4 cybersecurity best practices for regulated industries

Cybersecurity is always a complex matter, but it’s even more so for regulated businesses. When it comes to protecting digital infrastructures, the government has established certain rules for certain industries. They include manufacturing, air and water travel, utilities, fishing, education, medicine and pharmaceuticals.

All of these fields have, in one way or another, people’s safety and well-being at stake often changing or even saving lives. They may involve hazardous materials or dangerous working conditions. If any of these businesses were hacked, the perpetrators could threaten public safety or seize extremely sensitive data.

With this in mind, if your company is part of a regulated industry, here are some ways to certify that you’re in full cybersecurity compliance.

1. Consult an Attorney

Whether you rely on in-house or outside legal representation, you can start by having an attorney brief you on your industry’s cybersecurity regulations.

In fact, given that federal and state laws change frequently, it’s a good idea to schedule a briefing at least once a year. In 2019, Vermont started regulating data brokers, for instance, and South Carolina updated its breach notification laws.

2. Run a Risk Assessment

Once you’re clear on your legal responsibilities, make sure that you’re following them. A thorough risk assessment will tell you where you’re not up to code. Your own IT team could conduct this evaluation, or you could depend on third-party experts.

By redoing this evaluation at least once per year, you’ll always be certain you’re utilizing the latest best practices. Additionally, if your company undergoes a significant change, schedule a risk assessment soon afterward. For instance, if you get new mobile devices, switch operating systems or begin using a cloud backup data system, you’ll need to be aware of the impact on your cyber-defenses.

3. Put Together an Action Plan

Now you know what needs to be done, sit down with your leadership team and assemble a timeline for addressing concerns like:

  • When to install new email filters, antivirus software or security cameras?
  • When to institute job applicant background checks?
  • What is your plan for data backup and recovery?

As you develop your plan of action, you can decide which employees can access specific parts of your network and which employees won’t.

You could likewise establish a new security budget as well as a chain of command to determine who will oversee each step of your upgrade project and who will supervise the entire process

You should also put all of your security policies into writing so your employees can read them, ask questions and sign off on them.

4. Work With Outside Partners

IT managed service providers, particularly those who specialize in compliance, can help you throughout your cybersecurity journey.

They can run your security assessment with great knowledge and precision. The right collaborators can also help you develop your new security and disaster recovery plans and implement their components. Consequently, you’ll never need to worry about failing an inspection.

Remember that following regulations is just a first step toward digital safety. After all, hackers can access those legal requirements online and figure out how to work around them. To truly defeat those criminals, you also need other airtight safeguards that your IT managed service providers can supply.