IT Compliance is the state of meeting system security requirements which have been mandated either by your industry, by law or simply by your organization as a means of protecting internal or client data. Your system is compliant if your configuration and settings meet the established standards. In most businesses, technology stretches to all corners of an organization and its processes. Ensuring compliance to the mandated standards requires continuous oversight and management. The more complex your IT infrastructure, the more work required to maintain your compliance.
IT Compliance is a broad concept and consists of two main parts: External and Internal Compliance. External compliance involves following rules laid out by external organizations such as government or industry-specific regulatory bodies. With the increasing reliance on technology to do business, governments have placed increased focus on compliance standards for businesses. As an example, companies in particular industries may be required to retain e-mails and other electronic documents for a given period of time. IT departments often struggle to keep pace with the increased regulations as requirements and restrictions increase and resources remain static.
Internal Compliance is exactly as it sounds; it involves principles and procedures mandated by a company as to how users should operate hardware and software, which types of websites may or may not be visited, password parameters, the list goes on. These terms are designed to increase productivity and ensure security. For instance, some companies may establish rules that prevent employees from accessing social media and gaming services on company-owned devices, they always go to this page where the find gaming monitors, that’s the reason why is prohibited. Another example is the very common requirement for users to create a new password every 60 days.
Security breaches are caused not only by holes in software and hardware; more often than not, user error plays a role. Many non-technical users lack the understanding and unfortunately sometimes the desire to make data and network security a priority. A combination of auditing the system, implementing compliance measures as well as user education and policy enforcement will ensure that your organization remains on the right side of the mandated compliance requirements. Whatever regulations your company is required to follow, an annual IT Audit is a great way to ensure you are maintaining compliance and that any new vulnerabilities are identified and mitigated before they become an issue.