The business operations digital world is prone to security risks. Reducing human cyber risk is impossible without an IT compliance policy. Here are 7 things to consider.
Reducing human cyber risk in your business is more important now than ever. And it’s because most organisations now depend on digital services.
Companies rely on taking orders and receiving payments online. Even brick-and-mortar organisations utilise software for order management and back-office accounting.
In such tech-driven environments, a lack of proper security measures jeopardises the business position. If their IT systems get abused, their technology often becomes a source of negative publicity and damaging brand scandal.
At Cirrus IT Services we understand that the only way to avoid this possibility is to create a strong IT compliance policy – with a focus on training staff – to reduce human cyber risk.
This article will cover key considerations when developing your IT compliance policy.
WHAT TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR IT COMPLIANCE POLICY
FACTOR #1 – YOUR PEOPLE, PROCESSES, AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY
IT compliance is more than just digital technology. It involves your people and processes. The reality is that many organisations focus too heavily on tech, resulting in failed audits due to their failure to consider the human cyber risk and the processes. This makes the compliance world more complex.
Follow the correct approach to help ensure the necessary standards.
FACTOR #2 – RELEVANT LAWS AND REGULATIONS
There are the relevant laws and regulations that govern IT compliance requirements.
You can’t start your compliance process without understanding the laws and regulations applicable to your organisation.
You should also look at the controls that apply to these laws and regulations. They are the process-oriented means to adhere to your policies.
There are various industry and government standards that specify control objectives for information and related IT, standards, and payments.
These can have a massive bearing on your sector. Therefore, make sure to familiarise yourself with all relevant controls.
FACTOR #3 – RAISING EMPLOYEE AWARENESS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE COMPLIANCE POLICY
At Cirrus ITS we focus on the biggest threat to your data security by offering training for employees. Their actions can not only have a huge impact on cybersecurity, but also they can act as your first line of defence. For instance, proper software upload, controlled sharing, policies on downloads, and correct storing can all help to control critical information.
The reality is, many employees opt for insecure data transfer methods because they are convenient. They are very familiar with tools that they use for personal emails, consumer-grade collaboration apps, and instant messaging. All of these are targets for cybercriminals.
To control your business data, your employees must learn and understand where various threats originate from. They should especially understand the actions that can give rise to vulnerabilities to reduce the human cyber risk. Becoming the victim that brings down their employer is a real possibility without a mandatory IT compliance policy.
Making correct file sharing a top priority and investing in education training demonstrates the organisation emphasis of IT compliance. Your efforts can help team members to engage and adopt best practices in the field of cyber security.
In your training plan, include several key topics:
- How insecure file transfer exposes your company to risks
- Recognising phishing scams
- Precautions to exercise before downloading or using applications
- Creating, using and when to change strong passwords
FACTOR #4 – HOW YOUR IT COMPLIANCE ALIGNS WITH THE COMPANY SECURITY POLICY
Aligning IT compliance with business operations involves understanding the culture of your organisation. For example, at Cirrus IT Services we have an environment that revolves around processes NOT ad-hoc ways of doing things.
Enterprises are best off issuing in-depth policies to ensure compliance.
By contrast, companies that have ad-hoc ways require detective work to address specific risks. Auditors need to understand why you’ve deployed a particular control or decided to face certain risks.
FACTOR #5 – UNDERSTANDING THE IT ENVIRONMENT
IT environments are generally a particular type:
- Homogeneous environments consist of standardised vendors and configurations. They’re largely consistent IT deployments with clear documentation.
- Heterogeneous environments use a wide range of security and compliance applications, versions, and technologies.
Compliance costs are usually lower in homogeneous environments. Fewer vendors and technology add-ons provide less complexity and fewer policies. As a result, the price of security and compliance per system isn’t as high as with heterogeneous solutions.
Regardless of your environment, your policy needs to appropriately tackle new technologies, including virtualisation and cloud computing.
FACTOR #6 – ESTABLISHING ACCOUNTABILITY
IT policy compliance doesn’t function without establishing accountability. It entails defining organisational responsibilities and roles that determine the assets individuals need to protect. It also establishes who has the power to make crucial decisions.
Accountability begins with senior management, the best way to guarantee involvement is to cast IT policy compliance programs in terms of organisational departments human risks instead of technology.
As for your IT providers like us, we have two pivotal roles:
- Data/system owners – The owner is in your management team. They’re accountable for protecting and managing information.
- Data/system custodians – Custodial roles can entail several duties, including system administration, security analysis, and internal auditing.
These responsibilities are essential for IT policy compliance. For example, auditors need to carefully verify compliance activity execution. Otherwise, there’s no way to ensure the implementation is going according to plan.
FACTOR #7 – AUTOMATION OF THE COMPLIANCE PROCESS
As your IT continually evolves and grows, internal auditors can review just a small number of user accounts and system configurations. Automation is the only way to ensure you can evaluate systems regularly.
BREEZE THROUGH BUSINESS IT COMPLIANCE
Setting up your well-designed IT compliance can make a world of difference in terms of business security. It might take a while, but ultimately it keeps your business reputation intact and allows you to avoid penalties and fines.
We’ve mentioned several aspects that need special attention. And one of the most significant is your IT provider.
At Cirrus ITS, we want to live up to the potential of the tech you choose. You’re bound to face compliance issues. This can cause tremendous stress and halt your operations if you don’t get the process of human cyber risk management right..
Luckily, there might be an easy way out of your predicament. Schedule a quick chat with us to discuss your IT problems and find out how to get more from Cirrus ITS.
This blog article by Cirrus IT Service is adapted with permission from The Technology Press.