An organization can be 100% compliant with data security laws and still experience data breaches. To be effective, data security measures must address all knowable potential real-world threats. Checking each box that meets the requirements of GDPR, HIPPA, CCPR, PCI, SOX and other regulatory frameworks can be reassuring but might also create a false sense of security. Compliance alone may not address the concerns of clients and partner organizations because some demographics may need higher levels of data security than required by law.
A thorough data security program embraces compliance, potential threats not covered by regulations, the demands of the marketplace, and the challenges presented by third parties that share data.
Being alert and adaptable are the two most important keys to surviving and thriving in the Internet environment. Complacency and overconfidence are the biggest reasons cybercriminals breach some of the world’s most extensive and well-funded data security systems. No company, nonprofit, government, individual, or other entity is immune from attack, which is why being proactive can minimize the possibility of a breach.
Take a Unified Approach
Although data compliance and data security are not the same, they should be managed in a unified manner. Creating one set of protocols to achieve compliance and a different set to address security issues not covered by compliance will inevitably create a complex system of policies and procedures that can undermine cyber defenses.
If different branches of the military developed their own plans in times of war, the outcome would be disastrous! Data compliance and security must work together to block a common enemy, and mount the best possible defense to secure all the data an organization collects, stores manage, mines analyzes, transfers, and deletes.
Address All Risks
A cybersecurity team’s responsibility is to identify and neutralize risk, and there are a lot of them! One risk stems from non-compliance with applicable laws and regulations which could result in severe fines. Another risk is being vulnerable to cybercriminals seeking profit, disruption, theft of intellectual property, or competitive advantage. A third type of risk is perceptual; if your customers or allies think you’ve been careless, you can suffer immense damage to your bottom line through lawsuits or lost business, and your organization’s reputation can take a beating.
The risk from cybercriminals is the most insidious. Felons are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities and opportunities, and they use techniques and methodologies that continually seek to overcome the latest cybersecurity defenses. To win the battle, cybersecurity programs need to stay advised about new dangers and constantly be proactive with defending their data security program against the newest threats.
The compliance landscape changes at a snail’s pace compared with the rapid development of new security threats. However, it’s important to also not become complacent with staying current on compliance requirements. Change that happens slowly can be elusive, so don’t be taken by surprise when a data security law changes or new ones are mandated. Be aware of compliance trends and prepare to dedicate adequate resources to staying current on new regulations, adjusting your data security program accordingly.
Data compliance and data security are two distinct concepts that are irrevocably entwined. Focusing on data security while simultaneously addressing regulatory compliance provides your first line of defense against cybercriminals, improves and strengthens compliance enforcement, and protects your clients who can be unforgiving when their private information is subjected to damaging data breaches. Your second line of defense is the unending process of improving data security protocols and training while staying up-to-date on compliance issues and evolving threats. Organizations that prioritize data compliance and data security are far less likely to experience breaches or run afoul of regulators, keeping your organization secure in its mission.