Over the past few decades, the business world shifted from filing cabinets overflowing with paperwork to a cloud-first approach where pen and paper are obsolete. Today we live in an almost limitless digital world that has afforded well-intentioned businesses with uncountable advantages. However, as our reliance on technology has grown, so too has the threat of cyberattacks and data breaches, highlighting the need for regulations and guidelines that ensure businesses take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their customers.
Yet creating security and compliance guidelines is not an easy task. It’s a slow and iterative process that requires input from a wide range of stakeholders, including government agencies, industry experts, and cybersecurity professionals. Challenges are inevitable, and progress is slow; there are often disagreements over the best approach to take, not to mention that regulations can quickly become outdated after just a few years since technology and attack patterns evolve so rapidly.
Today, like enterprises, SMBs must take cybersecurity compliance seriously, as 61% experienced a cyberattack in 2022. A single data breach can be devastating, resulting in financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liabilities, and that’s if the company can survive and remain in business. The only way for SMBs to reduce their risk of a cyberattack and demonstrate their commitment to protecting customer data is to follow in the footsteps of enterprises and implement robust security and compliance measures.
Maintaining cybersecurity compliance is challenging, and many SMBs understandably struggle to keep up with the ever-changing regulatory landscape and the latest threats. But, by assessing your company’s risks, in-house capabilities, and resources through the lens of common compliance pitfalls, you can determine the best process for achieving compliance.
The complexity of your organization’s infrastructure will inevitably determine how easy or hard it is to implement cybersecurity compliance. Complex systems, now commonplace for SMBs, demand careful and precise regulatory implementation. A company with even a few office locations, a dispersed workforce, and various hardware and software systems will have an extensive network, making it more difficult for you to maintain compliance.
While every solution in your tech stack performs necessary business tasks, together, they create a tangled, complicated web, so you’ll need a tailored compliance strategy that considers your company’s specific needs.
Awareness and Familiarity With Compliance Regulations
Compliance is not a one-time activity; it requires staying abreast of new regulations and knowing which laws affect you based on your industry and location. If you operate as a borderless business, you’re responsible for ensuring you meet every compliance law for each country. And, regulations in and of themselves are complicated to understand; Europe’s GDPR has 99 articles alone. You can, however, save yourself from doing the same work multiple times by mapping out the requirements, identifying overlaps, and setting compliance according to the most stringent requirements of your customers, partners, or regions where you do business.
To stay updated with cybersecurity regulations, you’ll need to subscribe to publications that track regulatory changes by country and by industry. It’s a tall order, even for those whose only job is compliance.
Risks Introduced by Third-Parties
If only compliance were as simple as your own infrastructure! The vast majority of companies use third-party solutions to support business processes and operations. That necessity can introduce additional risks as third-party partners can inadvertently expose your company to viruses, malware, and other attacks. According to recent research, 98% of businesses are integrated with third-party vendors that have experienced breaches in the past two years. That same study found third-party vendors are five times more likely to have poorer security measures than their clients.
That data underscores the importance of conducting due diligence for third-party partners and ensuring they have vigorous security measures in place.
The Skills Gap Reality
Finding talented cybersecurity experts is hard enough; finding knowledgeable compliance experts is a similar struggle. A Fortinet report found the industry needs about 3.4 million more professionals to fill the cybersecurity workforce gap. Making matters worse is that even if you can find a specialist, you won’t be able to compete with the salaries offered by enterprises, leaving you high and dry in the compliance department.
A Lack of Visibility
Establishing a high level of visibility is a recurring challenge for cybersecurity in general and compliance specifically. When you combine network complexity with shadow IT and security blind spots from yet-to-be-discovered vulnerabilities, a lack of visibility is a natural (but unacceptable) outcome that makes monitoring and enforcing compliance even more difficult. This should be a significant concern for you as cyberattacks can occur at any time, and without complete visibility, you may be unable to detect and respond to threats effectively. CYREBRO designed the
The Good News: Similarities Exist
Most compliance regulations govern how companies should collect, share, and secure data and are rooted in the idea of restricting easy access to it and company systems. By focusing on these similarities, you can develop a compliance plan that simultaneously meets the requirements of multiple regulations and saves time and resources. However, as mentioned above, following the strictest data governance regulations will keep you compliant with all the others.
Surviving in a Regulated World
Regulations and compliance are necessary aspects of modern business, especially as cyberattacks become more frequent and attack methods more sophisticated. While implementing and adhering to them may pose challenges, they ultimately serve the greater good of protecting sensitive data and systems.
Fortunately, businesses can turn to technology solutions like CYREBRO’s SOC platform, which can help in a multitude of ways. Not only will a SOC provide greater network visibility and quickly detect potential threats, but it will also simplify the complex task of addressing compliance requirements.
SMBs are already well-versed in leveraging third-party solutions to achieve efficiency and accomplish tasks with limited resources. Compliance is no different. By tapping into the power of a SOC, you’ll streamline your in-house resources and protect your business from the ever-evolving threat landscape.