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Compliance and Your Data Center

As a topic, regulatory compliance is unlikely to set your pulse racing. Yet for businesses, it remains incredibly important.

Any failure to meet compliance requirements can result in damaging penalties, like hefty fines. Compliance standards aren't only in place to make your life difficult, they exist for the good of your business.

Standards such as GDPR and HIPAA are designed to help ensure that your data is secure, and that any potentially sensitive information is protected. This is vital in an age when attacks are growing in number and sophistication.

Even if regulatory compliance doesn't get you jumping out of your seat, remaining ignorant of the topic can be extremely damaging. With this in mind, here are some of the things you need to know about when it comes to compliance and your data center, as well as some best practices. 

Breach shaming isn't the answer
When a high profile breach takes place, we sometimes have a nasty habit of assuming the company in question is responsible for its own downfall. Breach shaming is an all-too-common occurrence: while it's easy to point out a company's flaws post-attack, it may be more useful to offer empathy to their plight. 

The stance of, "If it happened to them, it could happen to me," will help keep your business on its toes and lead to more stringent security measures. A more sensitive, sympathetic outlook on companies that have been breached will also promote better collaboration across the industry. 

While IT professionals are typically adept at sharing information and expertise on a personal level, it's now more critical than ever that we share information at the organizational level, too. This will help develop collective strength against shared threats and provide greater insight into the attacker landscape. 

A free exchange could also inspire regulatory bodies to participate, shedding greater light on what it means to be compliant, and how to do so. 

Being compliant doesn't make you safe
There is a difference between being compliant and being secure. Do you really think that the enormous companies that have been breached in recent years didn't meet compliancy regulations? Of course they did; they all had to meet regulations, and did so successfully. Despite this, many of them have become shorthand for IT security failure. 

IT professionals and businesses need to realize that just because one adheres to compliance requirements, security isn't necessarily guaranteed. Even regulatory bodies are taking steps toward educating organizations about the fact that their standards don't ensure completely secure data. Instead, these standards should be seen as a starting point.

Compliance may mean complexity, but it's worth it
More and more organizations are moving toward continuous compliance models in order to better protect themselves and bridge the gap between compliance and security. 

Continuous compliance may sound like a lot of work, but with security, you get out what you put in. The process of continuous compliance involves constantly reviewing processes and making necessary updates as quickly as possible. These updates are identified by seeing if and how a process deviates from its intended performance. 

While this approach increases complexity when managing compliance, it is an extremely effective method of reducing security risks and is certainly worth the extra effort. These best practices may also help ease the burden of compliance.

Reviews and revision of documentation and procedures can be priceless
Nobody likes paperwork, and yet comprehensive, in-depth documentation is a crucial part of compliance, and one that is often overlooked. The world of security and compliance changes quickly, and compliance is an ongoing process.

To help ensure your business is both compliant and secure, you must take time to regularly review and revise documentation, policies, and procedures throughout the year.

Know your compliance rules
With compliance, it's important to know where you stand, especially as every regulated industry is different. If that wasn't tricky enough, compliance standards can differ depending on your region.

Take the UK's Good Practice Guide 13 (GPG13), for instance. GPG13 primarily offers guidance on protective monitoring, which is a vital tool for businesses hoping to defend themselves from data breaches. For UK businesses, knowing GPG13 guidelines is imperative. With this in mind, it’s vitally important to understand what standards your business must fulfill. 

Make monitoring a priority
Once you have established your documentation and understand what is expected of your business in terms of regulatory requirements, it's time to embrace monitoring. IT professionals should identify which systems, applications, devices, and data need to be monitored to enhance compliance. A comprehensive monitoring toolset can then help improve a business is compliant, while also helping to identify security issues that may occur.

Even if regulatory compliance seems dull, it certainly can't be ignored. By following best practices, you can make the process more efficient, while also protecting your business and help keep your data safe.

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