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Security Compliance First Steps: Which Compliance Framework Is Right For Me?

Graphic: "First Steps To Effective Security Compliance"

First things first—what is a security compliance framework?

A security compliance framework contains a key set of control activities that an organization is expected to have in place. Security compliance frameworks not only mitigate risk, but they can also make your organization more trustworthy.

3 Steps To Identify the Right Security Compliance Framework

1. Know your organization.

Think about your organization: What services or products do you provide? Who are your customers and where are they located? In what industry do you operate? Do you work with or rely on third parties? What data do you collect or process?

Depending on your answers to these questions, there are likely different security expectations within your industry, whether from your customer base or regulators. The most common struggle we see here at Craft Compliance is that most of our clients don’t fully understand their own business and therefore cannot properly determine their own security needs.

2. Determine what security framework is required or best fits your organization.

Based on your answers to the above questions, your legal, procurement, and security teams should work together to identify any regulatory or contractual obligations first.

For example, we frequently see companies become legally obligated to align to security compliance frameworks through customer contracts. Oftentimes these requirements are not communicated across the organization, and are only known by the individual who signed the contract. Identifying these requirements through regular contract reviews and discussions with contract owners can help determine which security frameworks might be applicable to your organization.

For companies not obligated to adopt a specific security framework (through contract or regulation), they can choose to adopt a best practice security framework voluntarily. There are many options to consider but ultimately the choice should be driven by risk appetite and cost.

3. Build a roadmap.

Once you’ve selected the right framework, build out a prioritized roadmap to align your organization to the new framework. It’s important to know why you’re implementing a compliance framework and what purpose it will serve. Frameworks are typically higher-level in nature, so they have flexibility in terms of implementation and adoption. Focus on rightsizing the framework controls to meet your specific environment and needs. This is something that is all too commonly overlooked.

Frameworks aren’t as cut-and-dry as LEGO instructions; they take a lot of molding to your individual organization. A smaller organization is going to implement differently than a large organization, a financial institution will implement differently than a retail store, and so on.

Consider internal resource availability and expertise and whether external support is required. If you need support, you can work with experts (like us!) who can help you select and implement the right framework.

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