Since the early 2000s, when several global business scandals shattered public trust, compliance management has become increasingly important in the commercial and corporate worlds. WorldCom, the world's second-largest communications provider, followed Enron's record-breaking bankruptcy with an even more significant fall and bankruptcy. Both of the cited companies were brought to their knees due to CEO decisions that put personal riches ahead of consumer interests. Imagine a different outcome if they only had an IT compliance plan.

An increasingly regulated business landscape

Organizations are guilty of information failures due to inadequate infrastructure and weak or non-existent compliance controls as data and information interchange have increased, owing to the rising reliance on technology and consumer expectations. A noncriminal compromise of a corporation's security can result in significant financial damage and a loss of public trust. As a result, most organizations are currently grappling with the expectations, policies, and procedural adjustments imposed by new rules.

Compliance management demands the capacity to protect and maintain data, remedy mistakes, and provide adequate compliance reports. Internal compliance assures adherence to internal policies' rules, regulations, and best practices, whereas external compliance refers to following the laws and norms imposed by industries, external governments, and organizations.

How compliance works

All examples of personal compliance are receiving a yearly privacy notice from your bank, signing a HIPAA form at your doctor's office, or being locked out of your account because you mistyped your password. Compliance refers to the IT professional's measures to maintain and provide systematic proof of conformance to both internal and external regulations, norms, or obligations imposed on the company.

This is done through the use of legal procedures. Administration of compliance and preserving the integrity of the system utilized to adhere to and verify compliance are both important parts of following the law. IT compliance is becoming increasingly important in today's businesses, particularly in areas where information is transferred and kept electronically, such as finance, human resources, and operations. Yet, many companies fail at this aspect because they don’t know how to do it or have not partnered with the right managed IT services vendor.

What is an IT regulatory compliance plan?

When it comes to IT compliance, it refers to the proper management and safeguarding of information, including how it is collected and stored, how it is protected, and how it is made available (internally and externally). The company's objectives, regulations, and structure are at the core of internal compliance duties. Customers/end-users must be happy, and the company must be safe in the process. Specialized technologies are used to report, identify continuously, monitor, and audit compliance to achieve and maintain compliance.

The process of managing and addressing the most critical strategic, technical, and administrative procedures concerning IT compliance is known as IT governance. IT governance, for example, is a part of a company's broader corporate governance process, and it's usually overseen by a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), with increasing cross-functional responsibilities from a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) -- if a company can fill these roles.

In addition, risk management is an integral part of IT governance and compliance because it entails minimizing and managing risk through system controls. GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) is a method of operating policies, processes, and rules coordinated, effective, and acceptable. Duplication can be avoided, and information and communications can be transferred more securely if these three activities are managed as a unit rather than as distinct goals. Thus, many organizations are turning to MSPs for help.

Challenges to IT compliance

IT compliance's overall goal is to create a technological, procedural, and strategic framework that allows a firm's legal and ethical integrity to be reached and shown. The following issues may be avoided by developing defendable systems, rules, and procedures:

  • Customer confidence or the company's reputation are both at risk.
  • Missed possibilities for income or market growth, or a drop in the value of your stock
  • Expenses for cleaning up (capital acquisitions, legal costs, fines, and judgments, purchased consumer protections, and lost productivity)

However, there are many roadblocks in the way of achieving this goal. First and foremost, because of its complexity and scope, the new law is susceptible to interpretation. In the absence of explicit regulation, several industry-specific standards and best practices exist to provide guidance.

Other things to think about are:

  • Employees' lack of IT expertise.
  • Mobile devices that evade business IT restrictions are examples of shadow IT problems.
  • Applications that were turned down.
  • Complications with cloud computing and data centers.
  • The impact of social media on daily life
  • Existing regulations, changes, and new legislation
It isn’t easy to implement an IT regulatory compliance plan without expert help

Rules and suggestions make up compliance and regulatory frameworks. Organizations adhere to these standards to meet regulatory requirements, improve operations, boost security and achieve other business objectives. However, we now speak the same language from the data center to the boardroom due to these frameworks. It’s crucial to use these specs:

  • Internal auditors and other internal stakeholders examine a company's controls.
  • External auditors are employed to examine and certify that controls are in place within a firm.
  • Potential customers, investors, and others might weigh the advantages and drawbacks of collaborating with an organization.

What about the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC)?

What exactly is the aim? The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard protects cardholder data (PCI DSS). These precautions must be implemented by companies that handle credit card information. There are many levels of PCI compliance, and the quantity of credit card data your firm processes will determine the level of PCI compliance you must achieve. Banks, retailers, and service providers, for example, will be held to higher standards according to the nature of their business.

If you work on an IT team, how would this affect you? In addition to adopting particular processes and controls, you may be required to undertake self-assessment questionnaires, quarterly network scans, and on-site independent security audits, depending on your PCI DSS level.
What are some of the organizations that employ this framework? Merchants, banks that provide credit and debit cards, payment card processors, developers, and others are the clients.

What about NIST?

The purpose of its existence is unknown. Unlike SOX, NIST does not consist of a single set of controls. Production, quality control, and security all fall under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) purview, which is part of the Department of Commerce. The agency collaborated with security sector specialists, other government agencies, and academics to establish a set of controls and inspections to help critical infrastructure operators manage cybersecurity risk.

Many organizations now employ NIST standards to manage and remove hazards that may impact the environment and their customers. Clients may demand that specific controls be in place before working with you, even if the NIST framework is not required.

Hence, it’s critical to work with a managed IT services partner skilled at identifying, defining, and enforcing the controls of the standard will be a crucial job for everyone within a company that uses NIST. Consider following the standards in NIST 800-53 Risk Assessment RA 5, which outlines best practices for the frequency, type, and application of vulnerability scan results, as well as how to handle them once they've been completed.

What types of businesses utilize this framework? It is frequently used by big companies and government organizations and may be a helpful paradigm for any company interested in assessing and reducing cyber risk.

And SSAE-16? The applications and infrastructure that impact financial reporting are monitored and enforced, according to the 16th version of the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE-16). Controls for business operations and IT, in general, are included.
ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization (International Organization for Standardization)

ISO's mission is to act as a repository for international standards. The ISO sub-framework that is most relevant to you will be chosen based on your company's aims or industry. It's feasible that a manufacturing company will employ ISO 9000 as a sub-framework since its controls, for example, are focused on quality management. Organizations looking to improve procedures linked to information security management systems might benefit from ISO 27000's new suggestions.

How does this impact your organization? Your team may utilize this framework to improve quality management and security and report on their efforts. Any organization, public or private, may utilize this framework to improve quality management and security and report on it.

Explain HIPAA/HITECH. HIPAA/HITECH sets security requirements to protect PHI (PHI).

What types of companies have to comply with this framework? Those engaged in the collecting, storing, or processing of personal health information, including healthcare professionals and providers (PHI). As a result, if you're going to collect this data, you'll need to put certain protections in place.

There are several compliance and regulatory frameworks, but these are only a handful of the most popular. Following these standards (and maintaining an infrastructure) is a never-ending process, but regular monitoring and reporting may help make compliance a routine aspect of business operations. The right IT compliance partner can help.

Outsourcing IT compliance has several benefits

Many businesses are experiencing trouble filling roles and replacing absences within their internal teams due to the increasing emphasis on compliance. Instead of relying on an overworked team that may be lacking critical skills, bringing in outside help lessens the strain by quickly filling any gaps.

Outsourcing compliance might help you save resources while also easing the burden on your internal personnel. Paying an outsourcing business isn't always cheaper than doing everything yourself, but it's often done better. This is because these companies specialize in offering a small number of services to a large number of customers. They may provide a competitive rate while still saving money due to economies of scale and a clear operational focus.

Key takeaway

Outsourcing can also save you time and money by allowing you to access more complicated technology, such as compliance analytics, quickly. Because your IT compliance partner is responsible for remaining up to speed on all the latest regulations and rule modifications, an outsourced solution may save you much time, allowing your staff to focus on more critical compliance projects or corrective efforts. Contact SSI today to learn how you can prioritize your IT regulatory compliance plan.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with us if you'd like to learn more about how managed IT services may help your company or even request a proposal.