cybersecurity framework was created independently of each other by different groups or organizations. so while the intent of being secure may be functionally the same, the way in which each is measured can be different. That means, while there is certainly overlap in a number of statutes within each framework, there are distinct differences. Just like not all rectangles are squares, compliance in one doesn’t necessarily translate into compliance in another. It’s important to dig deeper into each specifically to understand expectations.

Should I Be Compliant in Every Framework?

It would be admirable to have your operations compliant in every security framework, but it doesn’t mean you are necessarily more secure. In fact, adopting several different frameworks without a specific purpose could result in a fair amount of confusion from your team and leave you with a tremendous amount of documentation with which to keep up. It is a lofty objective but could prove unrealistic and unnecessary when it comes to being your most secure. Remember, the goal shouldn’t be to check the box on a framework but instead focus on being your most secure. That said, to operate in specific industries there may be some requirements.

I’m Compliant/Certified, Now What?

Keep in mind that achieving compliance or becoming certified is less about the moment in time and more about sustainability. These frameworks do a great job of outlining processes and policies, but security is more than just a document. Digital landscapes are evolving and growing quickly, and scalability of enforcement gets increasingly difficult. In order to manage the complexity, it is becoming increasingly critical to simplify security operations so it can grow with you.

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