Whether you’re a large enterprise or a small business, ensuring your data is secure isn’t important just for its own sake, it’s also required by various government and regulatory bodies such as insurers, banks and the federal privacy commission.
Security compliance also impacts business development, as clients increasingly audit their third-choice partners, vendors and supply chains for potential risks to their organization. If you’re unable to meet their minimum security standards, you’ll miss out on valuable business opportunities.
If you’re a large, established organization, your IT department likely has the resources and expertise to keep on top of compliance concerns, including any new requirements as they arise
But if you’re a small shop with primarily Point-of-Sale (POS) and inventory management plus a website and email newsletter, or a mid-sized start-up with a more built-out IT infrastructure, you’re probably still somewhere on the learning curve.
Here’s a summary overview of what your company should know, be asking about, looking for, and doing in terms of ensuring your data security is compliant.

What does data security mean?

In a nutshell, data security means that your company’s (and your clients’) sensitive data is secure from being read, copied, locked, changed, or deleted by internal and external threat actors.
This includes data “at rest” — on computers, mobile devices, storage systems, and removable storage media (flash drives, CD/DVDs, external hard drives, SD cards, etc.), and “in motion” — as data traverses local, wide-area, wireless and cellular networks.
Securing data is likely to be a mix of securing the data properly through encryption, possibly in some cases through redaction (blocking/blanking specific fields, or parts of a record or file), and securing the device or network.

What does “data security compliance” mean?

How much and what type of data security do you need? One answer is: enough to keep your data secure. But that’s too vague an answer to be useful.
One place to start is, “What will satisfy my company’s legal and regulatory obligations?”
This means: What rules and regulations, whether from the government or your industry must your data security comply with, and what do these regulations identify as the minimum necessary protection(s)?
These rules reflect the current state of technology — what type of tools are required or recommended, legal requirements, fines and penalties.
There are good financial reasons to secure your data as tightly as possible. It can be expensive to leverage state-of-the-art data encryption and other security measures, but it’s far less expensive than paying the price of a data breach. Fines alone can run up to millions of dollars; other costs can include having to pay for a year or more of identity theft protection for every member impacted by such a breach.
There are many compliance regulations, at the national, provincial, and industry levels. And you can’t ignore regulations from regions your business isn’t located in — if you have customers or supplies there, you may have to add these to your comply-with list.

How do I ensure my small business is compliant?

One good place to start is by looking at your competitors’ and suppliers’ websites to see what they say about their own compliance.
– Identify relevant laws and industry policies your company must be compliant with
– Determine what of your existing IT infrastructure, applications, activities, and data currently are in compliance
– Select replacement or additional security products and services to meet compliance requirements
– Obtain any required certifications for these products and services, and for your company’s IT compliance status
Lastly, be sure to educate all your employees regarding what they have to do — and not do — as part of compliance. For example: Don’t take sensitive company, customer or patient data records off-site unless they are properly encrypted.
 Being prepared starts with intelligent cyber security services and solutions embedded into your core business processes. Build a resilient IT infrastructure, understand and manage your vulnerabilities and grow with confidence. See how Ricoh’s cyber security services can help.