Jun 30, 2020

Building an Efficient Security Compliance Strategy. Part 1: Challenges and Errors

As the world is going digital, businesses face more stress while protecting their assets from cyber threats. Not only building a reliable and robust IT security compliance strategy is a challenge - companies need to align with the constantly evolving regulations and standards as well.
Compliance strategy

Today organizations face an evolving array of security threats and continually changing compliance requirements. As the business grows, privacy and security concerns only multiply and add to a dynamic set of priorities.

In IT security, organizations seek compliance not only because of the need to have security certifications formally but also to reduce security liabilities and protect digital assets from a continuously growing number of cyber threats.

Let’s take a look at common challenges and mistakes companies may face when enforcing and maintaining their security compliance strategies.

The TOP-5 Challenges of Creating a Cybersecurity Strategy

1. Geopolitical & local regulations

The focus has shifted from globalization back to nationalism and affected the policy and regulations aspects, too. Today companies should align with regulations taking into account industries and locations where they are doing business. Some certifications are a must if you’re doing business in certain countries (e.g., IT-Grundschutz for Germany), while others may require you to align with entirely different standards. For example, in terms of data protection and privacy, GDPR is a must for organizations located in Europe and those working with the European companies. If you target the U.S. market, you need to get CCPA certified.

2. Crisis and force-majeure

As the current crisis has demonstrated, not all businesses were ready to face the pandemics and take proper actions to mitigate its influence in terms of security, data privacy, and business continuity. Shifting to the work-from-home mode has posed severe obstacles for many organizations to ensure secure connections and networking for their employees, avoiding data breaches.

3. Governance and involvement

Compliance requires full company engagement into the process, so that everybody, from top management to trainees, put efforts together to maintain and follow reliable and robust security policies.

While company decision-makers should support and enforce regulations, they need to be involved in security decisions, understand risks, and allocate the proper budget for adequate resources and tools in support of safeguard implementation efforts.

4. Quick adaptation to changing patterns

Regulators expect businesses to have a highly broad view of operational resilience by both controlling the operational risks and managing the disruptions. Therefore, they need to have a comprehensive approach, including inventory, risk analysis, and continuity planning.

5. Growing frequency of cybercrimes

As the beneficial side of technology is undeniable for the companies to deliver better service and value to their customers, it is also giving way to cybercrimes and fraud.

In 2020, personal data was twice as much involved in security breaches (58% of total), while 86% of breaches were financially motivated (Verizon 2020 Data Breach Investigation Report). Three leading causes of data breaches are credential theft, social attacks (i.e., phishing and business email compromise), and software defects. So, for most organizations, these three areas should be the focus of the bulk of security efforts.

Three Common Mistakes in Building a Security Compliance Strategy

Here are the most common mistakes when striving to align with regulations and international standards.

Mistake: Failing to scale a global compliance strategy

While every global company has a compliance strategy, very few think about integrating these strategies to support operational efficiency and profitability.

Solution: Take a proactive and holistic approach to build an Information Security Management System (ISMS) in the organization by including not only technological aspects of security but also accounting for the people and the working environment. This approach will enforce companies to make their security system more comprehensive.

Mistake: Poor Due Diligence on Vendors

Proper diligence of your business partners, third-party vendors, and service providers is another critical part of maintaining your security compliance strategy.

Solution: Ensure proper third-party risk management with your vendors and outsourcers by creating an adequate TPRM (third-party risk management framework).

Mistake: Siloed Data, Siloed Teams and Old Technologies

One of the most common mistakes is keeping compliance efforts siloed across different workgroups and using outdated software.

Solution: Consider compliance platforms and cloud-based solutions for quick data access and analysis. Proper software can help minimize costs, reduce redundancies, and streamline data. An integrated platform is the best option for you to avoid siloed teamwork and quickly retrieve the data relating to a company’s compliance program.

Critical Components of the IT Security Compliance Strategy

Cybersecurity standards are a robust basis for companies to build, maintain, and continuously improve their ISMS. Considering all possible challenges and an array of common errors, it becomes clear that creating an effective ISMS is not a one-day-operation for any company, no matter its size or operational field. 

Regulatory compliance strategies should include answers to the following questions:

  • how your organization will address relevant security standards from an operational perspective;
  • how you will establish security-related processes and modify them if needed; 
  • how you will measure effective risk mitigation and compliance success;
  • which tools and proven techniques you will use for this.

Taking a comprehensive, holistic approach to creating your ISMS is crucial for being efficient and smartly scaled in terms of effort-, time- and cost-effectiveness. Infopulse SCM is one of the progressive GRC solutions allowing you to enforce your ISMS according to your business needs. 

Check for the step-by-step guide and checklist for creating an ISMS in the next article of the series.

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