Any businesses that use electronic data handling or storage systems must take steps to maintain IT compliance. This is the process of operating within the established framework of laws, regulations, and standards applicable to software in use by a company. Since technology is a major component of virtually every business, the importance of maintaining compliance has grown.

Why IT Compliance Standards Matter

IT compliance matters for businesses and customers. It helps companies maintain data securely so they are less at risk of the disastrous consequences of a cyber attack. It also ensures they are following all applicable laws, which can be critical if an incident were to occur.

Compliance also matters to customers. When businesses operate within designated standards, customers are reassured that their information will be handled in the safest way possible. They also know that if a breach were to occur, they would be notified in order to take corrective action. Finally, a business that maintains IT compliance is likely to use all software exactly as it was intended, resulting in fewer problems and less risk of a breach.

Common IT Security Compliance Standards

Needs vary between businesses, but there are several that can affect across sectors. The following are among the most universally applied compliance standards that you are likely to encounter.

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification

Defense contractors must be sure to maintain a special certification. Known as Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, this Department of Defense program is designed to accomplish three main goals:

  • Creating a unified code of cybersecurity measures for DoD contractors
  • Hold defense companies accountable to high-security standards with regard to state data
  • Protect information from cyber attacks or malicious state actors

Maintaining CMMC compliance can be a challenging process. It is often beneficial to outsource this to a company specializing in data security and governmental compliance issues. This lets you monitor compliance from a secure dashboard while data is safely monitored. Additionally, it frees internal staff to focus on core responsibilities applicable to all clients, not just the federal government.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

HIPAA may be among the most well-known compliance standards since it affects nearly everyone. It applies to information that is shared among medical providers. Despite its name, this affects anyone who has access to medical information, such as doctor’s offices, clinics, therapists, and researchers.

Any business that collects, handles, or stores patient information must do so in accordance with HIPAA standards. To maintain HIPAA compliance, businesses must meet certain standards for secure electronic information handling and restrict sharing of patients’ personal information. There must also be a backup alert system to immediately notify administrators of a data breach.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is designed to secure cardholders’ personal data during and after electronic payment transactions. Any business that processes credit or debit card payments must adhere to the PCI DSS.

Because it provides an extra layer of protection, customers may look for PCI DSS compliance before completing an online payment transaction. Therefore, businesses might consider maintaining it to boost consumer confidence.

General Data Protection Regulation

GDPR regulations ensure the safety of personal digital information for European Union citizens. Asking users for permission to collect their data is one example of policies that help companies comply with GDPR regulations. When customers decline to give permission, the company must delete all related data.

Any company that might collect or store digital data from customers must comply with these regulations. This reaches farther than you might expect, leading some companies to mistakenly believe they don’t need to worry about GDPR compliance. In reality, a global economy means that even if your business operates solely outside of Europe, you may still need to maintain compliance with GDPR regulations.

Maintaining compliance is a key piece of operating a business. HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, and CMMC standards are just a few of the most common standards businesses must comply with. Other rules and regulations vary from state to state and between countries, so it is imperative that you stay on top of which regulations apply to your operations. For that reason, many mid-sized and large businesses choose to hire compliance specialists that oversee this component.

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