Is you computer/IT network compliant with US Federal regulations? Do you know what network compliance means when it comes to the security and protection of the data you collect and maintain on your company’s computers and servers? Is it possible that you have let this area of your company’s responsibility slide because your IT department is simply overwhelmed by network compliance regulations?
## The Rules And Regulations Of IT Network Compliance
With 114,000 different rules and regulations implemented by the US Federal Government already and new rules and updates added almost daily, businesses need to make sure that the systems they have in place for the protection of data and information in their possession are secure and effective. A charge of non-compliance will lead to heavy fines for both the company and its executives as well as potential backlash in the form of a tarnished reputation and loss of revenue.
## Network Compliance: What Does It Mean?
Compliant to what you may be asking! In the grand scope of the term, network compliance deals with information risks that may threaten confidentiality, integrity and leave business processes and information vulnerable to outsiders. It is a company’s responsibility and it is in the company’s best interest to safeguard its assets and data including information regarding how the business is run, the organization’s goals and objectives as well as information collected from and for its clients.
The best way to explain what a network compliance regulation is is by giving an example. The clearest example is the Payment Card Industry’s (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). Essentially, the regulations contained in this network compliance standard pertain specifically to companies that process credit card payments. The regulation puts standards in place that help to prevent credit card fraud including the rule that each company must not only maintain a secure network but that it must also protect cardholder data, maintain a program that reduces the vulnerability of information to outside parties and perhaps most importantly, that the company must regularly monitor and test their networks for security.
## Why Complete A Regular Network Audit?
The best way to ensure that a company is network compliant is to perform a regular network audit. The process of a network audit involves a close look at the IT security controls of a company. Information is collected, assessed and tested against the standards as set out by the regulation in question, and any potential lapses in the controls and defenses are identified. Once gaps or problems are identified, the company is required to fortify their systems so that they fall in line with federal network compliance regulations.
## Who Performs A Network Audit?
When looking to undertake a network audit, there are several approaches that can be taken. An outside IT Risk Professional (IRP) can be brought in, a company could opt to hire an IT security person as part of their staff as a full time position, or the process could be fully automated. In fact, the last option, featuring professional network auditing tools my be the most cost effective choice of the bunch because a network audit is time consuming and can represent a large burden to a company’s bottom line.
## Automating The Process
There are several different options available on the market if your company chooses to go the automated route when it comes to performing a network audit. Professional network auditing tools will perform a scan of the IT systems your company has in place and compare them against those results that are mandated by law. The network auditing tools will further rate the severity of any gaps or lapses in your systems, let you know what the base cause of the problem is, map the risk of the problem, if left as is, as time passes and even produce a plan of attack to deal with the problem and get your systems to the point where they are in line with all network compliance regulations.
Adopting a proactive approach when it comes to network compliance regulations is the best way to ensure that your company will not be subjected to the fines and other negative consequences that come with a charge of non-compliance. Implement an automated system using network auditing tools and you can be sure that your company’s IT systems will be in line with the latest network compliance rules as mandated by law.
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