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Paving the Way to Security Compliance

When rolling out a new security strategy, there are several factors you need to consider to ensure compliance

For a business to survive amid ever-evolving security threats, it’s essential to adopt a proactive approach.

Research from Thales highlights that 65% of businesses in the U.S. have suffered from a security breach at some stage, with 36% having faced one in 2018. And it’s not hard to see why. From hacking to phishing, malware to social engineering, there are more security threats out there than ever before, and more intricate methods are being developed every day. Combined with the introduction of GDPR in 2018, which means companies have an even greater duty to protect their EU-based customers’ data, few businesses can afford the repercussions of a data breach.

When developing a new security strategy and implementing it, it’s important to plan things out extensively. Failure to do so is likely to lead to frustration, increased costs and wasted time. To make the process of overhauling your business’s security system as smooth as possible, we’ve detailed five essential steps you need to take.

Get Stakeholders and Developers Onboard 

Before you can begin the process of implementing a new strategy for security compliance, you need to stress its importance to the relevant parties. If stakeholders and developers aren’t on board with the idea of putting a new security framework in place, then it isn’t likely to happen. They could be against it for several reasons, but most likely the associated costs, both in terms of time and money. It’s not difficult to see why they may want to prioritize projects that are likely to lead to increased revenue.

Speaking to sales leaders can help identify where business was lost historically and sway business leaders toward the most impactful initiative. Showing a security program as a product feature and something that can act as a future revenue driver will really focus senior executive minds. This is especially pertinent in a regulated industry or when competitors have an advantage with their security certifications. Sales and product can be huge allies when gaining business support.

You need to highlight the long-term benefits of developing a comprehensive security strategy. While it may not generate revenue directly, it will help you to avoid the costs associated with a data breach. Research from Accenture highlights that the average cost of a cyberattack for an organization is $13 million, which can be difficult to bounce back from. There’s a reason why security has become an essential part of so many business models!

Carry Out An Audit

Prior to deciding which areas of your business to focus on when it comes to security, you need to carry out an audit. This will help highlight any weak spots in your organization and decide where you should focus your efforts for security compliance.

A security audit can be carried out either internally or by an external agency. Both methods have their benefits and we recommend looking into each before deciding which is best for your organization. The results of the audit will form the basis of your overall security strategy, helping you decide which tools and policies are needed to stay protected against cyberattacks. Consider an internal audit for gap analysis. Not only is it cost-effective, but it also is a great way to upscale and retain staff.

Identify Any Showstoppers

Whenever a large project is undertaken, there are likely to be showstoppers (things that halt its progress). Identifying these and keeping on top of them is essential for ensuring your security strategy is implemented in a timely manner.

To avoid showstoppers, we recommend creating a detailed road map and sharing it with all who are necessary to the process. If everyone is aware of what the project requires, both in terms of budget and the efforts of specific teams and departments, then it is less likely to hit any roadblocks. Momentum, once lost, can be difficult to regain.

This is a good time to bring in a skilled project manager to lead the effort, report to the stakeholders on project achievements and move your business case forward.

Select the Right Security Framework 

Devising a security framework from the ground up takes a lot of time. There are more things to consider than is possible to list and if you aren’t an expert on the subject, that list could lead to headaches.

Because of this, we recommend adhering to an existing security certification such as ISO 27001. The framework’s strong reputation ensures that it is comprehensive and will provide certification that will reflect positively on your business. Having ISO 27001 certification will show customers that you’re committed to protecting their personal data, instilling trust in them.

ISO compliance is a globally recognized framework that shows compliance over a three-year period. This includes external surveillance audits, internal audits and ongoing business engagement. For a complete picture, it is worth contrasting ISO 27001 with the U.S.-favored SOC2 type 2 certification: static analysis of what you have achieved in the last year.

Construct a Project Management Team

Our final recommendation: Take the time to put together a team not only to manage the project but also to oversee security in the organization going forward. Having a dedicated team of experts will ensure that someone is always keeping an eye on things. When a breach happens, identifying it and responding quickly is essential.

When selecting members of your security team, focus the security people concentrating on security and project managers on leading the effort. Expecting your security team to manage the project in terms of planning, communication, risk management and cost control is counterproductive; it is best to assign each team member with tasks in which they are skilled.

Concluding Thoughts

The methods you use to implement your security strategy that aligns with your business strategy are arguably as important as your business strategy itself and there are many different factors you must consider. If it isn’t rolled out in a calculated, thought-out manner, it can easily lead to compliance and security issues in your organization, causing confusion among shareholders and employees.

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