Security and compliance are two sides of the same coin, although they are often seen as adversaries. The truth is, much like the 1980s power siblings, the Wonder Twins (whose powers only functioned when their fingers touched), they work hand-in-hand to shore up your information security better than any other combination.
Compliance is Key
Regulatory compliance is instantiated as a gateway to security through following relevant protocols. In particular, if you conduct credit card transactions of a certain volume, then PCI DSS helps let other vendors and customers know how secure their interactions with you are.
HIPAA, somewhat similarly, protects sensitive patient data (when the healthcare industry is involved) and network, physical and process security when other industries are concerned.
The point is, compliance lets businesses know that you take security seriously, which grows the confidence that business partners and consumers have in your services. The reliability conferred is similar to creditworthiness; it’s a measure of the responsibility you take in your infrastructure and business practices.
Security: One Half of Your Superpower
Much like our previously mentioned Wonder Twins, focusing on security alone, although certainly worthwhile, can never get you to your full potential.
Security, in particular, concerns the protection of your database, network and hardware. You can use a triumvirate of firewalls, encryption options and passwords for access control. Not only can attempts be malicious, but they can also result from employee negligence – as such, human error must also be minimized.
Compliance as the Other Half of Your Superpower
Once you’ve heralded the importance and implementation of detection, prevention and the terms of your response to cyber-threats, you need compliance to help bring up the rear.
Depending on the type of business you run, compliance can come in the form of COBIT, the fore-mentioned PCI DSS, ISO, HIPAA, NIST and others. The various ones available help your company stay abreast of transactional requirements, best practices in network security and environmental protection regulations.
The compliance paradigm that really homes in on network security is PCI DSS. The manuals – available online and off – provide your business with detailed instructions on securing your customer’s information. When coupled with the risk-assessment outlook of HIPAA, you can easily decide which level of security is warranted by the size of your company, its transactional volume and the products and services it offers.
Specific Actions Your Wonder Twins Can Take
Let us now see how the wonder twins of security and compliance work together to buttress your system against external (and internal, for that matter) threats:
- Analyzing the Gap: This entails taking an accounting of your security vulnerabilities as pertains to misuse of company information. Compliance shores this up specifically; there are software tools available that help you control this aspect even as your business grows.
- Continuous Monitoring: This is as straightforward as it reads – using tools to monitor your system every step of the way provides you with the ability to locate threats before they’re fully formed or before they do significant damage. By tracking your level of compliance, as well as how it’s progressing as you implement it, you become well-positioned to respond to just about any development.
- Closing the Communication Gap – Shared Documentation: This is all about becoming digitized. Move your spreadsheets to a shared automated platform to which everyone has access. This allows high-level employees and those on the ground floor to be apprised of important developments – especially as pertains to compliance and security.
To learn more about how Tripwire can help with your compliance and security needs, click here.
About the Author: Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity’s success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.