Meeting regulations compliance laws and standards is a top priority for every OPS Computer Center Business. It helps the organization maintain trusting relationships with clients and stakeholders, protects the organization, prevents legal repercussions and hefty fines, and guards against unwanted surprises that can disrupt business operations.
Every OPS Computer Center deals with sensitive information, which means we accept responsibility for processing and managing data. Therefore, we are obligated to take necessary precautions to protect all sensitive data in our care against internal and external threats.
Why is Regulatory Compliance Important?
Implementing the correct security compliance measures that meet or exceed applicable security standards or regulations will augment our company culture and help us stand out from the crowd.
Our audit reports can serve as a way of marketing to the right customers, which improves profitability. For example, meeting HIPPA compliance standards will help us target healthcare providers in need of data centers.
Customers rely on our Computer centers to meet regulatory requirements especially regarding IT security.
However, understanding what it means to achieve compliance can be complicated. We have outlined the three most important OPS Computer Centers regulations: ISO, HIPAA, and ITIL. This guide will discuss each of these key compliance regulations, alongside their benefits, and the next steps we must take to achieve compliance.
ISO 18788 – Security Operations Management System Training
ISO 18788 offers requirements and guidance for organizations conducting security operations. For OPS Computer Centers, this certification provides a framework for setting up, maintaining, operating, reviewing, monitoring, and enhancing our security operations management system. Adhering to this regulation demonstrates respect for human rights and the continuous development of security services that ensure consumer safety. The ISO 18788 will also help us set up excellent corporate governance, guard our reputation and credibility.
Implementing and managing a Private Security Operations Management System is critical to all OPS Computer centers, and it demands obtaining the ISO 18788 certification. We must undergo PECB training and implement the best security operation practices within our organization to receive the ISO 18788 certification.
ITIL – IT Infrastructure Library
ITIL is a framework that offers the best foundational practices for providing IT services. ITIL provides a systematic approach to IT service management. This, in turn, helps us set up cost-effective IT practices and develop a stable IT environment. It will also help us become proactive about risk management, maintain healthy customer relationships, and leverage avenues to adapt, scale, and grow.
Getting the ITIL certification will expand our skills and experience and significantly help us streamline IT operations and expenditure. We will also learn a more professional approach to service delivery by leveraging the best IT practices and processes.
In reality, the ITIL is a library of volumes offering illustrations of the best practices for delivering IT services. At the time of creation, it had 30 books that were later compressed to seven books. The library has undergone several revisions in history but currently has five books. Each book covers diverse stages and processes of the IT service lifecycle.
The latest library of five books is called ITIL 4, which was released in 2019 was updated for modern businesses. It offers a more flexible, agile, and customizable version of the ITIL. It promotes fewer silos, more communication, and collaboration across entire companies while implementing DevOps and agile culture into ITSM strategies.
The ITIL 4 contains nine guiding principles adopted after the latest ITIL Practitioner Exam and encompasses communication, metrics, measurement, and organizational change management.
The nine principles of the ITIL 4 include:
- Focus on value
- Design for experience
- Start where you are
- Work holistically
- Progress iteratively
- Observe directly
- Be transparent
- Keep it simple
ITIL 4 focuses on company culture, automating processes, change management, enhancing service management, and blending IT into entire business frameworks. The ITIL ensures that we can better understand public perception and incorporate customer feedback to achieve higher customer satisfaction.
Implementing the ITIL is more than just reading a set of books. Previously there were five levels of certification, including Foundation, Practitioner, Intermediate, Expert, and Master. Now we have two certification levels, including ITIL Foundation and ITIL Master Exams. We can choose between ITIL Management Professional (MP) and ITIL Strategic Leader (SL) at the Foundation level.
The ITIL Strategic Leader (SL) exam is meant for IT operators involved in “all digitally-enabled services,” not just those that carry out IT operations tasks.
HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act
The HIPAA is regulatory compliance for guarding crucial patient health information against being revealed without the patient’s knowledge or permission. At first glance, the HIPAA does not seem like a requirement for Computer Centers. The HIPAA provides guidelines on how healthcare providers and associated businesses manage and protect patients’ critical health information. As a Computer Center, we act as ‘business associates’ and are directly involved in the transmission, processing, and storage of data for health care facilities. Therefore, HIPAA compliance can open our business to entirely new healthcare customers.
There is no official way to become HIPAA certified, but for any business or healthcare facility handling patient data, we must:
- Create, maintain and consistently update our procedures and policies to meet HIPAA requirements.
- We need to routinely conduct a security risk analysis to identify vulnerabilities and implement measures to prevent data breaches.
- Provide up-to-date training for our IT team on the best practices when handling patient data.
Becoming HIPAA Certified is not a one-time process; neither do we have run any program. Overall, HIPAA compliance should be more like a lifestyle and a continuous process. Do also note that with the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), there is more emphasis on data privacy in all forms. Therefore, HIPAA also applies to both PIAA (personally identifiable information) and ePHI (Electronic Protected Health Information).
Challenges with Regulatory Compliance
As Computer Centers, we deal with a broad scope of regulatory compliance. Therefore, we must also be entirely transparent about the certificates and attestations we have acquired. As said earlier, we need these certifications to protect against hefty fines, potential legal actions, and our company’s reputation.
Other applicable regulatory compliance standards to consider include:
- SSAE 18 (Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements). A standard governing financial reporting. SSAE ensures businesses are transparent about their business and compliance interactions.
- PCI DSS 3.2 (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). Focuses on handling sensitive personal financial data for electronically processed credit card payments.
- SOC 2 Type II (System and Organization Controls). SoC2 audit focuses on information security and evaluates procedures and policies concerning data security, availability, integrity, privacy, and confidentiality
Following compliance rules can seem costly from the infrastructure and personnel standpoint. But when we have customers in highly regulated industries such as finance and healthcare, it cannot be overlooked. We might often face a challenge such as:
- Understanding how emerging regulations influence our business direction and current business models.
- The best way to develop, incorporate and promote that compliance culture.
- Anticipating compliance trends and integrating regulatory processes for efficiency.
- Consumer technologies are also rapidly and constantly evolving, creating more complications.
How We Can Ensure and Maintain Regulatory Compliance
No matter the challenges with remaining compliant, the downside of avoiding compliance is enormous. First, the risk of paying hefty fines and the loss of customer confidence can be crippling for OPS computer centers because of their small size. To help maintain compliance, here are a few typical steps that can help:
- Implement robust information and cybersecurity policies and strategies to stay ahead of data breaches and attacks. Building a secure infrastructure will help our customers stay informed about their compliance needs and issues and help us build long-term healthy relationships for higher profitability.
- Identify applicable regulations, including state, municipal, federal and global rules. Next, identify requirements in each regulation that is relevant to our organization and create plans for implementation
- We must document compliance processes alongside specific instructions for maintaining compliance. This information is valuable during regulatory audits.
- Implement tools that can help our customers know where their data is located, where it is going, who accessed it, and where it has been at any given time. Such a comprehensive picture provides transparency and accountability. Heightened visibility will also help us monitor changes in compliance requirements and their relevance to our organization.
- Consider conducting in-house compliance audits regularly to review adherence to regulatory guidelines. These audits will evaluate compliance processes and associated policies, including user access controls.
Regulatory compliance may seem like a daunting process due to the cost and effort required to meet them. However, devoting resources to compliance matters is a win-win situation. It can offer our customers the much-needed peace of mind and confidence to continue doing business with us. It also strengthens our reputation and can improve our bottom line. Some regulatory compliance can also help us incorporate proven practices and processes that will lower our operating costs and set the pace for fresher opportunities.
Regulatory compliance helps us protect our customers and businesses while leveraging innovative solutions for optimum efficiency and productivity.