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A Beginner’s Guide to IT Compliance

IT security and compliance is a serious concern for many businesses and organizations. So what does IT compliance mean? Let’s take a deep dive into IT compliance. While this topic extends beyond the scope of a single page, there’s no need to worry.

This article has short summaries and links to more detailed information about compliance and data security.

What Is Compliance and Why Is It Important?

In IT, compliance is a set of digital security requirements and practices. Ensuring that a company’s business processes are secure and that unauthorized parties cannot access any sensitive data involves following compliance requirements. Sometimes compliance is a legal requirement for a certain industry (HIPAA), and sometimes it’s an IT security standard (ISO).

The cost of non-compliance can be very high. It depends on the framework, violation, and other factors. Let’s take GDPR as an example. Serious violations can result in a fine of up to 20 million euros or 4% of the violator’s total global turnover. The higher amount will be applied as a fine.

Here’s a more detailed insight into the consequences of non-compliance:

The Financial Impact of Non-Compliance On Businesses

To comply with the rules, you need to implement security measures. These measures are necessary to protect your data from unauthorized access, exposure, cyberattacks, and other security threats.

By following good IT security practices, you can obey laws and protect your business from the harm caused by data breaches. Following good IT security practices helps you comply with laws and safeguard your business from the damage caused by data breaches. Besides, being compliant is a good way to improve trust between your business and your customers.

Achieving compliance doesn’t guarantee that you will not face a security incident. Still, to become compliant, a company implements many good security practices that will reduce the probability of a breach. It is always reasonable to continue improving your security, even if formal compliance requirements have been achieved.

IT Compliance Standards and Regulations

The regulations you need to comply with depending on the industry, geographical location, and other factors. Let’s take a look at some of the common compliance regulations and standards.

GDPR

GDPR protects the security and privacy of data belonging to EU citizens and residents. So, if your company operates with such data, GDPR may be applied to you (even if your company isn’t located in the European Union).

Here’s more reading about GDPR:


HIPAA

HIPAA—IT compliance standard for the healthcare industry. HIPAA regulates how medical organizations protect the sensitive information of their patients. To be HIPAA compliant, you have to ensure that all health data is secure and confidential.

Read more about HIPAA compliance here


NIST SP 800-171

Consulting firms, suppliers, and other businesses working with federal or state agencies need to follow NIST compliance. This standard highlights various aspects of data management, including access control, risk assessment, system integrity, and many others.

Read more about NIST compliance here


CCPA

If you have customers from California, you may need to comply with The California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA. This law protects personal data like name, email address, phone number, and other information that can help to identify a consumer or a household. When do you need to comply with this law? Read our article dedicated to CCPA:

CCPA compliance checklist


PCI-DSS

Payment processors and other financial services providers may need to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). This standard helps to prevent credit card fraud and ensures that financial information is protected.

PCI-DSS compliance checklist 


SOX

Sarbanes-Oxley Act, often referred to as SOX, regulates how an organization handles its financial information. As modern companies use computer systems to store their information, it’s reasonable to talk about SOX compliance in IT. To stay compliant, you have to ensure that the financial data of your company is stored securely and access to it is controlled.

SOX Compliance Checklist for IT


ISO 27001

ISO 27001 focuses on information security management systems (ISMS). Following ISO standards helps you to manage the security of financial information, intellectual property, employee details, or other sensitive data. Following ISO standards is a common practice that not only ensures that your data is safe but also reassures your clients that their data is protected.


SOC 2

If you provide SaaS solutions, you may need to meet SOC 2 requirements. SOC 2 is an audit that ensures a company has security measures in place to protect customer data.

Preparing yourself for SOC 2 assessment? Here’s SOC 2 Compliance Checklist.


What Should You Consider While Developing an IT Compliance Program for Your Company?

First and foremost, you have to understand which compliance regulations apply to you based on the individual features of your company and its operations. After that, take a look at the data protection measures you implement. This will help you to determine potential vulnerabilities to fix and cybersecurity software to install.

Though each compliance regulation is unique, there are some common data security issues, including:

  • Access and identity control
  • Control over data sharing
  • Incident response
  • Disaster recovery
  • Data loss prevention measures
  • Protection against malware
  • Corporate security policies
  • Monitoring and reporting

Addressing these issues is a good way to start your journey toward improving your security, decreasing security risks, and becoming compliant.

Cloud Computing and IT Compliance

IT rules apply to all digital data, including info in cloud platforms like G Suite and Office 365. Implementing the best practices of cloud data security and compliance will help you to protect your business-critical information.

If you deal with cloud data, we highly recommend reading our comprehensive insight into compliance in the cloud. It covers compliance in general and G Suite and Office 365 specifically.

To ensure your data is protected according to the highest standards, you must use specialized cybersecurity software. SpinOne is precisely the software tool for that.

How Do We Help You to Protect Your Data and Meet IT Compliance Requirements?

SpinOne is a cybersecurity solution for G Suite and Office 365 that includes cloud backup functionality with advanced ransomware protection algorithms. We help you to:

  • Back up your cloud data and ensure it is safe from human error and cyberattacks. Our automated backup helps to both protect your data and save your time
  • Restore your data from a backup with a 99.9% success rate. That means your data should always be accessible and properly backed up
  • Control backup versions so you have several backups to recover from
  • Keep your data encrypted in transit and at rest
  • Perform analytics and reports, which is important for both security and compliance
  • Protect your data from ransomware.

IT compliance

For G Suite users, we have additional audit functionality that helps you to:

  • Monitor your G Suite data behavior, including data download and sharing
  • Control access to your data by monitoring app permissions and user login activity for potential abnormalities
  • Perform risk assessment for SaaS apps connected to your G Suite account
  • Perform app whitelisting/blacklisting
  • Implement data, app, and domain security policies
  • Identify connected devices

Our tools help you to address compliance requirements by protecting your data and giving you more visibility and control over it. Our solution implements the highest privacy and security controls, audited in our SOC 2 reports.

Have more questions about SpinOne?

Get a Demo Now

Davit Davit Asatryan Director of Product
About Author

Davit Asatryan is the Director of Product at Spin.AI

He is responsible for executing product strategy by overseeing the entire product lifecycle, with a focus on developing cutting-edge solutions to address the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats.

He has been with the company for over 5 years and specializes in SaaS Security, helping organizations battle Shadow IT, ransomware, and data leak issues.

Prior to joining Spin.AI, Davit gained experience by working in fintech startups and also received his Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley. In his spare time, Davit enjoys traveling, playing soccer and tennis with his friends, and watching sports of any kind.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of IT compliance?

IT compliance varies depending on the industry, geographical location, organization’s size and complexity, and other factors. One organization could have several compliance regulations and standards to follow. For example, a single California-based service provider that handles healthcare data, works with payments, maintains electronic records, and has clients somewhere from the European Union should at least comply with HIPAA, PCI DSS, SOC 2, SOX, CCPR, and GDPR. The IT compliance in such a situation is adherence to a set of policies and procedures outlined in each of these regulations and standards. All these documents differ but may also have requirements that overlap. Common compliance requirements for most of the regulations and standards include:

  • risk management;
  • access and identity control;
  • control over data sharing;
  • incident response;
  • disaster recovery;
  • data loss prevention;
  • protection against malware;
  • corporate security policies;
  • monitoring and reporting.
What is the role of IT in compliance?

IT compliance plays an important role in ensuring an organization’s information technology (IT) systems and processes are aligned with applicable laws, regulations, standards, and internal policies. There are three main areas where IT plays a special role. First, IT compliance helps to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, alteration, or destruction. Second, it helps reduce the risk of reputational damages and financial losses in cases of data breaches or other security incidents. Finally, IT compliance helps support an organization’s brand image and raises chances for new contract awards.

What is the difference between IT audit and IT compliance?

IT audit and IT compliance are related concepts but their objectives differ.

IT compliance involves implementing policies, controls, and processes that align with these requirements. The primary focus of IT compliance is to ensure that the organization’s IT operations meet legal and regulatory requirements, industry standards, and best practices.

An IT audit is a systematic examination and evaluation of an organization’s IT systems, processes, and controls to assess their efficiency and alignment with established regulations and standards. The primary goal of an IT audit is to identify risks and weaknesses in an organization’s IT environment and suggest potential improvements.