Being compliant with the right framework can go a long way toward building customer trust for your business and assure them that their confidential information is safe with you.
Choosing the right compliance framework can mean closing bigger deals and scaling your business. Making the wrong call, however, can incur you a lot of financial loss and cost you the credibility of your business overall. If those are not high stakes, what is? Therefore, the onus falls on the shoulders of the organization and its management to assess the compliance needs of their business and invest in the right security standard.
If you are looking to pick the right compliance framework for your organization and get compliance readiness completed for audit and certified, you have come to the right place. This blog will provide you the basics of security compliance and introduce you to major security standards in use and you can choose the right one for your company.
What to Know About Compliance Frameworks?
A compliance framework is a set of rules outlining an organization’s processes for adhering to established regulations, specifications, or legislation. If a business requests an audit, the auditor or regulator will look for security, stability, long-term sustainability, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Every compliance structure, however, is unique. PCI, for example, governs credit card data handling and is regarded as a compliance structure with higher standards. HIPAA is concerned with patient privacy and security. The framework used for SOC 2 reports with the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) principles, examines how effectively a company’s internal controls meet a broad range of standards.
Why Should You Start Early?
Here are three reasons why you should start looking into your compliance needs early:
- Reason #1
Time is of the essence. Start putting your best security practices and posters in place as soon as possible for an early stage company.
- Reason #2
As the business grows, systems and patterns of behavior emerge, and it becomes difficult to do the transformation and you will require more time with your stakeholders in aligning, justifying priorities, and planning the roll-out of controls, processes, and tools to ensure minimum disruption across a much larger organization.
- Reason #3
Establish credibility from the outset. A functional security compliance program provides a small business the credibility with its customers.
Common Compliance Frameworks You Should Know About
The four widely used compliance frameworks in the industry are as follows:
- SOC 2
SOC 2 (Service Organizational Control) compliance was developed to standardize technical audits and procedures for cloud-based system security, privacy, and quality assurance. The increased demand for cloud-based solutions has raised concerns about data and privacy violations. Following a common standard, such as SOC 2, gives your startup peace of mind in terms of meeting clients’ security requirements, avoiding costly mistakes and liability, and rapidly expanding your information security systems.
A SOC 2 report provides user organizations with information about the internal data security and privacy measures that the company is using. Auditors must evaluate an organization’s use of the COSO framework to ensure alignment with its goals in SOC 2 reports.
Who Needs This?
Many company buyers expect their vendors to be SOC 2 compliant. A SOC 2 audit is essential for B2B businesses seeking to recruit enterprise clients and move upmarket. Majority of customers in US require their vendors selling their SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions to demonstrate they have got their SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 attestations successfully completed with a third part CPA firm audited and certified report.
Who Manages This?
The American Association of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is in charge of SOC 2 standard.
- ISO 27001
ISO/IEC 27001, which specifies an information security management system, is the most well-known of the ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards. Organizations can control the security of assets such as financial data, intellectual property, employee information, and third-party information.
Who Needs This?
Companies looking to expand globally and selling to international customers.
Who Manages This?
ISO 27001 is managed by the International Council for Standardization.
- PCI DSS
The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council seeks to improve global payment account data security by developing standards and supporting services that promote stakeholder awareness, education, and effective implementation.
The PCI data security standard is required for any startup that processes consumer credit, debit, prepaid, or other kinds of payment cards. Startups can now meet stringent PCI criteria with the help of businesses like Very Good Security and Stripe.
Who Needs This?
Any startup that accepts and processes, stores and transmits credit, debit, prepaid, or other types of payment cardholder data.
Who Manages This?
PCI DSS is managed by the PCI Security Standards Committee.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that regulates the security of health information. It establishes the security and privacy guidelines for dealing with individually identifiable medical and health information.
The law is mainly concerned with protected health information (PHI), also known as PHI – health data that can be linked to a specific individual, such as their:
- Biometric data (e.g., retina scans and fingerprints).
- Vehicle identification numbers.
- Name, location, and date of birth (license plates or serial numbers).
- Social security and health insurance IDs.
- Previous interactions with healthcare professionals and the government.
- Financial data (credit card numbers or bank ID).
- Contact details (home address, IP address, phone number or email).
- Photos (primarily facial images).
HIPAA aims to improve healthcare efficiency while also safeguarding PHI. It allows hospitals, for example, to exchange electronic medical data remotely and without the need for unnecessary paperwork. It also makes it easier for workers to transfer their insurance coverage when changing jobs.
Who Needs This?
All businesses and employees who work with protected health information must comply with HIPAA regulations.
Who Manages This?
It is enforced by the Office of Civil Rights (OCI), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
How to Choose the Right Compliance Framework for Your Company?
- Identify the regulatory and customer requirements: Start by identifying the regulatory and customer requirements that apply to your company. These requirements will vary depending on your industry, location, and size.
- Research the available compliance frameworks: Research and assess how well they align with your regulatory requirements and risk priorities. Look for frameworks that provide guidance on the specific regulatory and customer requirements that apply to your company. There are several compliance frameworks available, such as SOC 2, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and ISO 27001 as mentioned above, among others. Each framework has its own set of requirements and focuses on different areas of compliance. Evaluate the frameworks that are relevant to your business and compare them based on the requirements, costs, and benefits.
- Prioritize your risks: Identify the key risks your company faces and prioritize them based on their potential impact. This will help you focus your compliance efforts on the most important areas.
- Review Your Business Goals: Review your business goals and priorities when selecting a compliance framework. For example, if you plan to expand globally, you may want to choose a framework that has international recognition such as ISO 27001. If you are looking to partner with larger organizations, they may require you to be compliant with specific frameworks.
- Assess Resource Constraints: Compliance can be time-consuming and costly. Consider your company’s resources, including time, money, and personnel, when selecting a compliance framework. Choose a framework that fits your resources and capacity to manage compliance effectively.
- Seek Professional Expertise: Due to the complexities of compliance frameworks, it is critical to obtain assistance in determining what matters and what does not within the context of each one. It’s also critical to understand what makes sense to implement and how to satisfy stage-specific needs based on your specific business requirements. This is where Akitra can help you determine which Framework is right for your organization at this stage of your company.
Choose the Right Compliance Framework with Akitra!
Establishing trust is a crucial competitive differentiator when courting new SaaS businesses in today’s era of data breaches and compromised privacy. Customers and partners want assurances that the organizations they work with are doing everything possible to prevent disclosing sensitive data and putting them at risk. Compliance certification fills that need.
Akitra offers an industry-leading, AI-powered Compliance Automation platform for SaaS companies. Using automated evidence collection and continuous monitoring, together with a full suite of customizable policies and controls as a compliance foundation, our service helps customers become certified for a plethora of compliance frameworks like SOC 1, SOC 2, ISO 27001, ISO 27701, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, FedRAMP, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, NIST CSF, CMMC, and other specific frameworks such as CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark, etc. Our compliance and security experts will also provide the customized guidance you need to navigate the end-to-end compliance process confidently.
The benefits of our solution include enormous savings in time, human resources, and cost savings—including discounted audit fees with our audit firm partners. Customers achieve compliance certification fast and cost-effectively, stay continuously compliant as they grow, and can become certified under additional frameworks using a single compliance automation platform.
Build customer trust. Choose Akitra TODAY!
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