Businesses of all industries and sizes must comply with relevant state, federal, and international laws, regulations, and standards. This is extremely important for any business that is regulated by compliance - if not all aspects of the compliance requirements are covered, the penalties and fines can be detrimental to your business and its reputation. Below are the main frameworks that different companies may need to comply with:
- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – Applies to businesses that offer financial products or services.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – Applies to all organizations that handle cardholder data.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – Applies to healthcare organizations that deal with protected health information.
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act – Applies to all publicly traded organizations in the United States and wholly owned subsidiaries and foreign organizations that are publicly traded and conduct business in the US.
- Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) – Apply to all contractors and subcontractors of the Department of Defense.
- General Data Protection Regulation – Applies to companies operating within the European Union and those that offer services or goods to people or businesses in the EU.
Businesses that fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations face potential lawsuits and financial liability.
For example, after suffering data breaches that resulted in client information being leaked, the Hilton hotel chain paid a $700,000 settlement agreement, the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. was fined $5.5 million, and Target paid an $18.5 million multistate settlement.
The Ever-Changing Compliance Landscape
Compliance laws, regulations, and standards are continuously updated to keep up with the times and the growing complexity of cyberthreats over the years.
For example, since its introduction in 2004, the PCI DSS has been updated several times (2008, 2010, 2015, and 2019). HIPAA, on the other hand, was passed as a law in 1996, but its scope was further defined and expanded over the years via the passage of the following.
Given the ever-changing compliance landscape, becoming and remaining compliant with applicable laws and regulations can be extremely challenging. Fortunately, businesses can turn to a managed IT services provider (MSP) for help and peace of mind..
What is an MSP?
An MSP is a company that provides technical support, proactive IT management, 24/7 network monitoring, among other IT services. They can handle everything from system maintenance and troubleshooting to data backup, cybersecurity, and compliance. Some businesses use an MSP to supplement their existing IT department, while others choose to fully outsource their IT needs. One other way MSPs can add value to a business is by providing a vCISO, or virtual chief information and security officer, to work with your company and ensure implementation of best-in-class technology standards.
How Can an MSP Help My Businesses Meet Compliance Requirements
MSPs are highly knowledgeable of compliance laws, regulations, and standards and stay up to date with the latest changes. When you work with an MSP, you may be assigned to one team, but you’re gaining the breadth and depth of knowledge that comes from every technician at the company. There are many ways an MSP can help you stay on top of your company’s compliance requirements. While we won’t cover all of them today, we do want to highlight four that should be top-of-mind.
Conduct a Gap Assessment
This is a first step that we recommend for all businesses. Through a gap analysis, an MSP can evaluate how well your company is currently complying with applicable laws and regulations and identify gaps in compliance. Once you have a clear picture of where you are and where you want to be, your MSP can then help you address any gaps and even provide a roadmap to achieving and maintaining compliance. While not every MSP will provide a roadmap, we strongly suggest you have one. Given the fast pace of change in IT and cybersecurity requirements, a roadmap will help you predict what you’ll need ‘down the road’ and ensure that those needs are factored into your budgeting process.
Implement the Correct Security Measures
Depending on factors like industry, business practices, and operating regions, you may be subject to different laws and regulations. Working with an MSP can help better define your IT strategy and ensure that you have the necessary safeguards in place. For example, if your company is subject to a regulatory compliance, then they can help you implement the following:
- Endpoint encryption – scrambles the data stored on devices, such as laptops, desktops, and servers, to make it unreadable to parties that do not possess the decryption key
- External vulnerability scanning – identifies and assesses the weaknesses in your company network's firewall that malicious outsiders can exploit to infiltrate and attack the network
- Dark web monitoring – monitors the dark web for any stolen company data
- Security information and event management – collects, analyzes, and reports on security-related events from multiple sources (e.g., firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, antivirus software, and log files) to detect malicious activity, assess risk, and quickly respond to incidents
Train Employees on Cybersecurity
Many compliance standards require businesses to regularly train their employees on how to protect company data from cyberthreats. However, the specific requirements may vary by compliance. For example, DFARS demands quarterly or biannual training, while HIPAA only calls for annual training.
To ensure your employees are getting the best possible training, an MSP can conduct cybersecurity training for your staff. These training sessions will teach your employees how to identify phishing emails, improve password strength, and respond to a suspected cyberattack, among other things. They will also keep track of when your employees' training needs to be updated so that your company remains compliant with applicable laws and regulations.
Provide Audit Assistance
Top-notch MSPs can help you with the daunting task of preparing for a compliance audit. After doing the necessary work to fill in any IT and cybersecurity gaps, Charles IT, can recommend auditors and act on your behalf to produce the necessary documentation that proves the strength of your cyber defenses.
When you partner with Charles IT, you can rest easy knowing that your business is meeting all relevant compliance requirements. Get in touch with us today!