Before writing this article, I typed the term ‘security hack’ into Google. And the results? Over 160,000 articles. But you probably know this already if you work in the public sector or regulated industries such as utilities, legal or financial services.
This article highlights five ways to take your information security compliance to the next level. These principles are not simply about protecting yourself against prosecution from information security regulators, but they can also safeguard against reputational or financial damage to your organization.
- Information Security Policy Compliance Training
Every organization is obliged by law to have an information security compliance policy in place that provides a range of steps and measures to be followed and adhered to. If these policies are not in place and in practice, regulators reserve the right to prosecute your business.
But compliance is not just about having a policy in place – it needs to be a living, breathing part of the organization, and the most direct route to this is by providing formal compliance training. Training needs to be addressed at all staff levels, and should be updated regularly to take new risks or new responses into account.
- Access Prevention
Prevention is better than cure, so you need to constantly focus on the security measures you put in place to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data. This could be anything from updating your level of encryption to improving the storage security of administrative passwords. Access allowance and rules should also be made clear to all employees as part of their regular Information Security Compliance Training programs.
- Carry Out Regular Audit Reports
The threats to security are continuously changing and evolving, so it’s important that your organization carries out regular audit reports to assess the robustness of your information security – and the measures you’re taking to keep it up-to-date. If it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed – so having an accurate audit at regular intervals allows you to decide ‘what comes next’ in terms of your overall data security plan.
- Response and Remediation Plan
Plan for when a security breach will take place – rather than if it takes place. That way, you’re prepared for the worst, and can also have a detailed response and remediation plan in place. How effectively and how quickly you respond to a breach can define how serious your organization is about data security and protecting the reputation of your business. Your compliance training program should prepare employees for potential breaches and highlight the importance of being on high alert. Cyber-attacks on data security are now at an all-time high so being extra vigilant is essential.
- Have Insurance In Place
If you accept the premise that all organizations will eventually succumb to a security breach, it follows that you need to have formal insurance measures in place – both for your business and for any of your customers who may be impacted by the breach. Response expense coverage can help to quickly restore confidence in your organization through notification to impacted customers or clients, public relations costs, legal and liability expenses.
The repercussions of a data security breach could far outweigh the cost, time and effort involved in implementing an effective information security strategy. Taking precautions to safeguard the data of you and your customers is a matter of protecting the integrity, reputation and ongoing success of your business.
Is information security a priority for your organization? If not, it should be!
John is Marketing Manager for Interactive Services, an award-winning developer of compliance training solutions for the world’s leading organizations. Our Compliance Learning Center is an innovative compliance training solution that enables client organizations to access all of their employee compliance training content one platform – Information Security, Insider Trading, AML, ABC, Workplace Conduct and more.