Cyber risk is a top concern for businesses today thanks to the ubiquity of the internet. Whenever a business connects its systems to the internet, it inadvertently exposes itself to cyberattacks. These threats can devastate an organization, compromising security and threatening public trust overnight. If an company is to protect sensitive data and assets in this climate, it must implement a mature cybersecurity program. Achieving a cybersecurity certification is a great first step towards program maturity.
Over the past decade, cybersecurity standards and regulations have helped organizations of all sizes baseline their security. Regulators and external audit boards created standards such as NIST, ISO and HIPAA to define both functional and assurance requirements within a product, system, process or technology environment.
Certification within these standards is a commonly pursued goal for organizations looking to develop cybersecurity maturity. By achieving certification within a certain framework, an organization can demonstrate the existence of an externally approved program to potential customers, investors and business partners.
Read on to learn how cybersecurity certification helps organizations achieve compliance, win more business and reduce their overall cyber risk.
Manage Compliance as it Evolves
Though some cybersecurity standards are optional, many recent regulations are mandatory within specific industries. Certification helps you demonstrate your organization’s compliance with these mandates.
Globally, governments and businesses ask for proof that a potential partner is compliant with the industry-relevant security standards. Without this proof, companies can be denied access to key markets and opportunities.
For example, cloud service providers who want to sell their services to the US Federal Government must now comply with the FedRAMP standard and obtain an Authority to Operate (ATO).
In some cases, poor compliance efforts can have more tangible financial consequences for an organization. For example, organizations must prove compliance with the PCI-DSS standard in order to accept credit card payments—an essential function of consumer-facing industries like retail.
Healthcare organizations must also pay close attention to cybersecurity compliance. Because patient health data is a common target of cybersecurity breaches, compliance with regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has become increasingly pertinent. Failure to comply with the physical and cybersecurity controls outlined in this standard can result in hefty fines, the average of which is now $1.5M.
Regardless of industry, an organization cannot achieve program maturity without receiving the appropriate compliance certifications. To look beyond the scope of these certifications without first achieving compliance would be to increase program complexity without ensuring program efficacy. Only after achieving certification can a program responsibly mature into a more complex posture.
Win More Business
While not all organizations must adhere to compliance requirements, the ability to demonstrate adherence to industry-standard frameworks is a major competitive advantage. Think of certification as akin to a stamp of approval for potential customers, investors and partners to know you are trustworthy and secure.
In fact, investors and consumers are increasingly focused on cybersecurity compliance when making purchasing decisions. About 79% of consumers report that cybersecurity is equally or more concerning for them than it was a year ago, according to a 2020 study. In a global survey of 800 investors, 67% reported that they were concerned about cybersecurity.
Certification with internationally recognized frameworks provides a level of assurance that can be a differentiating factor for an organization to distinguish itself from its competition.
Reduce Cyber Risk
Adopting a cybersecurity framework provides you with a robust control network that protects critical infrastructure and high-value assets. This network can be used as a toolset to drastically reduce the chance of a successful cybersecurity breach. A typical breach can cost an organization millions of dollars and ravage its reputation, so the ROI for the money spent on implementing these controls is quite easy to justify.
It’s also worth considering that cyber liability insurance providers look to regulatory best practices when evaluating their clients’ claims. There are many recent cases where claims have been denied by insurance providers because an organization didn’t achieve an acceptable cybersecurity posture.
By adopting and implementing the relevant standard(s), organizations can avoid the possibility of a cyber liability insurance claim being denied. Furthermore, by providing evidence that they are proactively managing their security risk, they may also be able to reduce their cyber liability insurance premiums.
Investing the time and effort into a cybersecurity certification path isn’t just a security best practice – it’s a business imperative. Achieving certification with frameworks such as NIST, ISO or HIPAA can greatly contribute to better business outcomes, such as streamlined compliance, improved growth and reduced risk.