Compliance and Information Security

Aug 16, 2019516

That investing in information security is important (almost) everyone knows. No one-minded company stops thinking about keeping their internal data safe from intrusion and leaks. But not all of them think about another essential aspect of information security: compliance. In fact, only 3% of companies have good compliance practices.

Having a good compliance policy goes beyond the company's internal policies and procedures. It is about being in accordance with rules, ordinances and laws that govern a given market and that are valid for society in general. So it's important to understand what compliance is, what it involves, what it does not involve, and what it takes for your business to comply with those requirements.


Here's how to ensure your company is up to date with compliance best practices.


What is compliance?


Simply explaining, compliance is to be in accordance with a set of pre-established rules. Nowadays this term is used to evaluate if a company is following all the laws, norms and regulations of its sector of action and the country in which it operates. This is important because it ensures that the business is being done in accordance with the law and avoids the risk of fine, punishment or even closure of the company. In the specific case of information technology, compliance concerns data security, access policies, possible fraud and technological innovations. It is nothing more than one of the branches of so-called corporate governance, specific to information technology.


Another important distinction to make is between compliance and IT governance. The latter is composed of the practices of IT managers to better manage the technological resources in terms of efficiency, costs, user experience. That is, align these instruments with business objectives.


Risks of not having a compliance policy


There are many risks to companies that do not comply with local legislation. All of them can cause serious problems. So it is important to know what the potential gaps are. Firstly, the so-called Shadow TI can be risky. It is the uncontrolled use of programs, services and devices, without the company having approved them. When this situation exists, there is no way to control what kind of information is being exposed.


An employee may decide to use a cloud service to store customer data. There is no way for IT staff to make sure this information is secure. And there is still a risk that someone's privacy may be violated. Or maybe a collaborator uses their cell phone to access internal systems, but this device does not conform to internal security standards. There is one more point of risk, as the device is far from the reach of IT professionals. This factor must be considered before allowing employees, employees, or visitors to use their infrastructure from their own devices. There are a number of strategies to deal with this, including signing up for liability if someone needs to connect to your networks with a strange device.


Is your company up to date with software licenses? Do all your employees use legitimate versions of the programs they use to work? It may seem exaggerated, but using "pirated" versions of applications and software can cause great damage, as it could lead to fines and penalties for copyright infringement.


How to combine compliance and information security?


There are a few strategies that can ensure your business meets both compliance requirements and internal and external information security requirements. First, identify and make a list of what laws, regulations, policies and rules need to be followed. They may be the laws of the two countries where your company is, the rules of the market in which you operate, the internal rules of the company (which includes your policies).


For each such set, it is necessary to create controls so that the determinations are fulfilled. The company needs to define what they will be and the consequences of noncompliance with them. From these elements, it is necessary to establish a security architecture. It will organize the whole structure of the company according to the devices, platforms and programs used. Once created, it needs to be respected. Finally, the communication of these rules and structures must be communicated to all employees and collaborators. Managers should be aware of their responsibility to ensure that this whole framework is constantly being respected and evaluated.


To ensure that these policies are met, a good option is to implement monitoring tools. They generate information that can be used not only in the field of compliance, but also to improve efficiency and provide a better user experience.

Related Articles