With the continuous increase in the number of security breaches every year, it would we critical for you to take a closer look at the few things that you can do from an IT security standpoint, to minimize the risks.  One of the key steps towards this complying with industry specific regulations like SOX and HIPAA/HITECH and having third-party organizations to conduct audits for key systems and controls.

 

Why do audits matter?

Compliance with data security standards can bring major benefits to businesses of all sizes, while failure to comply can have serious and long-term negative consequences. This involves identifying and prioritizing the strategic objectives and managing the business across people, processes, information and technology to realize those objectives. It also impacts day-to-day operations, which in turn affects troubleshooting and system availability.

 

Being in line with IT compliance regulations such as PCI DSS, GLBA, SOX, NERC CIP, and HIPAA require businesses to protect, track, and control access to and usage of sensitive information. Let us have a look at some of the top reasons as why to audit:

 

1. IT MATTERS TO YOUR CLIENTS

You may be working with clientele spread across industries and these audit reports really matter to them. For example, financial services organizations these tend to request these reports at the beginning of every year, whereas healthcare groups would need their audit reports later in the year for their own auditing purposes. These reports have a direct impact on their productivity, sales and reputation.

 

2. DATA PROTECTION

Let us consider HIPAA compliance for example. The core focus of HIPAA compliance is to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information or “ePHI.”  Failure to comply with HIPAA’s regulations carries serious consequences for any business that interacts with ePHI, including criminal sanctions, civil sanctions, fines and even possible prison sentences. The guidelines on violations include up to $1.5 million in penalties for breaches.

 

3. AUDITS VALIDATE YOUR SECURITY PROCESS

You need to have visibility over security & compliance, and protection of your data. To ensure this, you need to collect and consolidate log data across the IT environment and correlate events from multiple devices and respond to them in real-time. Conducting audits in a way sets up a benchmark to implement best practices and also ensures that your organization is in line with the latest technology trends.

 

As an interesting statistic, it is expected that the number of targeted attacks is likely to increase in 2014 and this forecast is based on the continuously growing number of DDoS attacks over the last couple of years. Hackers might move away from high-volume advanced malware because the chances of it being detected are high. Still, the lower-volume targeted attacks are expected to increase, especially with the intent of accessing financial information and stealing identities or business data.

 

With all these set to happen, it is advisable that you ensure more visibility on the devices on your network as a part of your information security measure. Compliance and compliance audit will definitely come in handy as you head further into 2014.

 

Stay secure my friends!!

 

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