Why SMBs Need to Think about Compliance

As SMBs move more of their data and workloads to the Cloud, they need to think about how they will address their data privacy requirements.

For example, on May 25, 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect. This strict new regulation will affect how public sector organizations and businesses handle the information of their customers in the European Union (EU). The GDPR will not only impact the EU, it will affect any business with customers in the EU.

If you are a retailer or wholesaler with clients or customers in the EU, you'll need to meet GDPR requirements to do business with these clients in 2018. Regulations will also vary depending on industry. Health care organizations must adhere to HIPAA regulations when they deal with patient data, while retailers need to meet PCI requirements.

Here are the steps an average Small and Mid-sized Business (SMB) needs to take to maintain compliance:

- Formulate compliance teams

- Increase security posture

- Partner with a third party

Compliance Teams

You can think of a compliance team as your internal police force. This unit should ensure that your organization complies with all regulations and rules that apply to your industry and business. A compliance team helps you preserve your reputation and integrity.

While enterprise-scale organizations may have internal compliance teams, SMBs often lack the resources for a full team.

However, SMBs have other ways to implement their own compliance teams:

Staff augmentation: This option is best for short-term staffing needs. For example, you are planning to improve your security posture and implementing a new compliance team. You can hire temporary IT staff to help you assess your current compliance status, find gaps, create a plan to improve security posture, and find and train a new compliance team.

Outsourcing: You can hire an off-site team to monitor your on-site or Cloud-based IT environments. This is an attractive option for many SMBs, as it is both affordable and virtually hassle-free. Through outsourcing, SMBs can afford high-caliber IT talent to help them maintain their compliance and security posture.

Third-party partnerships: In this model, you work with a group of IT professionals who offer advice as well as services like infrastructure as a service (IaaS), business continuity, and IT security.

Increased Security Posture

Compliance and security are interconnected. Many regulations, like HIPAA and GDPR, contain extensive security requirements aimed at protecting individuals' private information. Improving security measures helps SMBs meet or exceed compliance requirements. Companies that take security seriously and implement strong security measures are perceived as trustworthy by their clients, which helps them maintain and grow their customer bases.

Third-Party Partnerships

Another way for SMBs to manage their compliance requirements is third-party partnerships. Through partnerships like managed services, business owners can work side by side with high-caliber, well-trained, and experienced IT security professionals.

Businesses can delegate some or all the management of their IT environments to a third party. The relationship is governed by a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which spells out each party's areas of responsibility, like acceptable levels of downtime, how performance will be measured, and how incidents will be handled.

Although many SMBs face strict compliance requirements, there are several options open to them, such as compliance teams, increased security posture, and third-party partnerships. These options open up affordable avenues for SMBs to meet their compliance requirements.

Do you need help with compliance? Talk to an InfoSystems compliance expert.

You can also get our white paper, How to Safely Store and Secure Data.