A Business Owner’s Guide to IT Security Standards

No matter the shape or size of your business, IT security should be your number one priority. The cost of cybercrime is currently soaring and is on track to top $10 trillion worldwide by 2025.

Much of this cost is being borne by businesses that are being targeted by sophisticated cyberattacks like never before.

In order to keep your company and your customers safe, adherence to IT security standards is essential. IT security frameworks go beyond simply changing your password.

They are approved, international standards designed to prevent all cyberattacks. Here are the network security standards that matter most to your company.

HIPAA

Woman doctor

If your organization handles any form of medical data, this one is non-negotiable. HIPAA is one of the core government IT security standards that all medical practices are required to follow.

It requires all patient data to be encrypted and imposes very strict procedures on how and when you can share that data with people outside of your organization.

HIPAA non-compliance can result in devastating financial penalties.

NIST

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory agency that belongs to the US Department of Commerce.

They issue the best security standards for all US companies. Although not legally required, companies should always follow NIST standards to ensure airtight security.

Compliance isn’t easy, which is why we recommend using a qualified compliance specialist to help you get your certificate. For example, you can use a NIST 800 171 Compliance team that will ensure full adherence on your behalf.

FINRA

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is in charge of drawing up cyber security standards for financial services providers. If your company is a member of FINRA, compliance is mandatory.

Their guidelines ensure that transaction data is safe from cybercriminals. FINRA guidelines also include fund protection practices. We highly recommend following FINRA if you offer any financial services.

PCI DSS

Credit cards

This is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. If your company handles credit or debit card payments, you should comply. PCI DSS is not a federal legal requirement. However, some states have adopted their standards into law.

These guidelines are all about how to safely store account-holder data on your servers and systems. You may even find yourself being audited if there is any reason to suspect non-compliance with PCI DSS.

GDPR

GDPR on keyboard

This one only applies if your company offers services to customers in the European Union. GDPR is a set of strict data protection standards that prevents you from passing on information to third parties without the consent of the customer.

Even if you are based in the US, the EU can and does fine companies that have not been careful with EU resident data. All international companies should follow GDPR.

Implement Robust IT Security Standards Today

IT security standards might sound scary, but they are there for a reason. By following these standards, you can keep users safe and avoid a lot of legal trouble in the future.

For more advice on how to future-proof your IT, we have got you covered. Make sure to check out our dedicated business Tech guides to learn more.

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