From time to time, businesses of all sizes face an unstoppable force of change. Sometimes, this force comes suddenly like an earthquake and reshapes the entire business landscape—just like the COVID-19 pandemic did in 2020. More commonly, however, the force begins as a small ripple and gradually grows into a tsunami.
One such tsunami is currently on the horizon in the form of cybersecurity compliance regulations, and no business that has integrated digital technology into it’s operation will be able to escape it. And by “integrated digital technology”, we mean any company that uses any combination of computers, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, digital cameras, social media platforms and networks, software applications, the Internet, etc to run their business.
The Digital Rush Is Leaving Many Businesses Exposed
There was a time when small businesses didn’t have to worry about cybersecurity because they stored documents inside file cabinets and processed them without the help of computers. Now, most documents are stored digitally using local and cloud storage solutions, and they’re processed with a growing arsenal of digital tools.
It’s estimated that most departments are empowered by anywhere from 40 to 60 different applications, from work staples like Microsoft Office to customer relationship management software like Salesforce to project management tools like Trello. All this technology has enabled small businesses to be more productive than ever before, but it has also exposed them to dangerous cyber threats.
In 2021, there were 1,862 breaches, an increase of 754 over the previous year and 356 over the previous record. The breaches impacted nearly 294 million people and exposed more than 18.5 million records.
To reverse the tide of costly cybersecurity incidents, industry bodies, governments, and international organizations are trying to encourage private and public sector organizations to improve their cybersecurity by passing new compliance standards.
There’s No Hiding from Cybersecurity Compliance
Small businesses rarely have the time or energy to plan for the future because they’re busy dealing with present challenges. That’s why it’s still possible to find—for example—business owners and decision-makers who are not aware of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which creates many legal obligations for companies that do business in California or with it’s residents.
Likewise not all contractor’s that have worked, are working, or would like to work with the Department of Defense are familiar with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), an upcoming verification mechanism designed to ensure the implementation of cybersecurity processes and practices.
But it’s impossible to hide from cybersecurity compliance, and ignorance isn’t a valid excuse either. Small businesses that violate the CCPA can be fined up to $2,500 for each violation and $7,500 for each intentional violation, and contractors can say goodbye to government contracts unless they align their cybersecurity with one of the three CMMC levels.
All businesses that want to remain competitive will have to sooner or later face and overcome today’s cybersecurity compliance challenges. Those that decide to do so sooner rather than later can expect to be in a much better position than those who decide to stick their heads in the sand and go on as if their business processes have never been digitalized and exposed to dangerous cyber threats.
Being Cybersecurity Compliant is Probably Easier than You Think
When small businesses become aware of their cybersecurity compliance obligations, they sometimes panic as if they were an insurmountable obstacle, but that’s not really the case.
These same businesses don’t realize two important things: First, many industry-specific, government-imposed, and international compliance standards overlap to a large degree, so a business that aligns it’s cybersecurity processes and practices with one standard usually doesn’t have to do much extra work to align them with another one.
Second, small businesses don’t have to face cybersecurity compliance challenges alone. They can find a security partner like Help Desk Cavalry and together build and implement a comprehensive cybersecurity compliance program. Contact us now and so we can explain how easy the first steps really are.