Why Businesses are Choosing Voluntary Cybersecurity Compliance


Why Businesses Should Comply with Voluntary Cybersecurity Frameworks

Complying with all required cybersecurity policies, laws, and regulations isn’t easy. There are hundreds of individual regulations that impact various industries across the United States and worldwide, but not every business is required to comply with every regulation. However, if you skip any required laws, your business can be held accountable through fines and other sanctions.

Cybersecurity rules have typically been formed by a stream of one-off bills designed to tighten certain requirements each time, but until the GDPR, they were mostly national or local to each U.S. state.

Now that the EU enacted the GDPR, which applies internationally, it’s gotten harder for business owners to stay in total compliance. There are also many cybersecurity recommendations that have yet to become law. These are voluntary frameworks that exist as suggestions but aren’t a requirement.

Since the cybersecurity landscape is so confusing, many businesses seek legal advice to make sure they’re compliant. However, sometimes that’s not enough since everything changes so quickly. That’s why some business owners are choosing to comply with the strictest possible cybersecurity protections, even when the frameworks are voluntary.

There are three levels of compromised data that can get your business in trouble:

  • A data leak. This is when sensitive data is left unprotected and easily accessible (usually by accident) or accidentally released. A data leak can still bring on penalties even without any known damages.
  • A data breach. This is when someone accesses or acquires sensitive data without permission, often from a security breach or cyberattack that wasn’t stopped in time. Data breaches carry hefty fines that can put a small business out of operation.
  • The harm caused by a data leak or breach. In addition to data leaks and breaches, there can be significant penalties for the harm caused by an incident. For example, identity theft or the release of trade secrets often spark expensive lawsuits.

Use compliant applications

When cybersecurity is your priority, it’s critical that you only use applications that are compliant with data security regulations. Even if you aren’t required to follow a particular law, if you have a choice between two options, always choose the more secure application.

Secure applications provide benefits to everyone, not just businesses regulated by that law. For example, SOC 2 is a voluntary cybersecurity framework, but companies are using it to create secure applications. For example, the fleet management application Cetaris is SOC 2 compliant, which means every company using their app will benefit from added cybersecurity.

Your customers want you to protect their data

Perhaps the best reason to go all-in with cybersecurity is to keep your customers happy. It’s always a good idea to protect your customers’ data, and that’s why voluntary security frameworks exist. When you only do what’s right when it’s illegal not to, your customers will suffer, whether it’s from a data breach or other cyberattack that could have been prevented.

Encryption is the foundation of cybersecurity

If you’re wondering what people are doing to bring their businesses to a higher level of compliance, it starts with encryption. More than 40% of all data breaches are caused by unsecured endpoints, like laptops and phones, through various remotely executed attacks. Even with company policies in place, you can’t ensure that all employees are securing the device they use for work. However, you can encrypt sensitive data so it won’t matter if a hacker gains access.

Stolen, encrypted data is useless because it can’t be read without being decrypted, which requires a special decryption key that solid encryption applications make inaccessible to hackers.

Encryption will dismiss fines

While it’s not the only requirement to keep data secure, encryption can go a long way to protect your business from the harsh financial penalties of a data breach. In most cases, when stolen data is encrypted, you won’t get penalized.

Getting compliant now will save you time and stress later

The sooner your business gets compliant with the strictest cybersecurity policies you can manage, the better. If you wait until the voluntary frameworks become mandatory regulations, you’ll have to start your learning curve at a time when there will be penalties for mistakes.

If you start getting compliant now, you won’t face harsh penalties if you do something wrong along the way. You’ll have the time to perform vulnerability scans and penetration tests to find vulnerabilities and patch them without the possibility of getting fined. You can ease into developing a strong cybersecurity posture so that by the time you’re required to have certain elements in place, you’ll already be there.

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