The recent cyber-attacks against Florida Water Plant and Colonial Pipeline are part of a growing trend. IT and OT are converging, rendering these environments more vulnerable than ever. As cyber-attacks increase against critical infrastructure and Scada systems, the focus on regulatory compliance grows. All well and good – we need to have standards to make sure our cybersecurity and data privacy system are built on a solid foundation. When organizations meet regulations, it can build a positive reputation with customers, vendors, and prospective clients. However, if regulatory compliance is not met and a data breach ensues, the organization can suffer a number of consequences ranging from financial penalties and reputational loss to sanctions and even potential jail time for executives.
Because regulatory compliance is always evolving and new standards introduced, implementation can be daunting. Managing compliance requires well-defined policies and action plans, which should include the following 5 steps.
Step 1: Designate a person or team to take charge of compliance.
Most organizations must comply with multiple yet disparate regulatory requirements pertaining to data security and privacy. The type of compliance may depend on the business function or it needs to be applied across the entire company. By designating a compliance administrator or team, there will be singular oversight of compliance management across the organization.
The administrator or team is responsible for coordinating the compliance program for business operations and each department, as well as handling any compliance issues as they arise. They are charged with on staying on top of any changes to current regulations and implementing any new laws. Having someone responsible for compliance management is a proactive measure that ensures the organization is able to address threats and risks in a timely and effective manner.
Step 2: Have departments work together on compliance and cybersecurity.
Meeting compliance requirements requires cooperation between the different departments across the organization. These departments often have competing priorities, so they operate in their silos, resulting in duplicated efforts and loss of productivity. The compliance administrator or team serves as bridge between the different departments and builds a unified front to handle compliance requirements. They can establish a communication channel that would enhance productivity and overall efficacy of the departments and the compliance program.
Step 3: Embed agility into your compliance program.
Organizations can enforce regulatory compliance mandates through a compliance program that ensures all requirements are continuously and comprehensively met. To be most effective, the compliance program must be built for agile and streamlined compliance. Flexibility can be embedded through a framework that help merge diverse and divergent regulatory requirements to common control groups. At the same time, the program must be robust enough to instill the enforce the same security regulations all third-party vendors and contractors.
Step 4: Ensure your employees understand the importance of compliance and security.
No matter their job function in the organization, every employee has a role to play in the organization’s regulatory compliance efforts. Project and product owners must accommodate regulatory changes and adapt requirements appropriately without impact to project timelines and cost. Security and compliance awareness training should be required for everyone in the organization. Training ensures all employees understand the importance of regulatory compliance and how it impacts their day-to-day jobs. Regular updates and trainings also prepare them to accept changes and adapt continuously to evolving risks.
Step 5: Automating regulatory compliance monitoring.
Without an integrated view of activities, tracking compliance across multiple business departments, functions and locations is nearly impossible. The compliance program should include automation designed to monitor for security and compliance across a variety of network infrastructures, devices and applications. Monitoring should be under the purview of the compliance administrator or team.
Implementing and managing regulatory compliance is a challenge. As organizations continue to adopt a digital transformation, meeting compliance regulations becomes both more difficult and more urgent. Putting together a solid compliance program, led by a designated administrator or team, goes a long way to improve the organization’s security posture. You can find out more about how Kudelski Security helps leaders protect their OT/ICS environments on our website.
- 5 Steps – Regulatory Compliance and Operational Technology - July 6, 2021
- The Complexity and Low-Security Maturity of the Modern Healthcare Ecosystem: Part 2 - October 3, 2019
- The Complexity and Low-Security Maturity of the Modern Healthcare Ecosystem - September 24, 2019