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How to Adapt to Changing Cybersecurity Regulations

No matter what type of business you run, cybersecurity is something everyone has to deal with. Whether you are taking customer orders over the internet or even just hosting a website that uses cookies, you need to adhere to cyber security regulations. 

Cybersecurity regulations are always changing, however, and it can be difficult to keep up. They also aren’t the same in every region of the world, which can make it difficult to keep up. 

Luckily, there are some things you can do in advance to prepare for constantly shifting regulations. Read on to learn more about how you can help your company to adapt to changing cybersecurity regulations. 

What Are Cybersecurity Regulations?

Cybersecurity regulations are laws that govern the type of security that must be used for the online portion of a business. Since almost all businesses these days have some sort of online presence, cybersecurity is something that everyone has to worry about. 

Cybersecurity regulations govern several different aspects of the online world. Some dictate the security you must maintain on client data, while others dictate what data you can collect about your customers. 

Some regulations are nationwide, while others are specific to your industry. For example, the GDPR is a set of cybersecurity regulations that applies to any company that wishes to have an online presence in the EU. It dictates that companies must allow customers to opt-out of cookies.

A regulation that only applies to a particular industry would be one like HIPAA, which dictates how and to whom medical information may be disclosed. While this isn’t necessarily a cybersecurity regulation, it does have some say in how patient medical records need to be kept in an online environment.

Why Are Cybersecurity Regulations Important?

While it may seem like a hassle to learn all of the cybersecurity regulations for your client base, it really is for the good of everyone. Cybersecurity regulations protect people from identity theft or fraud as a result of the negligence of companies. 

A company may feel like there isn’t anything in it for them, but when you consider how much money companies have lost as a result of cybersecurity breaches (just look at the Target breach in 2014, which cost the company millions), it is revealed that it is actually in your best interest as a business owner to care about cybersecurity. 

But don’t just think of the welfare of your customers, as it is likely that some of your private information can also be gleaned from your website. If you pay for vendors or a website hosting service, your personal or business information could be compromised as well. 

No matter how you look at it, cybersecurity affects everyone. Therefore it is important to follow all the regulations to protect all aspects of your company from hacks and fraud. 

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Cybersecurity isn’t just for your customers, it also protects vital business information.

9 Ways to Adapt to Changing Cybersecurity Regulations

1. Plan in Advance

The best way to adapt to changing cybersecurity regulations is to plan in advance. While this can be difficult to do 100%, prevention really is the only way to keep yourself from being surprised by new information later. 

Planning in advance means you should never forgo cybersecurity coverage just because it isn’t required in your state or industry. Always purchase at least the basic package because you never know when you may change the scope or location of your business.

Think of it this way, you may be an American-based company now which doesn’t have to adhere to the GDPR regulations valid only in the EU. But a few years down the line, your company may have grown so large that you want to expand to the EU. It is much more difficult to add this infrastructure later than to just add it in the beginning. 

Even if you aren’t planning expansion, there is simply no reason to forgo cybersecurity in this day and age. It simply isn’t safe. So protect yourself from the beginning and plan for cybersecurity in advance. 

2. Invest in Employee Training

Any employee that uses a computer needs to be trained on cybersecurity matters. Many large hacks, including the aforementioned Target hack, happen as a result of an employee clicking a link that they shouldn’t or sharing their credentials with someone who isn’t authorized.

This is especially important if you have employees like a social media manager that work remotely or are contracted through an agency. Even though the cybersecurity world is vast and has lots of options, many contractors or freelancers never received proper training in how to deal with things like phishing attacks. 

Take the time to schedule training with all of your current employees, and then put together a handbook for future employees. It can also be helpful to have frequent refreshers, say twice a year, to keep employees up to date. 

3. Establish a Procedure

Many breaches occur because of successful phishing attempts. In the fast-paced digital world, it is often common to click a link in an email without a second thought. Especially if that email looks like it came from work. 

Hackers will sometimes change just one letter in the company email address, allowing them to fool employees. While you can’t necessarily prevent them from doing this, establishing a procedure can be helpful.

For example, you can require that employees respond back to an email before clicking a link. You can also require that they call or text you to verify the link is from you. Some companies have even established a code word that must appear in an email before employees should click links that are sent to them.

It doesn’t matter which option you pick, as long as you choose one and then train all employees on this method. Once this procedure is established, it can be used for several different cybersecurity threats or regulations, making it easier to adapt to new ones when they come along. 

4. Have a Doomsday Plan

A doomsday plan is your plan for action in the case that your company is compromised. What will you do? How will you handle it? How quickly will the problem be remedied?

Taking the time to solve all of this in advance will go a long way toward helping you develop a well-rounded cybersecurity plan. While this plan may need to be adjusted when new regulations come down the line, adjusting a plan is much easier than creating one for the first time. 

Plus, if you take the time to prepare for what could be your company’s worst nightmare, chances are you will have already thought of many aspects far beyond current regulations that may include future possible regulation adaptations. 

5. Know How Your Current Cybersecurity Works

Cybersecurity is one of many aspects of a business that is frequently farmed out to contractors or freelancers. There is no problem if you do this, but you need to make sure you know how your cybersecurity runs. 

This way, when new adaptations come down the line, you know how and when they will be implemented. This may seem like a lot of work in the beginning, especially if you have no knowledge of coding languages, but the truth is most cybersecurity platforms have an easy to use interface. 

As long as you know how to use that interface to request a change, or at least how long it would take your contract to implement a change, this can give you realistic expectations in the case that new cybersecurity regulations are issued. 

6. Estimate How Much You Have to Lose in a Cybersecurity Attack

Adapting to changing cybersecurity regulations is never easy, and sometimes the adaptations may seem to come at the worst times. This is why it is recommended to sit down and calculate how much money you could lose in a cybersecurity attack.

Include items like cash balances that could be stolen or lawyers fees and lawsuits you could be liable for. The result will be a large number. Keep this estimate on hand and whenever you find yourself frustrated or discouraged because of changing cybersecurity regulations, look back at this number to remind yourself why you are taking the time to adapt to new regulations. 

This number can also be helpful to reference when you consider hiring a cybersecurity company or team. Look at the amount they are charging you, then back at the number you estimated you would lose in a hack. This can help you feel more justified in your hiring decision. 

7. Set Up Frequent Check-ins

Besides setting as much up as possible in advance, it is also a good idea to schedule frequent check-ins with your cybersecurity plan. During these check-ins, you can evaluate what is working, as well as what might need to be upgraded. 

You can also use this time to evaluate pending changes to cybersecurity regulations and how they may affect your current plan. It is also a good idea to use this time to implement potential changes before they are required, giving yourself extra time to implement them. 

If you hire a cybersecurity company, then it is a good idea to make this check-in a sit down with them. Have them comment as well on what is working and what may need additional improvements outside of the changing regulations. 

Additionally, you should use these check-ins to update any software. Many companies don’t realize how many cybersecurity threats can be avoided with the regular updating of software. Ensure you check every program that your employees use regularly, as well as hardware (like computers or ipads), as these require software updates to run properly as well. 

8. Evaluate Internal Threats

One thing that many business owners don’t consider is the internal threats to cybersecurity. These are threats that come from disgruntled or ex-employees that are still able to access the system. 

Business owners need to have a procedure for employees who quit or are fired for how soon they are removed from the system. They also need to consider frequent password updates for all employees to eliminate the possibility that passwords were shared or known. 

It is also critical to implement things like 2FA (two-factor identification) for logging in to areas where there is sensitive information, as this will lower the likelihood of password theft. 

Any area of your company databases that contain sensitive information should only be able to be accessed by those employees who need to manage or analyze that data. Keep access to especially private information as small as possible, so if there is an issue, you can easily flush out the problem. 

While this step doesn’t necessarily help with adaptation, it can make it easier to upgrade and change login information as required by cybersecurity regulations. 

9. Take Frequent Courses

The cybersecurity world is constantly changing, and even if you do all of the above, you may find that you are still rushing to adapt to new regulations. As a business owner in the increasingly digital world, you should commit yourself to taking frequent cybersecurity courses. 

These courses can help you to not only learn more about cybersecurity but they can also help you learn about how the industry is changing. Besides preparing you for possible changing regulations, they can also give you ideas on how to better run your business and store any data your business currently collects.

You don’t need to overdo it, but a course once a year can help you to be able to adapt easier when new regulations are handed down the line. 

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There are many things you can do to help your company adapt to changing cybersecurity regulations. 

Ready to Prepare Your Company for Changing Cybersecurity Regulations?

Overall, cybersecurity is an essential part of every business. Whether you run a store or a software company, you need to obey cybersecurity regulations.

Because these regulations are constantly changing, it’s important to take the time to prepare for their adaptation in advance. You can do this by planning, training, and scheduling regular check-ins with your employees. 

Need help with the cybersecurity aspect of your company? Consider insourcing our outsourcing new employees to help you to develop a robust cybersecurity plan perfect for your business. 

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