Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

2/3/2012
09:14 AM
50%
50%

Compliance And 'The Little Guys'

Small and midsize businesses often let the cost of compliance obscure important benefits

Compliance is not cheap. We all know that. But as a percentage of a company’s gross revenue, the work necessary for compliance is more expensive for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) than the big boys. This is a key reason so many SMBs’ compliance efforts are woefully inadequate.

Many SMBs fail to properly consider the cost of compliance when building or updating their business models. There is a lot of opportunity for this oversight because it can happen with so many different people: the owners, upper management, technical leadership, and sometimes all of them. Regardless of the cause, this inadequate planning leaves funding for compliance lacking. In most cases, this funding shortage is directly related to the manpower needed for the ongoing tasks required for proper industry compliance.

There is still a lot “the little guys” in business can do toward compliance, the first being to embrace the benefits of compliance. Avoiding or ignoring compliance is not viable option, because it is not a safe answer for your business.

Regardless of your industry, and even if you are never audited, noncompliant technical and business operations are typically at much greater risk for complicated and expensive problems. A data breach or a flawed back-up process can cost money, time, and even reputations. Organizations with a reasonable compliance effort have inherently better-protected business processes and technology. A commitment to compliance efforts may be forced business discipline, but it’s an important and healthy discipline.

For those SMBs that have acknowledged and accepted that their compliance efforts are inadequate, here are five tips for better compliance when resources are limited:

1. Make a list. The Web is filled with clear, easy-to-read lists highlighting the important areas of every compliance regulation, rule, and law. Find the lists that apply to your business, and then match the issues or requirements to your business.

2. Prioritize the list. With limited resources, you cannot address every issue immediately. And trying to do everything at once can be a chaotic approach ending with many important elements never addressed properly.

3. Take it one step at a time. Start at the top of your prioritized list, address it methodically to get it under control, and repeat. As the old joke goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

4. As you work through your list, be sure that you are working to make compliance part of your ongoing business processes, not something that will be implemented later. If compliance tasks are seen as extra work, staff (and this may include you) will adopt an attitude of “I’ll do that later when I have time” toward compliance, and it will fail to become a priority.

5. Once you get to the bottom of the list, start back at the top, and work to refine each item further. Each pass through the list will get easier and will better help you understand your own business operations better. You’ll find that the process gets faster, more efficient, and eventually becomes a routine part of your standard business operations. This is a good thing.

Most SMBs will be reluctant to attempt to become and remain compliant, often because of the perceived cost. They must understand that a committed, realistic, well-planned approach can provide benefit to their businesses far beyond that of simple compliance. They will learn more about exactly how they do what they do, which almost always means they will find a way to do it better. And make more money doing it.

Glenn S. Phillips, the president of Forte' Incorporated, works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. Glenn works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks awaiting them. The Founder and Sr. Consultant of Forte' Incorporated, Glenn and his team work with business leaders to support growth, increase profits, and address ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
Breaches Are Inevitable, So Embrace the Chaos
Ariel Zeitlin, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder, Guardicore,  11/13/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2011-2916
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
qtnx 0.9 stores non-custom SSH keys in a world-readable configuration file. If a user has a world-readable or world-executable home directory, another local system user could obtain the private key used to connect to remote NX sessions.
CVE-2019-12757
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP), prior to 14.2 RU2 & 12.1 RU6 MP10 and Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition (SEP SBE) prior to 12.1 RU6 MP10d (12.1.7510.7002), may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt t...
CVE-2019-12758
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection, prior to 14.2 RU2, may be susceptible to an unsigned code execution vulnerability, which may allow an individual to execute code without a resident proper digital signature.
CVE-2019-12759
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager (SEPM) and Symantec Mail Security for MS Exchange (SMSMSE), prior to versions 14.2 RU2 and 7.5.x respectively, may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt to compromise the software applicat...
CVE-2019-18372
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection, prior to 14.2 RU2, may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt to compromise the software application to gain elevated access to resources that are normally protected from an application or user.