Regulatory compliance refers to the ongoing activities that ensure that your organization meets all the required laws, rules, guidelines, and regulations for your industry and geography. The mandates come from entities such as local, state, and federal governments; international bodies; or industry groups.
To maintain and prove compliance, you need to adopt a set of practices, procedures, internal policies, and processes. The requirements are constantly changing, so it’s important to continuously monitor the regulatory environment and adapt your practices.
Regulations across sectors and geographies.
Below are some of the most common regulations and whom they affected:
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—for-profit businesses that serve California residents and meet at least one of three criteria: gross annual revenues exceeding $25 million, collect (buy, sell, or receive) the data for at least 50,000 consumers, and derive at least half of annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal data
- General Data Protection Rule (GDPR)—all entities that collect and process personal data of European Union subjects (there are some additional criteria for entities with fewer than 250 employees)
- Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)—U.S. federal agencies, as well as state agencies that administer federal programs and certain types of government contractors and entities funded by federal grants
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)—U.S. healthcare providers, health plans, and clearinghouses that transmit electronic data; as well as business associates that carry out those activities on the providers’ behalf
- New York’s Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (SHIELD) Act—any entity or individual who owns or licenses New York state residents’ private digital data
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)—any entity around the globe that transmits, stores, or processes the data of payment cardholders
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)—all public companies, domestic and international, that trade on U.S. exchanges
Regulations and information security.
From the standpoint of IT and information security, GDPR and, more recently, CCPA brought deep implications. Industry and geography no longer matter—everyone serving customers in those regions is subject to the laws (with some limited exceptions). Other jurisdictions have since followed the example, considering their own major changes to privacy law.
Compliance is especially challenging for multi-state and multi-national organizations because of the sheer abundance of regulations and standards. To keep up with the changes and ensure you have the right controls, you need to find ways to streamline and automate compliance processes as much as possible.
Consequences of noncompliance.
Noncompliance with regulations often carries a high price tag. The average cost of a data breach for organizations with a high level of noncompliance is $5.65 million, compared to $3.35 million for those with a low level of compliance failure.[i]
The risks of failing to meet regulatory compliance range from fines and penalties to lawsuits and loss of business. Some regulations, such as HIPAA, also allow for criminal charges (including imprisonment) for the most serious violations.
Best practices for regulatory compliance.
To support and improve regulatory compliance within your organization, consider these best practices:
- Understand your industry’s regulatory environment and how it affects your operations.
- Conduct assessments to understand your risks, prioritize them, and create an action plan for mitigating the most critical risks.
- Review your security policies and procedures to ensure they align with the regulations that pertain to your organization and automate policy enforcement where possible.
- Conduct regular audits to learn how well your processes are working, even if you’re not required to audit by law.
- Provide ongoing training to all your employees, leaders, and other stakeholders. This may include training on specific regulations, such as GDPR, or in-depth training for your compliance team.
- Develop and implement a data governance framework to create accountability and ensure the confidentiality of your data.
- Create an effective communications plan to keep internal stakeholders informed and minimize your people risk.
Regulatory compliance and identity security.
One of the controls that some regulations require—especially those focused on privacy—is access to sensitive data. Organizations must not only restrict and manage access but also keep track of activities to prove compliance.
Identity management is a best practice that streamlines and automates access management activities, simplifying compliance. For example, an identity and management (IAM) solution:
- Incorporates identity governance so that you can grant access based on specific policies
- Helps manage access to highly privileged or sensitive accounts with privileged access management (PAM)
- Automates steps such as onboarding and offboarding, reducing the risk of unauthorized access to private customer data
Additionally, identity solutions are designed to be audit-ready, eliminating many hours of manual effort to prove regulatory compliance.
Streamline compliance activities.
The complex regulatory environment continues to evolve, adding to the burdens of maintaining compliance. By streamlining and automating processes, you can save costs and employee time while reducing your risk due to manual errors.
SailPoint offers identity solutions built for compliance with a host of regulations from around the globe, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and FISMA, to name a few. Learn how you can gain confidence in your compliance efforts with access policies.
[i] “Cost of a Data Breach Report,” IBM Security, 2021
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