How To Build A Cybersecurity Compliance Plan

Cyberthreats and breaches aren’t the only issues for the IT department. They can have a significant impact across an entire organization. In fact, every employee should be responsible for managing cyber risks while remaining compliant with regulations.

While regulations vary by industry and location, maintaining compliance can be challenging. However, it’s critical for businesses to build a cybersecurity compliance plan.

What Is Cybersecurity Compliance and Why Do You Need It?

In general, compliant businesses are following and meeting regulatory requirements. Cybersecurity compliance requires organizations to implement a program that forms risk controls. As a result, they protect the integrity, accessibility, and confidentiality of the data they store, process and transfer.

However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to cybersecurity compliance. Industry standards may overlap and cause confusion or excess work for individual organizations using a standard checklist.

That’s why all businesses need to check within their industry to see which regulations they need to meet. For instance, some organizations collect payment information. Therefore, they’ll have to meet the requirements of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard — or PCI DSS.

The law requires organizations to meet compliance. Otherwise, they may face hefty fines should a breach occur. For example, JP Morgan faced a $125 million penalty for failure to keep records safe.

Adhering to cybersecurity also reduces the risk of a data breach. One study found that 43% of company employees made a human error resulting in security repercussions. The costs associated with a breach — such as interruption to operations and reputational damages — can be high.

A cybersecurity compliance plan is crucial for all operating companies.

Creating an Efficient Cybersecurity Compliance Plan

For companies that need to create a plan, here are ways they can make sure they’re following through with cybersecurity compliance.

Create a Compliance Team

A compliance team is necessary for small to mid-sized businesses. Keep in mind that cybersecurity doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Organizations continuously move critical operations to the cloud. Therefore, interdepartmental workflow and communication must exist.

Establish Risk Analysis

Risk analysis helps businesses become compliant with a risk-based assessment. Here’s how it works:

  • Identify all accessed data, networks, systems, and information assets.
  • Assess the risk level for each data type by determining where high-risk data is collected and processed. 
  • Rate each risk accordingly.
  • Analyze each risk by following this formula: Risk = (Likelihood of Breach x Impact)/Cost.
  • Establish risk tolerance by determining whether to refuse, accept, transfer or mitigate the risk.

Following these steps can allow a company to understand its potential risk factors better.

Set Up Controls

As businesses enable risk analysis, they must set up controls to maintain cybersecurity compliance. These controls may include:

  • Firewalls
  • Encryptions
  • Password protection policies
  • Vendor risk management program
  • Employee training
  • Insurance

Creating these can help reduce a hacker’s chances of breaching security.

Create Policies

Policies are for documenting compliance activities and controls. They serve as a foundation for conducting internal and external audits necessary. To create one, identify what security measures employees must always take and lay out a backup plan for emergencies.

Monitor and Respond Continuously

Cybersecurity is constantly evolving. In turn, cybercriminals are continually finding new ways to obtain sensitive information. Rather than finding new vulnerabilities — known as Zero-Day Attacks — they rework existing strategies. For instance, they can combine different ransomware programs to invent new ones.

Businesses must be steps ahead of cyber threats. They must continuously monitor them and respond before hackers perform a data breach.

Guaranteeing Compliance for Organizations

As cybersecurity advances, businesses must access the right tools to ensure compliance. All organizations can use the steps above to apply regulatory compliance and prevent unforeseeable cyber threats. As a result, this enables businesses to meet the requirements and focus on governance.

Lavanya Rathnam

Lavanya Rathnam is an experienced technology, finance, and compliance writer. She combines her keen understanding of regulatory frameworks and industry best practices with exemplary writing skills to communicate complex concepts of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in clear and accessible language. Lavanya specializes in creating informative and engaging content that educates and empowers readers to make informed decisions. She also works with different companies in the Web 3.0, blockchain, fintech, and EV industries to assess their products’ compliance with evolving regulations and standards.

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