Creating an IT Compliance Policy – 7 Things To Know Now
The digital world is a complex place. It’s not easy to keep your business safe without an IT policy in place, but it can be done with the right focus on security and compliance practices!
Mitigating risks would be nearly impossible if you don’t have any type of IT compliance policies for handling data or protecting it from external threats that might seek out personal information about customers who use online services, such as e-commerce websites.
Even brick and mortar organisations use software to perform activities like accounting, reporting, back-office management, and so on.
In these tech-driven environments, a lack of proper security measures jeopardizes the position of business leaders.
Their IT systems get abused which often leads to scandals within their company as well as external disruptions like hacking or data leaks that can devastate its reputation among customers.
The only way for businesses to avoid this happening to them is to create a strong IT compliance policy.
This article will cover the key considerations when developing your system of IT compliance.
The Importance of IT Compliance
IT compliance is vital for organisations running electronic asset management businesses, and can be done in complex regulated industries.
IT compliance can also help organizations understand gaps or weaknesses in their existing security plans that cannot be easily fixed.
Often industry companies will provide information on devices connected to Internet-based products to comply with regulatory requirements such as security systems and IoT standards, such as IoT devices.
Compliance enables companies to reduce costs by creating a new customer base with fewer mistakes based on IT-related issues.
IoT is used to monitor information security in businesses, and it may impact compliance issues for companies.
If you plan and are planning an efficient business solution, you must include an easy-to-use online application for staff.
Who Needs IT Compliance?
Regulatory agencies define how an organization must meet regulated standards within its specific niche.
The strict minimum compliance conditions apply for critical structures, including electricity, transport and transport, in healthcare areas.
The company may also regularly demonstrate that the IT compliance requirements have been appropriately met – including through reports or tests. These can be done through internal audits or through security tests.
Specifically for larger companies, compliance issues can prove enormous as the organization needs specialist management to implement compliance plans.
The regulatory application is sometimes required or an exemption for some jurisdictions.
What you Need to Consider for IT Compliance Policies
Factor 1 – People, Processes, and How They Align to Tech:
IT compliance isn’t just about technology – it also involves people and processes.
And the reality is that many organisations focus heavily on their tech, but don’t consider the other two aspects, resulting in failed audits due to a failure of considering all three attributes.
The right approach can help ensure your enterprise stays compliant by adhering correctly to those necessary guidelines.
Factor 2 – Relevant Laws and Regulations:
Laws and regulations stipulate the policies that govern IT compliance requirements. Here are the most common ones:
- The Sarbanes-Oxley Act – regulating financial reporting
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – governing non-public personal information and financial data
- The Health Insurance and Accountability ACT – regulating health information that healthcare organizations process
Ultimately you can’t start your IT compliance process without understanding the laws and regulations applicable to your organization.
You should also ascertain the controls that apply to these laws and regulations. They are process-oriented and technical means to adhere to your policies.
There are various industry and government standards that specify them, including:
- Control Objectives for Information and Related IT
- National Institute of Standards and Technology
- Payment Card Industry Data
These can have a massive bearing on your sector. Therefore, make sure to familiarize yourself with all relevant controls.
Factor 3 – Raising Employee Awareness of the Importance of the IT Compliance Policy:
The biggest threat to your data security is unqualified employees.
Their actions can have a huge impact on cybersecurity, they often use insecure methods to transfer data because it’s more convenient than doing it properly!
Some tools used by these people include personal emails or consumer-grade collaboration apps like Slack – both of which are ideal for cybercriminals who want access to sensitive information about you as soon as possible.
The importance of IT compliance cannot be understated.
The prospect of your business being targeted by hackers makes it all the more important that you take proper precautions, educate employees about where these threats come from and what actions can give rise to vulnerabilities, otherwise they might end up becoming victims themselves!
- When developing your training plan, make sure to include several key topics:
- How insecure file transfer methods expose your company to risks
- Avoiding phishing scams
- Precautions to exercise before using or downloading unsanctioned applications
- The conditions for using and creating strong passwords.
Factor 4 – How your IT Compliance Policy Aligns with the Company’s Security Policies:
Aligning IT compliance with your business operations involves understanding the culture of your organization.
For example, if you have an environment that revolves around processes to get things done then issuing thorough policies will be ideal for ensuring full transparency and accountability among all parties involved.
Companies that follow an ad-hoc trend must take steps to prevent certain risks.
They need a deep understanding of your company’s IT compliance policies and how they apply in order for auditors, creditors or anyone else looking at them be able to understand why you’ve deployed certain controls while facing other potential problems head-on with preventive measures.
Factor 5 – Understanding of the IT Environment:
IT environments directly affect your IT policy compliance design. That said, there are two main kinds of environments:
- Homogeneous environments – These consist of standardized vendors, configurations, and models. They’re largely consistent with your IT deployment.
- Heterogeneous environments – The other type uses a wide range of security and compliance applications, versions, and technologies.
In general, compliance costs are lower in homogeneous environments.
This is because there’s less complexity and policies to deal with than if you had a more diverse set of technologies like virtualization or cloud computing that your organization may be using for their IT infrastructure solutions needs.
Factor 6 – Establishment of Accountability:
Compliance requires accountability from top executives who have a responsibility for protecting their assets, which include both people and technology.
Casting these programs in terms of risks rather than technology helps ensure that everyone’s contributions are accounted for, especially when it comes down to making decisions about what needs priority protection.
As for your IT providers, they have two pivotal roles:
- Data/system owners – The owner is part of your management team that’s responsible for data usage and care. Plus, they’re accountable for protecting and managing information.
- Data/system custodians – Custodial roles can entail several duties, such as system administration, security analysis, legal counselling, and internal auditing.
These responsibilities are essential for IT policy compliance. For example, auditors need to carefully verify compliance activity execution. Otherwise, there’s no way to ensure the implementation is going according to plan.
Factor 7 – Automation of the Compliance Process:
The number of systems you can review manually is limited and often times internal auditors find themselves looking at old versions or configurations.
Automation ensures systems are reviewed regularly and keeps your IT up to date, so there’s no need for manual adjustments in the future!
Breeze Through Your Business’ IT Compliance
Setting up well-designed IT compliance policy may be a long process, but it can make all the difference between success and failure.
It keeps your business reputation intact and avoids any risk of being caught violating regulations, keeping you out of trouble for good!
However, you’ll need to pay special attention to several aspects of your IT compliance policy, the most significant one being your IT provider.
If your IT isn’t living up to its potential, you’re bound to face IT compliance issues.
This can cause tremendous stress and halt your operations.
Luckily, there might be an easy way out of your predicament. Schedule a quick chat with us to discuss your IT problems and find out how create an effective IT compliance policy.
Article used with permission from The Technology Press.