Compliance audit services can help your organization satisfy necessary requirements based on your industry’s regulatory standards. When organizations are noncompliant with regulations, they can face costly consequences, including compromised data, fines, or litigation. By auditing and monitoring compliance standards within your organization, you can achieve the necessary compliance(s) to ensure you and your personnel can all proceed with business as usual.
What Are Compliance Audit Services?
Depending on the nature of your organization, you may need to satisfy certain compliance requirements deemed necessary by legal or industry standards. A health care organization will have different compliance standards from a federal contractor or an online store that handles customer payments. While compliance standards may vary, most of them will include guidance for establishing system frameworks to protect sensitive information from cyberattacks.
Compliance audit services can help you evaluate whether your organization meets current industry standards or identify the necessary steps to achieve compliance. To get the most out of compliance audit services, you should understand which compliance standards you need to meet, why compliance matters in a given sector, and how compliance services can help.
Context: How Compliance Audits Work in Practice
The processes of achieving and maintaining compliance will look different for every organization, but generally speaking, compliance audit services consist of the following steps:
- Analyze applicable laws and industry regulations your organization must comply with
- Assess an organization’s systems and practices to determine whether compliance is being met
- Perform a risk assessment audit to evaluate security levels of existing system frameworks
- Identify gaps in compliance and offer solutions to reach compliance and avoid repercussions
Of course, these will vary according to the specific regulations applicable to your organization.
What Compliance Standards Must an Organization Meet?
The compliance standards your organization must satisfy will vary depending on various factors, like your size (number of employees, total annual revenue, volume of transactions, etc). Your location, along with the location of your staff and clientele, may determine the privacy and security controls you need to apply. The industry you operate within—the services you provide and the nature of your business, including the information it handles—will have a major effect.
Some entities will be required to meet more compliance standards than others.
While some compliance standards are legally required, some are not legally required yet are industry-mandated or necessary to remain competitive, and others still may be more optional.
However, even optional compliance standards can show others you’ve taken essential steps to protect your institution’s sensitive information or provide higher-quality services, which can further establish credibility with your clients and other organizations. Below, we’ll break down some specific applications and requirements for the most common regulatory frameworks.
Why Does Compliance—or Noncompliance—Matter?
Regulatory compliance standards are in place for various reasons. Some protect individuals’ privacy and other sensitive information, while others ensure certain resources are available and accessible to those who need to use them. Others involve national (and even global) security.
When an organization fails to meet mandatory compliance standards, there can be costly consequences, whether or not the failure to comply was intentional. These could include:
- Compromised client, customer, or organization data
- Financial losses—for individuals and/or the organization
- Litigation in the form of criminal or civil charges
- Fines and other penalties
- Degraded brand reputation
Compliance and risk assessment audits can help you determine whether your organization meets its necessary industry requirements before you face the negative consequences that come with non-compliance. They also may be mandated as part of maintaining compliance.
Why Are Compliance Audit Services Valuable?
Whether your organization is working to become compliant with industry standards for the first time or the regulation in question requires regular re-certification, maintaining compliance can be a complicated, time-intensive process. No matter the industry, regulations are subject to change over time, meaning your organization will likely need to periodically revisit its controls regularly to ensure it continues to satisfy them. This makes auditing and monitoring compliance an ongoing process for most, as opposed to simply achieving compliance one time.
Compliance audit services streamline the process of evaluating your organization’s current systems and practices, making it as efficient as possible to determine whether your organization satisfies its necessary regulatory requirements. When it comes to protecting sensitive data, risk assessment audits can additionally assess whether your organization’s systems have the necessary measures in place to protect them and the sensitive data they store and transfer.
If your industry requires additional steps to achieve compliance, RSI Security’s compliance audit services can help you streamline the process of becoming compliant—and remaining that way.
The Most Widely Applicable Regulatory Frameworks
Below are some of the most common regulatory and certification frameworks organizations may need to comply with. Many organizations are in fact subject to multiple of these, simultaneously:
- PCI-DSS – The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) outlines requirements in its Data Security Standard (DSS) that apply to organizations that handle consumers’ sensitive payment information. Beyond implementing controls for all 12 Requirements, you’ll need to conduct a self-audit or certified audit with a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA), depending on your level. RSIS security is a QSA and can help with all elements of the certification process.
- HIPAA / HITECH – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) includes requirements regarding the protection of individuals’ personal health information—as well as what actions must be taken if that information is compromised. Its standards apply to health care providers, health care clearinghouses, health insurance providers, and certain government programs like Medicaid, among other organizations. Its components include the Privacy Rule, Security Rule, Enforcement Rule, and Breach Notification Rule.
- NOTE: The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act also contains legal requirements for securely transmitting individuals’ health information electronically and was introduced to strengthen protections for areas that HIPAA regulations did not apply to.
- HITRUST – Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) CSF certification requirements provide a framework to strengthen the protection of sensitive information across industries. While not a legal requirement, HITRUST CSF certification is growing in popularity, especially among healthcare entities, to streamline the process of ensuring robust data protection. One aspect that makes HITRUST CSF certification appealing is that its framework also accounts for requirements included in other industry standards, including HIPAA, PCI DSS, and more.
- CCPA – The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), enacted in 2018, requires businesses to provide notices to consumers about what personal information they collect and for what purposes. It also requires businesses to disclose collected personal information upon request. A CCPA compliance audit can help you determine whether your business satisfies the act’s requirements, or whether you need to take action to correct compliance gaps.
- SOC 2 – Established by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 compliance applies to organizations that store, transfer, or otherwise handle consumer data. If your organization provides financial or accounting services, analytics or intelligence services, or services for apps or websites (including SaaS companies), you may need to achieve SOC 2 compliance.
- FINRA – The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is an organization overseen by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). If your organization is part of the financial industry, you might be subject to requirements laid out by FINRA. That includes broker-dealer firms, capital acquisition brokers, and more.
- CMMC – Those who work under contract with the United States Department of Defense (DoD) will need to satisfy various requirements, including those under the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) framework, to better protect the department’s information from continuously evolving cyberthreats.
- ADA – The purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is to ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to use essential services and have access to equal opportunities—and with the ever-increasing size of the role technology and online services continue to play in our everyday lives, it’s important for organizations to ensure their websites are accessible and ADA compliant.
- IRS E-file – Tax preparation professionals handle some of their clients’ most sensitive information, which is why the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires certain security standards for electronically filing taxes for individuals. An IRS E-file compliance audit can help you verify that you satisfy the requirements of the IRS’s E-file Security, Privacy and Business Standards Mandate.
The above examples are just a sampling of standards an organization may need to meet. If you don’t see the specific standards you’re looking for, you can find a more extensive list here, or get in touch with a managed security service provider (MSSP) to address your unique needs.
Streamline Certification with Our Compliance Audit Services
At first glance, achieving cybersecurity compliance can seem complicated. RSI Security’s expert advisory facilitates meeting all auditing and monitoring compliance requirements. We offer a suite of compliance audit services that have helped countless organizations streamline their framework implementation and management. We will help your organization rethink its process, whether you need just one certification or you have an entire checklist of standards to satisfy.
Ready to explore your own options for compliance audit services? Contact RSI Security today!