Cybersecurity compliance is like a puzzle. To see the big picture for your company, you must place all of the pieces in the right place. The problem is that it’s not immediately obvious how many pieces there are.

Unfortunately, regulations aren’t delivered to small businesses in a series of implementable steps. In fact, they aren’t delivered at all. They require some proactive time and energy to make sure the right items/issues are kept in sight. So, for a small business with too much on its plate, it’s easy to overlook an important cybersecurity compliance regulation until it’s too late to avoid the non-compliance fines associated with it.

To stay on the right side of compliance, you need to:

Consider Your Industry

Organizations in different industries collect, process, and store vastly different types of data. They also operate differently from one another. Therefore, they’re required to comply with different industry-specific regulations to ensure this data is adequately protected.

For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) tells health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers how to protect individually identifiable health information.

And remember that compliance with HIPAA regulations doesn’t automatically guarantee compliance with other industry-specific regulations, such as the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), a mandatory third-party certification for United States Department of Defense contractors and subcontractors.

Consider Your Customers

Your customers’ physical location plays an increasingly important role in your cybersecurity compliance requirements. Many governments around the world have either already adopted or are planning to adopt various cybersecurity regulations for their citizens.

The European Union kicked off the trend in 2016 with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), requiring all entities that collect or process personal data from any EU resident to be GDPR compliant.

Since 2018, all businesses that collect or sell personal information of California residents must comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and many other states, including Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, are working on their CCPA-inspired regulations.

Consider Your Partners

Your own cybersecurity situation isn’t the only factor that determines your ability to achieve and maintain compliance. Your business partners and third-party vendors can be turned into Trojan horses and used to get past your defenses. Basically, the benefits of being about to outsource and staying interconnected also carry big risks.

The Ponemon Institute’s third annual “Data Risk in the Third-Party Ecosystem” study revealed that 59% experienced a data breach caused by a third party or vendor.

Third-party data breach protection is a huge topic, but it essentially boils down to avoiding partners that don’t take cybersecurity seriously. This is where knowing your business partners is vital. Third-party security assessment questionnaires are extremely helpful in telling apart the reliable partners from those that are best avoided.

Consider Your Employees

The way we work is constantly changing and evolving. Many small businesses now face additional compliance challenges caused by everything from Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies to hybrid work arrangements.

These employee-related compliance challenges can be tricky to overcome because too many employee restrictions in the name of cybersecurity can cause productivity to go down (not to mention unhappy workers).

Cybersecurity awareness training with a focus on compliance can help employees realize how far-reaching even the smallest action can have on the entire organization. Of course, even highly trained employees can make mistakes, and that’s were your well-designed policies and controls take stage.

Consider Your Data

As mentioned above, the type of data you collect, process, and store determines which cybersecurity compliance regulations that you’re required to comply with to avoid getting into hot water.

What also matters is how this data is stored. Cloud storage solutions have become immensely popular because of their convenience, cost-effectiveness, and scalability, but not all of them comply with regulations like HIPAA, HITECH, or PCI DSS.

Before you move any sensitive data from local servers to the cloud, you should clearly understand which regulations the cloud storage provider needs to meet. Microsoft, for instance, complies with around 100 national, regional, and industry-specific regulations, making it a great choice for most small businesses that take cybersecurity compliance seriously.

Consider a Security Partner

It’s obvious why small businesses might see the list above as somewhat overwhelming. This is why cybersecurity advisor services and IT compliance assessments are on the rise. Luckily, the IT business world is watching the growing sea of regulations and they’re responding with proportionate services.

To make sure you don’t waste precious money or time, consider working with a security partner like Help Desk Cavalry. We can talk through the current regulations that impact you, draw out which actions need to be completed now and which can wait for a future date, and create an achievable plan that not only makes sure you’re compliant but sustains it. Contact us now to get the conversation started.