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27
Feb
2024
Press Your Luck: The Dangers of Security Noncompliance for Your Business

Press Your Luck: The Dangers of Security Noncompliance for Your Business

                Whether you run an antiques shop, a sports medicine practice, or a tax accounting firm, chances are you must adhere to relevant cybersecurity rules and regulations every day. For example, regulations such as HIPAA (the Health Insurance Accountability and Portability Act) outline the vital steps businesses must take to secure their sensitive information¹. If you fail or outright refuse to comply with these standards, that opens doors for an array of security threats – or “whammies” – to wreak havoc on your organization¹. Hackers and other malicious actors can infiltrate your systems, disrupting operations and losing you valuable revenue¹. Additionally, if you do not comply with industry-relevant security regulations, you are at greater risk of suffering a data breach¹. Keep in mind, too, that the average data breach worldwide costs $4.45 million, and the average U.S. data breach an alarming $9.48 million, according to IBM². Now, you may ask yourself, “What kinds of ‘whammies’ does my business face for non-compliance?” and “How can I make sure my business complies with cybersecurity requirements?”

(Image courtesy of https://www.tvinsider.com/gallery/press-your-luck-whammys-abc-game-of-thrones-bachelor-oprah/#8)

                Thankfully, we at navitend are here to help. In this article, we will outline the penalties that businesses like yours face if you fail to comply with relevant regulations, and how we can help you comply with these requirements.

                Two main types of “whammies” can strike your business if you fail to comply with relevant cybersecurity rules and regulations¹. First, regulatory authorities can fine non-compliant businesses hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars. For example, Tier 1 HIPAA violations – the least severe – range from $100 to $50,000 per offense, depending on severity³. However, Tier 4 violations – the most severe – result in a minimum fine of $50,000 per violation, and for serious offenses, this figure can reach six or even seven figures³. If you are a healthcare provider or health insurer who willfully neglects HIPAA, you must pay up to $2,067,813 in fines³, making it a double “whammy” for everyone in your organization.

                Meanwhile, if you are a retailer or any other business accepting credit and debit card payments, such as the Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia pictured below, you must adhere to PCI DSS – the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard⁴. Although it can be difficult to pinpoint an exact amount per violation, fines are based on each month of non-compliance and increase significantly the longer your business fails to comply⁴. For instance, if you do not comply with PCI DSS standards for between one and three months, you must pay $5,000 to $10,000 each month⁵. If you fail to comply for four to six months, you must pay between $25,000 and $50,000 in fines for each month after the first three months of noncompliance⁵. Finally, if you refuse to comply with PCI DSS for seven months or longer, you are required to pay $50,000 per month⁵. This shows how devastating the “whammy” of noncompliance fines can be for your business.

(Image courtesy of https://wvtourism.com/company/snowshoe-mountain/)

                Sure, regulatory noncompliance can result in fines of five, six, or sometimes seven figures, but there is another “whammy” you must not overlook: legal troubles¹. If you fail to comply with the cybersecurity requirements surrounding your business, you must face lawsuits from angry customers or other affected parties seeking reparations for the damage your negligence has caused, including compromised PII (personally identifiable information) and other data¹. Not only does navigating this legal labyrinth waste time and money best spent creating predictably awesome value for your business, but it also damages your company’s reputation, prompting customers to abandon you en masse in favor of competitors¹. Now that we have identified the two main types of “whammies,” we will explain how to prevent them from wreaking havoc on your business.

                Fortunately, there are four steps you can take to maintain regulatory compliance and thus prevent “whammies” like fines and lawsuits from destroying your company’s reputation and revenues¹. First, you must strengthen your business network’s defenses using MFA (multi-factor authentication, which we discussed in a previous article) or another secure authentication protocol, advanced firewalls (as we mentioned in a different article), and other comprehensive security measures¹. You should also regularly update your software and systems while ensuring that only authorized parties can access them¹. By taking these proactive steps, you can stop hackers and other malicious hackers from infiltrating your organization.

                Second, you must educate everyone in your business about the importance of cybersecurity threats, as well as best practices for addressing and preventing such threats¹. We at navitend offer comprehensive end-user security training, plus DLP (data loss prevention) and ransomware prevention software training programs. Our training programs will shield your team from the dangers of social engineering, phishing, and other malicious tactics hackers use daily¹. In short, you must not overlook the importance of creating a vigilant, security-focused culture for your organization¹.

                Third, you must encrypt your business’s sensitive data both at rest and in transit¹. If your data is encrypted, malicious parties cannot read it or otherwise use it, even if a breach occurs¹. Furthermore, if you are a healthcare provider or health insurance agency authorized to issue health benefit plans in New Jersey, you must adhere to New Jersey S562⁶. NJ S562 requires health insurers and care providers statewide to encrypt patient data or utilize “any other method or technology” rendering this “information unreadable, undecipherable, or otherwise unusable by” unauthorized parties⁶. This demonstrates the importance of encrypting your data so that it does not fall into the wrong hands.

                Finally, you must regularly assess your business’s regulatory compliance and identify any vulnerabilities by conducting routine security audits¹. Thankfully, we at navitend perform comprehensive security assessments for our clients, ensuring that they comply with all relevant cybersecurity regulations surrounding their organizations. Furthermore, if you are a HIPAA-covered entity or business associate, we will make sure that you comply with all HIPAA security requirements. In summary, frequent security audits help stop “whammies” from infiltrating your business’s digital infrastructure.

                If your business is at risk of noncompliance, navitend can help. We offer a variety of managed security services – including advanced Sophos firewalls, end-user security training, and comprehensive security risk assessments – for clients throughout New Jersey, New York, and eastern Pennsylvania. Our top priority is helping you maintain if not exceed required security standards, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

                Navitend can help you. Call 973.448.0070 or setup an appointment today.

Sources:

¹Fortra, LLC. “The Consequences of Non-Compliance in Cybersecurity: Risks and Penalties” by Stephanie Shank. Retrieved from https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/consequences-non-compliance-cybersecurity-risks-and-penalties.

²IBM Security. “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023.” Retrieved from https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/E3G5JMBP

³HIPAA Journal. “What are the Penalties for HIPAA Violations?” Retrieved from https://www.hipaajournal.com/what-are-the-penalties-for-hipaa-violations-7096/.

⁴CSO Online. “PCI DSS explained: Requirements, fines, and steps to compliance” by Josh Fruhlinger. Retrieved from https://www.csoonline.com/article/569591/pci-dss-explained-requirements-fines-and-steps-to-compliance.html.

I.S. Partners LLC. “PCI Non-Compliance Fines & Consequences” by Mike Mariano. Retrieved from https://www.ispartnersllc.com/blog/pci-non-compliance-fines-consequences/.

⁶Norton Rose Fulbright LLP. “Encryption of patient personal information to be the law of the land in New Jersey.” Retrieved from https://www.dataprotectionreport.com/2015/01/encryption-of-patients-personal-information-to-be-the-law-of-the-land-in-new-jersey/.

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