Today, increasing data protection regulations mandate businesses to build and maintain a secure and compliant work environment. It must be secure enough to mitigate as many risks as possible and be compliant with the relevant rules and guidelines listed in the industry’s regulation. What’s important to remember is that these regulations take into consideration your remote work environment as well. No matter how centralised or decentralised your IT environment is, you must prove that you have undertaken the necessary measures to protect the integrity of sensitive data to avoid regulatory action against your business.
Read on to find out how to effectively prioritise your business’s commitment towards compliance with data protection regulations.
Two unavoidable pieces of the puzzle
Building a secure and compliant work environment is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle; it would still be incomplete without two essential pieces – the machines and the humans. If the machines and the humans do what they are supposed to do to ensure security and compliance, your business will remain considerably secure in the face of any major setback.
Although no business is 100% immune to cyber threats, it would still be resilient enough to avoid most of them, plus recover quickly from an unfortunate breach while avoiding regulatory action for non-compliance.
This piece of the puzzle relates to every device and aspect of technology within your business’s work environment. You must ensure the right devices are used and the right technology is used to secure these devices. For example, if you are a business required to comply with PCI-DSS regulations, you cannot use payment devices that do not comply with PCI-DSS regulations. The ways in which you handle and protect cardholder data such as credit card numbers need to comply with PCI-DSS regulations, too. Additionally, you must enforce an identity and access management (IAM) solution to ensure only authorised users access your business’s network through their devices. Remember, these principles do not just apply to the devices in the office. They also apply to any device used to access the network, even if it is an employee’s personal device.
Many businesses tend to neglect the human piece of the puzzle after sorting out the technological piece. You can invest a fortune on the right devices and technology but if your workforce isn’t diligent in following the best security and compliance practices, the puzzle will always remain incomplete. For example, an anti-phishing defense solution can warn an employee about a suspicious email, but if he/she still goes ahead and acts upon the email, your business would still have failed to abide by a compliance requirement.
Whether unknowingly or deliberately, an employee can jeopardise the security of your network and data. A report conducted by Verizon found that 30% of data breaches involved internal actors. That counts for something, doesn’t it? Your workforce should be appropriately trained to follow security policies diligently and be held accountable for their actions.
Next it’s about managing these two pieces to ensure they fit into the puzzle and complete it correctly.
The 5-step process
To help you complete the puzzle successfully, here’s a five-step process you can follow to get off on the right foot:
Conduct an accurate and thorough analysis of how secure and compliant your current work environment is, based on the regulations your business must comply with. The more comprehensive the assessment, the better. Remember to document the process.
Devise a strategy to strengthen the security of your network devices with robust and appropriate technical safeguards. This should be aimed at ensuring no device serves as a security vulnerability, especially a remote device.
Develop a comprehensive training program for all your employees, irrespective of their positions, to ensure they are aware of the potential cyber security risks that face the business, especially the threats related to remote work.
Build policies and procedures to ensure both ‘the machines’ and ‘the humans’ follow security and compliance best practices to avoid any non-compliance risks.
Repeat the entire process regularly and strive towards building a culture that upholds your business’s compliance commitment.
Work with a partner who has done this before
Building and maintaining a secure and compliant work environment can be a long and tedious process, especially given the additional complexities brought about by the ‘new normal’. Therefore, it is only wise to seek help from a partner like Quintech who has already helped many businesses in a wide range of industries to prioritise and achieve commitment towards compliance. Get in touch with us now on 01684 887200 or email email@example.com and let us help you put together the pieces of this complex puzzle.