Cybersecurity is a real risk, and one that needs to be considered and managed effectively. Every business faces cyber threats, both internally and externally, regardless of the industry they operate in.
Just as cyber threats evolve over time, cybersecurity must evolve with it. This means enhancing your cybersecurity posture as your business’s security requirements and the sophistication of cyberattacks change.
Whether your business is new or established, the consequences of failing to do this can be costly – ranging from an inability to meet supplier or customer requirements to disruption of services, fraud, lost revenue, reputational damage, and even legal proceedings.
Why cybersecurity matters
When starting or growing your business, you need to consider cyber security from 3 perspectives:
- Risk to your business and others
- Impacts to business operations
- Compliance obligations
Even if you don’t need to comply with specific security requirements or certification, you may now or one day have potential customers or business partners that will require proof that your business’s security measures are adequate.
In addition, developing a strong cybersecurity posture ensures that your business meets global standards, which are a prerequisite for delivering services to some countries.
Lastly, it demonstrates to stakeholders that you take cybersecurity seriously – and have measures in place to ensure business continuity if an attack were to happen.
How to start your cybersecurity journey
To start your cybersecurity journey, you must consider how your business will adopt, embrace and evolve your cybersecurity capabilities.
This is where it can help to have a robust security framework that is founded on an understanding of your cybersecurity needs now and into the future.
Some steps you can follow include:
- Identify key cybersecurity risks associated with your business
- Know how you will mitigate these risks
- Understand the compliance requirements that relate to your industry, including laws, regulations, privacy, and any need to align with a security framework
- Choose a cybersecurity framework
- Consider gaining cybersecurity certification
- Develop an agile approach to cybersecurity so you can address emerging risks or requirements quickly
If you decide to gain any cybersecurity certifications, you will need to prepare your systems, policies and processes to meet the requirements.
7 examples of cybersecurity certification
Adherence to best practice is the best way to prove your business’s commitment to cybersecurity to customers and other stakeholders.
Here are 7 examples of compliance certifications you can apply for when you align with their best practice framework…
1. SOC Audit Report
A SOC Report proves to other businesses and customers that your internal controls are sufficient in protecting their privacy and confidentiality.
There are various reports available (SOC 1, 2 or 3), depending on the nature of your business and who you will share the report with. They are the most sought after compliance certificate by startups, particularly SaaS and other software providers that use the cloud to store data.
2. ISO 27001
ISO 27001 is a standard designed to protect the sensitive customer information that organisations collect, store, process, or transmit. Many businesses adopt the ISO 27001 compliance standard to manage the security of their assets, including financial information, employee details, intellectual property, or other information entrusted by third parties.
3. NIST compliance
The NIST cybersecurity framework was developed by a non-government agency in the U.S. and consists of standards, guidelines and best practices to manage cybersecurity risk.
This is a regulation in the European Union and European Economic Area on data protection and privacy. Its primary aim is to enhance individuals’ control and rights over their personal data, and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business. GDPR is a compliance requirement for all businesses marketing or doing business with European residents.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a U.S. legislation that provides data security, privacy, and other security provisions required to safeguard medical information.
HITRUST helps businesses from all industry sectors (especially healthcare) manage data, compliance, and information risk. HITRUST Alliance offers certification to entities that demonstrate their compliance with HIPAA requirements.
7. PCI DSS
This is an information security standard for organisations that handle branded credit cards from the major card schemes. It consists of a set of security standards around securing cardholder data and card transactions against fraud and data theft.
There’s no better time to start than right now
Being a startup provides the perfect opportunity to establish effective cybersecurity practices early on.
Ideally, they will form part of your business strategy and ultimately protect you from the many financial, reputational and compliance risks that stem from a cyberattack or data breach.
To learn more about developing a cybersecurity strategy, or readying your business for certification, contact your local RSM office today.
Author Riaan Bronkhorst is a security and privacy specialist working with RSM’s Risk Advisory team in Perth.
Riaan has extensive experience in both the local and international markets and expertise across a range of industries including IT audit, cyber security, data analytics and risk management at both RSM Australia and other prominent consulting and international corporate organisations.