If you find yourself dreading the thought of another audit, viewing it as more of a hassle than anything else, you may be suffering from the widespread but little known "Compliance Fatigue".
It’s true what they say: attitudes are contagious, and this one spreads like a virus. When one staff member holds contempt for audits, eventually others will begin to feel the same way, which will lead to putting forth the minimal effort to fix vulnerabilities or make security updates just to get a passing grade. This kind of attitude can lead to security pitfalls. Simply passing the audit is not enough to prove that your security policies are effective, or to guarantee your business will not suffer from a security breach.
When all you care about is the outcome of the audit, you have forgotten the real reason behind it. Compliance standards were put in place to increase the awareness and attention paid to data protection, and to provide guidelines and procedures for businesses on how they can protect themselves and their customers’ personal information from getting into the wrong hands. Cyber criminals love businesses that harbor a negative mentality towards compliance; it usually makes their jobs easier.
It may be your legal obligation to comply with these standards, but there are some advantages. The most obvious is that you can avoid fines, penalties, work stoppages, lawsuits, or even a shutdown of your business, while maintaining or increasing consumer confidence and trust in your company’s ability to handle their data. More trust amounts to more business.
Another advantage you might see is an improvement to your company’s public image and reputation. The less breaches you have the higher the public thinks of you, and the more you can boast about your victorious compliance history on your website, social media pages, or in other marketing materials.
The annual audit is a chance to examine your entire IT environment and use the compliance standards as a launching point to overhaul your security beyond the minimum standards. Think of compliance standards as a bare minimum. When protecting your confidential data, exceeding those minimums to help protect your organization even further should be of the utmost importance and is a sound business strategy.
Look at the many (336) healthcare breaches from 2014. According to Clearwater Compliance, 20% were from non-digital breaches, 12% were from portable computing devices that were either lost or stolen, and over 50% were from mistakes or malice. Many of these careless breaches could have been avoided if there had been more concern and attention for compliance. Going beyond the standards today will help you minimize risk tomorrow.
A managed services provider (MSP) can fill the one hole you are lacking from in-house staff, or it can be a full suite of services to maintain your compliance. They can offer expertise in the regulatory compliance realm, as well as deliver a compliant cloud, infrastructure, or colocation environment to which data can be stored, backed up, and kept safe from disasters. They can even keep your antivirus and anti-malware up-to-date, monitor networks, keep security logs, and/or perform any OS patching. With an MSP you can eliminate the compliance headache.