The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, or CMMC, has been a topic of conversation for a few years within the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). CMMC is a unified standard for implementing cybersecurity across the DIB, which includes over 300,000 companies in the supply chain. The CMMC is the DoD’s response to significant compromises of sensitive defense information located on contractors’ information systems. The US Department of Defense (DoD) released the much-anticipated Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) version 1.0•• on January 31, 2020. Since then, CMMC has undergone much scrutiny and discussion. Here is a timeline of CMMC:
September 2020: The CMMC program published by the DoD (now known as CMMC 1.0). This framework assesses a Defense Industrial Base (DIB) contractor’s compliance with a set of cybersecurity standards.
November 2020: A Presidential interim rule became effective, establishing a five-year phase-in period and requiring compliance with NIST 800-71 rules.
March 2021: The DoD announced an internal review of CMMC’s implementation.
November 2021: The DoD announced CMMC 2.0, and updated program and requirements designed to meet certain goals, including:
- Protecting sensitive information to enable and protect the warfighter.
- Dynamically enhance DIB cybersecurity to meet evolving threats.
- Ensuring accountability while minimizing barriers to compliance with DoD requirements.
- Contributing to a collaborative culture of cybersecurity and cyber resilience.
- Maintaining public trust through high professional and ethical standards.
Every industry is subject to various IT compliance regulations and standards designed to protect their businesses from data breaches, cybercrime, and other digital security threats. However, these regulations can often be challenging to understand. In this article, we will discuss the importance of regulatory compliance in IT, the various types of industry regulations, and how to fulfill requirements. With this knowledge, business owners and IT professionals can ensure their systems are up to code and their customer’s data is secure.
What Are IT Compliance Regulations?
IT compliance regulations refer to a set of rules and guidelines that organizations must follow to ensure the security and privacy of their data and information technology systems. Government bodies or industry organizations often create these regulations, which can apply to various sectors, including healthcare, finance, and education. Some common examples include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Organizations that fail to comply with these regulations may face fines, legal action, or damage to their reputation. Therefore, IT compliance is essential for organizations to protect their customers, employees, and stakeholders and to maintain trust and confidence in their business.
Why Is Regulatory Compliance Important?
The importance of regulatory compliance in IT cannot be understated. The proliferation of digital technologies has revolutionized how businesses operate, making them more vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches. This increased risk is why it’s so essential for companies to have strong security measures in place to protect their sensitive information from misuse or unauthorized access by malicious actors within an organization’s network infrastructure. Without these regulations, businesses would be exposed to serious risks that could damage their reputation and financial stability.
IT Compliance Requirements
From small startups to large corporations, IT systems and software are essential for managing operations, communicating with customers and partners, and storing and analyzing data. To ensure that your business is equipped with the necessary resources, it’s important to understand the key requirements.
Businesses must have various applications to perform different functions, such as productivity suites like Microsoft Office, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and accounting software. These should be selected based on the business’s specific needs and should be regularly updated to ensure that security patches are installed.
A reliable network includes the physical infrastructure—routers, switches, and cabling—as well as software components—firewalls, antivirus software, and VPNs. When well-designed and maintained, it can improve productivity and collaboration by enabling employees to access resources and communicate with each other from anywhere in the world.
Data Security Requirements
Companies must protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, theft, or loss. This requires implementing security protocols and policies, such as access controls, encryption, and backup and recovery procedures. Data security is not just an IT requirement, but also a legal obligation.
IT Staff Requirements
Having knowledgeable and skilled staff is critical to maintaining an efficient and effective IT system. They should be knowledgeable about the business’s hardware, software, and networking requirements. They should be able to support users, troubleshoot issues, and perform regular maintenance to ensure the network infrastructure runs smoothly.
IT Compliance Regulations by Industry
Various IT compliance regulations and standards differ depending on the industry, but generally focus on protecting sensitive customer information. Cloud computing services must adhere to specific industry standards when it comes to managing how customer data is stored across servers in different locations around the world. Let’s run through a few different industries:
The government contracting industry is subject to numerous regulation standards, such as NIST Cyber Security Standards.. These requirements ensure that contractors have sound cyber security practices and properly protect government information. Federal contractors must also follow ITAR, a law that requires institutions to protect technology related to national security.
The healthcare industry is subject to numerous regulation standards, such as the HIPAA and HITECH Acts. These acts ensure that sensitive medical information is protected by requiring organizations to implement security measures for the storage of personal health information (PHI). Organizations must also comply with additional measures, like risk assessments and incident response plans.
Organizations within education must comply with FERPA, a federal law that ensures student records are kept confidential. Educational institutions must also follow the rules outlined by HIPAA, Copyright Laws, and other state-specific laws where applicable.
The manufacturing industry must comply with various regulations depending on its business model. For example, organizations in the automotive sector are subject to ISO 26262, which outlines safety guidelines for vehicle hardware and software components. Similarly, organizations in the aerospace industry must apply DO-178B, which details requirements for aircraft navigation systems and avionics software.
The retail industry must comply with PCI DSS, a set of rules designed to ensure customer information is secure and protected. This includes storing data securely and having the necessary security measures to prevent breaches. Organizations must also comply with GDPR to ensure customer privacy is maintained, as well as ISO 27001 for risk management.
Organizations in the financial services industry have some of the most stringent compliance regulations due to their handling of sensitive customer information: GLBA, which sets requirements for sharing customer information among affiliates; SOX, which details financial reporting; and FFIEC, which regulates electronic communication and transactions. Organizations must also comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and all applicable state laws.
Implementing IT Compliance Regulations
Organizations should take the time to thoroughly review all applicable regulations before implementing any changes that could impact their compliance objectives. Doing so will ensure they are up-to-date with any changes or new requirements as laws evolve over time. Outlined below are a few points on how a provider like Braxton-Grant can help implement IT compliance regulations.
- Understanding and analyzing the specific compliance regulations applicable to the business, such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, GDPR, or SOX.
- Assessing the current IT infrastructure and business processes to identify gaps in compliance and risks.
- Creating a framework and roadmap that outlines the necessary steps to achieve and maintain compliance.
- Developing and implementing policies, procedures, and controls that align with the compliance regulations and the business’s needs.
- Providing training and awareness programs to ensure that employees understand and follow the compliance guidelines and practices.
- Conducting regular audits and assessments to identify any non-compliance issues and remediate them promptly.
- Offering technical solutions such as network security, data encryption, and vulnerability assessments to protect sensitive information and prevent cyber threats.
Partner With Braxton-Grant Technologies for IT Compliance Guidance and Solutions Today
By taking the time to understand applicable industry regulations and properly implement proper security measures, businesses can benefit from increased security while helping them remain compliant with industry standards and government regulations.
At Braxton-Grant, we’re experts in IT solutions and offer support to ensure you comply with the most recent regulations. No matter what your particular needs are for meeting these standards, our team is here to help you so that you can stay focused on managing your business. Reach out today to get started.