As a company that is not currently mandated to be compliant with designated cybersecurity frameworks, it may seem superfluous to invest time and money into gaining compliance with the regulations of your field. With standards at varying levels of security, from FedRAMP to StateRAMP, HITRUST, and more, compliance is looked at by many security personnel as an important or necessary component of protecting cloud-based applications and data, but it has often not been seen as the valuable proof for IT security that it truly is. Whether or not your company is required to adhere to a regulations standard, demonstrating compliance is effective and convincing evidence of IT security for your customers and contractors.
Companies that claim to be secure should be certain this claim is not nominal only. How can your customers be convinced their data is truly protected? There is one sure-fire answer: Compliance. When compliance is achieved, specific steps have been taken, and detailed assessments are met. These quality controls ensure security is being appropriately implemented. And the adherence to these controls demonstrates your company’s commitment to the protection of client data.
Demonstrating Information Security
When it comes to cloud-based information, security frameworks provide extensive standards and controls which guide IT professionals in safeguarding online data. And while it may seem obvious that larger companies should have robust security measures in place, even small companies can benefit from implementing compliance. For example, consider something as simple as password-protected logins. Passwords are a commonplace way to protect data, but how can you ensure you are doing the utmost to secure your employees’ and customers’ passwords? Again, compliance is the answer.
The NIST SP 800-53, from which many compliance frameworks draw their security controls, lays out specific guidelines for password scenarios by stating complying entities must enforce limited log on attempts within a designated timeframe and lock accounts for assigned periods or until released by an administrator when a specific number of invalid login attempts is exceeded. Compliance with a cybersecurity framework, such as HITRUST and StateRAMP, requires implementing these industry best practices from guidelines such as NIST. Because of this, compliant companies can be certain they have covered even the most mundane details, such as password protections. Becoming compliant takes the arbitrary nature out of security. There is no guesswork because the specifics are laid out. All the bases have been covered. When it comes to being certain of data protection, compliance is one of the best markers to judge by. IT security is demonstrated in this manner.
FedRAMP, for example, dictates how information can be accessed in its “Access Control.” Within this standard are specifications for the protection of data being accessed remotely, via mobile devices, through wireless access, and external information systems. All of which are now commonplace in the world of remote work. If you are one of the numerous entities whose employees and contractors now work off-site, how can you be sure you are protecting your company’s information in all these situations? When compliance is implemented and managed, you are assured your security is in line with the controls stated and is being monitored regularly to ensure you stay compliant and up to date on the latest parameters.
Lastly, let’s look at one of the newest compliance standards, StateRAMP. Many of StateRAMP’s requirements are pulled from the NIST framework, as mentioned above. Additionally, there is reciprocity between StateRAMP and FedRAMP. Having these controls in place allows your company to work with a greater spectrum of organizations by demonstrating compliance and showcasing your commitment to the protection of sensitive data.
If you are still wondering why you might want to implement compliance for your company, the StateRAMP Security Assessment Framework sums up the answer clearly, “StateRAMP aims to promote cybersecurity standards, policies, and best practice so that state and local governments can validate the security of their third-party IaaS, PaaS, and/or SaaS solutions which process, transmit, and/or store the government’s data.” This validation of security is one of the chief reasons why compliance is paramount to any organization that wishes to demonstrate the strength of its IT security. Compliance is precisely the proof needed to assure clients and contractors they are working with a trustworthy organization.
Additionally, compliance assessments require companies to analyze where they are most vulnerable and what risks they may be exposed to, thus allowing them to close the gap and prepare in advance to defend against these potential breaches. This forward-thinking can prevent loss and further demonstrate the integrity of your company’s defense systems.
With over 300 plus requirements in many of the cybersecurity frameworks, such as FedRAMP, HITRUST, and StateRAMP, becoming compliant can seem a daunting task for companies who are not currently mandated to adhere to some sort of security standard. By working with Project Hosts, the burden on IT staff can be minimized.
While the time and effort required to become compliant may be a drawback for some, the potential loss of time, money, and public trust is a far greater risk to those who fail to ensure adequate data security. In partnership with Project Hosts, your company can mitigate much of the tedious work of becoming compliant. Project Hosts’ engineers specialize in implementing controls and assisting companies with their overall security needs. Project Hosts is committed to streamlining the process and helping its clients achieve compliance, so they may confidently demonstrate the security.