Data is the most critical part of any business. Every organization is either producing their own data or acquiring it from their employees or customers, so it becomes the organization’s responsibility to safeguard that data from unauthorized access. Digitization and digitalization has changed the working techniques of every organization. Almost all of the data is on information systems, which increases the risk of information exposure to the outside world .Many organisations already knows the importance of information Security and are working in a controlled environment one or the other way, however there are many organisations who still does not consider information security necessary for their business. Statutory and regulatory bodies has made information security mandatory for many businesses. Let’s discuss about different information compliances for organisations.

Why Organisations need IT Security Compliance

Compliance is a set of guidelines by the regulatory body which the organisation needs to adhere. Compliances brings great benefits for the organisations:

  • Improvement in Information Security: IT security regulations improve organisations security measures by setting baseline requirements. This baseline requirements helps keeping business data-security levels relatively consistent within respective industries..
  • Increase Control on Information Systems: Improved security goes hand-in-hand with increased control. This is helpful in preventing employee mistakes and insider theft with enhanced authentication mechanism while keeping an eye on outside threats.
  • Minimize Organisations Losses: Improved security, in turn, prevents breaches, which are costly to businesses. There are many organisations which end up losing very large amount of their revenue in sales, repair costs and legal fees, all of which can be avoided with the right preventive measures
  • Maintain Trust with customers:A better information security system definitely built and maintain customer trust. Customers trust organisations which keeps their information safe, secure and available at the right time.

There are numerous IT Security compliances exits each related to different industry verticals. The most common compliance includes

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996(HIPAA)

INDUSTRIES AFFECTED:This act affects any organisation or office that deals with healthcare data. That includes but is not limited to doctor’s offices, insurance companies, business associates, and employers.

WHAT HIPAA regulates: This act is divided into 5 titles.

Title I: It protects health insurance coverage of employees either they change job or laid off.

Title II: It controls health care fraud and abuse. It also establishes policies and procedures for maintaining the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information, outlines numerous offenses relating to health care, and establishes civil and criminal penalties for violations

Title III:This sets guidelines for pre-tax medical spending accounts.

Title IV:This sets guidelines for group health plans regarding coverage of persons with pre-existing conditions, and modifies continuation of coverage requirements

Title V:This governs company-owned life insurance policies.

General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR)

INDUSTRIES AFFECTED: This regulation impacts all the organisations which process personal data in any form. This includes any cloud service provider, marketing company, insurance provider, law firms, data analytics companies and many more. GDPR applies to all organisations collecting and processing personal data for people residing in the European Union, even if that organisation is not physically located or based in the European Union.

WHAT GDPR regulates : General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) has 11 chapters’ general provisions, principles, rights of data subjects, controller and processor, transfer of personal data to third countries or international organisations, independent supervisory authorities, cooperation and consistency, remedies, penalties and liabilities, delegated acts and implementing acts, final provisions.

GDPR, motive is to protect personal data of European Union (EU)citizens from data breaches.


Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)

INDUSTRIES AFFECTED:Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is meant for all the organisations which handles credit card data.

WHAT PCI DSS regulates: PCI DSS has given a set of 12 regulations which are designed to protect customer credit card information and to reduce fraud. Compliance requirements pertaining to PCI DSS are: Build and maintain a secure network and system, protect cardholder data, maintain a vulnerability Management program, strong access control measures, regular monitoring and testing networks, maintain an information security policy


Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002(SOX)

INDUSTRIES AFFECTED: This regulation is meant for all U.S. public company boards, management and public accounting firms. In addition to this a number of provisions of the Act also apply to privately held companies, such as the willful destruction of evidence to impede a federal investigation

WHAT SOX regulates:Sarbanes-Oxley Act has eleven sections: Public Company Accounting Oversight Board(PCAOB), Auditor’s independence, corporate responsibility, enhanced financial disclosures, analyst conflict of interest, commission resources and authority, perform various  studies and report their findings, corporate and criminal fraud accountability, white collar crime penalty enhancement, corporate tax returns, corporate fraud accountability.

According to this act organisations required to maintain financial records for seven years. It was implemented to prevent financial scandals like Enron.


The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

INDUSTRIES AFFECTED:Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is for all federal agencies in the US. According to FISMA act all the federal agencies need to develop, document, and implement an agency-wide program to provide information security for the information and information systems. This also includes the information and information systems provided or managed by another agency, contractor, or other source.

WHAT FISMA regulates: FISMA defines a framework for managing information security of information systems. According to NIST FISMA is divided into: Inventory of information systems, categorization of information and information systems according to risk, implementation of security controls, risk assessment, system security plan, certification and accreditation and continuous monitoring


 There are many other laws and regulations present to protect information. However it is not always very clear to the many decision makers or compliance officers which regulations or compliance is applied to their organisation. Compliance is very critical part of any business. Not adhering a mandatory compliance can lead to serious consequences, sometimes unnecessary disruption in the business. So this is very necessary for organisations to identify and understand all the desired regulations for the business and adhere to all the requirements of it.

#tags:SOX, FISMA, HIPAA, GDPR, regulatory

#keywords: compliance, SOX,FISMA, PCIDSS, HIPAA,GDPR, information security, data protection


In this era where every organisation like healthcare, financial, logistics and transportation, Construction ,government services ,real estate ,retail etc. are moving towards digitization and digitalization, also becoming prone to cyber threats.

While everyone is talking about new regulations and compliances like Data Privacy, Information Security, GDPR etc., organisations are still unable protect their network and data from cyber criminals. Personnel Data theft news is making headlines every other day.

What the Cyber Security threat is?

In a layman term it is a malicious act which can damage data, steal data or disrupt digital life and ultimately impact organisation’s business objectives. These threats Masters of disguise and manipulation, and contently evolve new ways to accomplish their task of stealing, harming and annoying organisations. Organisations shall adequately arm themselves with resources and information to safeguard against complex and growing computer security threats and stay safe online.



These are common cyber security threats


What a virus is? A computer virus is a malicious piece of program that may disturb the normal functioning .Virus are often sent as an attachment with email ,with an intention to infect your computer system as well as all other computers in your network. Sometimes virus are hosted on websites, whosoever visits malicious website gets infected.

Examples of Computer Virus are: Browser Hijacker, File Infector Virus, Boot Sector Virus, Web Scripting Virus, Polymorphic Virus etc


What virus can do? A computer virus can attach itself to email attachment, pdfs, doc files, USB, pen drives and hard drives .Any file which contains a virus is called infected file. If the infected file get copied to computer, virus also get copied

  • A virus can damage software and data on a computer
  • A virus can slow down the system processes
  • A virus can destroy all data by formatting the hard drive
  • A virus can steal critical information like password from your system
  • It can display unwanted advertisements
  • It can disable security setting and close your firewall
  • It can hijack your web browser and slow down the speed and can steal critical data



What a malware is:

A malware is a malicious program or software that infects your computer, such as computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and adware.

What malware can do:

  • A malware can intimidate you by a pop-up message that tells you your computer has a security problem or other false information.
  • A malware can reformat the hard drive of your computer causing you to lose all your information.
  • A malware can alter or delete critical files.
  • A malware can steal sensitive information like username and passwords.
  • A malware can send fake emails on your behalf.
  • A malware can take control of your computer and all the software running on it



What a trojan is?

A Trojan is malicious program that is disguised as, or embedded within, legitimate software. It is an executable file wrapped with some genuine program and software  that will install itself and run automatically once it’s downloaded.

Example:Trojan- Banker, Trojan-GameThief , Trojan-Dropper, Trojan Ransom, Trojan-SMS, Trojan- Spy etc

What trojan can do?

  • A Trojan can delete your files.
  • A Trojan is used to create your computer a zombie or a bot.
  • A Trojan can watch you through your web cam.
  • A Trojan log your keystrokes (such as a credit card number you entered in an online purchase).
  • A Trojan record personal information like usernames, passwords



What is a Ransomware ?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that block the access to your computer system or your files, usually by encrypting it and displays a message that demands payment in order for the restriction to be removed. In many cases it comes with deadlines, if the victim doesn’t pay the ransom, the data is gone forever.

The two most common mode of spreading ransom ware are phishing emails that contain malicious attachments and website pop-up advertisements

Examples of ransom ware are: WannaCry, Crypto Locker, NonPetya, Bad Rabbitetc.

What Ransom ware can do?

There are two common types of ransomware:

  • Locker Ransom ware: displays an image that prevents you from accessing your computer
  • Encryption/Crypto  Ransom ware: encrypts files on your system’s hard drive and sometimes on shared network drives, USB drives, external hard drives, and even some cloud storage drives, preventing you from opening them

Ransom ware encrypts the computer or data files and display a ransom/payment notification for regaining access. Once the ransom is paid, victim will receive the decryption key and may attempt to decrypt the files. Sometimes the victims never receives the keys.



What are botnets? Botnets -Botnet is a network of infected computers often known as zombies used for malicious purposes .This Botnet is combination of Robot and Network. So here the network of computer robots is used to perform cyber crime controlled by Cyber criminal known as bot masters.

Botnet is controlled by the originator and the infected computer might unaware of its being a zombie.

Example:IRC (Internet Relay Chat) botnet, P2P (Peer-to-Peer) botnet, HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) botnet and the hybrid botnet


What Botnets can do?

  • Botnet can be used to spread malicious emails.
  • Botnet is used to spread malware.
  • Botnet is used to perform Denial of Services attach



What is DDOS?

This is an attack a network of zombie computers us used to sabotage specific website or server. These zombie computer are being controlled for performing specific task such as making the website and server unavailable .In DDOS the attacker use the vulnerability existing in user computer


What DOS/DDOS can do?

The purpose of DOS/ DDOS attack is to make essential services unavailable, which can sometimes leads to server crash.

  • Loss of data
  • Loss of revenue
  • Impact on business reputation
  • Disappointment to users, they may never return.
  • Compensation of damage occurred by DDOS.


What is Phishing?

Phishing is a social engineering attack used by cyber criminals used for gathering personal information of including login credentials and credit card details using deceptive emails or website.

Attackers create fake emails, text messages and websites which look like they’re from authentic companies. This is also known as “spoofing”

What Phishing can do?

By phishing hackers/cyber criminals trick you into giving them information by asking you to update, validate or confirm your account. It is often presented in a manner than seems official and intimidating, to encourage you to take action.

Phishing provides hackers/cyber criminals with your username and passwords so that they can access your accounts (your online bank account, shopping accounts, etc.) and steal your credit card numbers


What is Hacking? Hacking: Hacking is an attempt of unauthorised access to users computer by exploiting the existing vulnerabilities  for performing fraudulent activities like personal data stealing , invasion in privacy, financial fraud etc.

What Hacking can do?

Hackers find out weakness in your system and exploit it for different purpose

  • Denial of service Attack
  • Electronic Fund Transfer
  • ATM Fraud
  • Identity Theft
  • Stealing intellectual information


Ways to prevent Cyber Security Threats

  • Educate employees and individuals about cyber security and its countermeasure
  • Use inbound and outbound firewalls on your network. Change the default passwords and customise it according to your business needs.
  • Take backup of important business information and data on regular basis, in order to maintain business continuity after crisis.
  • Install and regularly patch antivirus and antispyware on every server and computers on your network
  • Have a controlled logical and physical access to all your computer and network components.
  • Always use licenced software and update the patches for Operating Systems and Applications
  • Impose a password policy, use a strong password and change them regularly. Remember, weak passwords are prone to hacking
  • If you are using Wi Fi at work, use WPA2 and above security. You can hide the SSID and don’t forget to use strong password.
  • Don’t give Admin privileges to every employees. Network and Computers shall be run on Principle of least Privilege.
  • Segregate your data according to criticality and appropriate security shall be provided by using DLP, Endpoint protection etc.
  • Never click on suspicious mails and, never ever download from P2P and file sharing system
  • Regularly scan your application and network for vulnerabilities, also perform penetration testing at least once in every year.
  • Regularly monitor your network for suspicious activities



Using common sense is the best protection .One shall never download free videos, files or songs from suspicious websites, never click on suspicious links .Never ever share your personal data online. Be aware of what is happening around.Cyber threats are effective if and only if you have weaknesses in your system. More vulnerabilities will expose the system to threats and hence more risky, however less loopholes means less risk.

Remember Precaution is better than Cure.

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