As the global economic landscape evolves and a company grows, industry regulations seem to tighten, and compliance costs increase. This is especially so for institutions in the financial, health, and technology space that handle sensitive customer data.
These compliance regulations are designed to standardize respective industry practices to safeguard consumers. In light of global digital connectivity and the vast amounts of consumer data organizations have, data security incurs the highest compliance cost for businesses.
Though compliance requirements and costs seem to increase by the day, the cost of non-compliance is far higher. In addition to the fines and penalties that come with non-compliance, operations will also be disrupted, resulting in loss of revenue.
Most businesses meet regulatory requirements to avoid the hassle of non-compliance. However, there are more benefits to being compliant. They include:
- Helps you improve business operations
- Boosts brand credibility
- Reduces legal concerns
Compliance requirements cover aspects such as production and data security, among others. Read on to learn about the common compliance certifications for businesses.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
In 2004, Master card, Visa, JCB International, American Express, and Discover Financial developed the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). These security standards were designed to protect credit and debit card users from fraud and data theft.
This compliance scheme is governed by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). Though it has no legal power to enforce regulations, businesses that process credit or debit cards are required to be compliant.
Compliance helps businesses demonstrate their desire to safeguard customer data, which increases their credibility.
SOC 2 Compliance
Data security is a major concern for all institutions, even if they have outsourced such functions to cloud-computing service providers. If the application or network security providers mishandle the data entrusted to you by consumers, you will be vulnerable to malware installation and data theft hence extortion.
SOC 2 is an auditing system for cloud service providers and organizations that store customer information in the cloud. It was developed by the AICPA and is designed to limit the risk and exposure of data.
The method used to manage customer information is based on five principles of trust. These are:
- Processing integrity
SOC 2 compliance ascertains that your organization has adequate security measures to protect customer information.
Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA)
These days hospitals and other medical facilities process patient health information (PHI) electronically. This allows them to remain compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and also reduce costs.
HIPPA is a security standard that consists of guidelines designed to protect patient health information. Some of the key benefits of HIPAA compliance include:
- Helps create a human firewall against data breach as every member knows the necessary steps to take to keep patient data private and secure
- It creates a culture of compliance and patient data protection within the healthcare facility
- It programs staff to put as much care and effort in data protection as with medical procedures
- Protects the health facility and staff from liability
By following HIPPA guidelines, health care facilities are able to secure, control access, and track patient information.
Uptime Institute Tier Classification
As a business grows, it is more efficient and economical to contract outside vendors to handle your data needs. This allows you to focus on your primary business objective and gives you the confidence that the technical aspects of data storage and security are handled by professionals.
However, how do you know which data center is fully equipped to handle your data needs and guarantee security? This is where the Uptime Institute Tier Classification comes in. This is a ranking system for data centers that evaluates them based on their infrastructure.
There are four tiers in total. If a data center is tier certified, it means that it is capable of handling defined tier requirements for its level.
Standards For Attestation Engagements (SSAE) 16
There are numerous industry and government regulations that data centers have to follow. Periodically, data centers are audited, and their performance evaluated based on these regulations.
The AICPA published the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE), which guides the auditing process for data centers. By using it, auditors can evaluate how a data center’s compliance has changed over time.
SSAE 16 certification demonstrates the following:
- That the information in the design description of each control is accurate
- Controls are suitable and complete for a specified period
- Each control’s operating effectiveness has been tested
With SSAE compliance, data centers gain the confidence and trust of customers.
Are Compliance And Certifications Worth It?
As competition increases and technology continues to improve, the bare minimum requirements for data centers to remain competitive also increase. Data is a sensitive subject for enterprises. Compliance with governmental and industry regulations demonstrates your commitment to securing customer data.