Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2025
In today’s interconnected world, cybersecurity regulations have become crucial for organizations to safeguard sensitive information, mitigating legal and commercial risks. Navigating the complex landscape of regulatory compliance can be a daunting task. However, organizations can effectively meet the regulatory compliance challenge and protect their data with the appropriate standards, procedures, and protocols.
Taking the first step
Despite cybersecurity being a priority for presidential administrations since 1997, little progress has been made within the federal government. The lack of adequate legal regulation for cybersecurity tends to aggravate these issues. Moreover, the administrative practice of regulators leaves a lot to be desired; (i) they tend to be cautious when regulating technology, and (ii) they often choose safe but ultimately ineffective approaches. For example, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is a law that requires federal agencies to develop, implement, and maintain an information security program. However, FISMA is not a comprehensive cybersecurity law and does not address many of the challenges facing the federal government.
The private sector faces similar challenges. Cybersecurity concerns can have severe consequences for companies selling digital products internationally. These concerns can lead to market restrictions, political entanglements, and damage to global reputations. Cybersecurity is crucial for businesses as data loss or theft can have severe consequences. Cybersecurity standards determine requirements and best practices to protect sensitive data. Many organizations have established standards, but choosing the right one can be challenging. Businesses can learn from others’ experiences and review existing research to select the most appropriate cybersecurity standard or framework for their needs. In addition, the private sector may also be subject to cybersecurity regulations in specific industries or jurisdictions. For example, financial institutions are subject to regulations such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. Critical infrastructure operators are subject to regulations such as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)’s 16 critical infrastructure sectors.
In this intricate dance between the private sector and the ever-shifting sands of cybersecurity, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also plays a pivotal role. The FTC’s purview extends to scrutinizing and enforcing cybersecurity practices among businesses, ensuring that they meet the stringent standards necessary to protect consumers’ sensitive information and maintain the integrity of the marketplace.
The private sector also has a responsibility to take steps to protect its systems and data from cyberattacks. By following cybersecurity standards and regulations, businesses can help mitigate risks and protect their operations. An organization should foster a solid strategy, engage in political discussions, enhance the cybersecurity image, develop exit and re-entrance plans for markets, and build negotiation leverage as part of a solid strategy. By implementing these measures, companies can better navigate the international cybersecurity landscape.
How to remain protected
Cybercriminals commonly target the retail industry, financial services sector, healthcare sector, public sector/government services, and education sector. Retail databases contain private customer information, including names, addresses, and bank account numbers, making them prime targets. Hackers can then sell this information on the black market, where each stolen credit card is worth at least $1. Therefore, if a hacker can obtain 1 million credit card numbers from a retailer, that hacker could potentially make $1 million from a single transaction.
However, companies can take several active precautions to prevent breaches and avoid selling private and proprietary information. An organization’s first step to stop cyber-attacks is to monitor its website constantly. For instance, using easy-to-guess passwords is a significant cybersecurity risk. People often think that hackers will breach their data in an overly complex way, but the reality is that having easy-to-guess passwords can put you at an extremely high risk. Next, testing the company’s security is critical to protecting data. Hiring a cybersecurity company to assess the risk of successful hacking and implement more robust solutions to safeguard information will help a company tenfold.
Nevertheless, there are challenges with even protecting your data because of government regulations and the cost of implementation. Unfortunately, the increase in sophisticated attacks has led companies to spend up to 40% of their cybersecurity budget submitting regulatory compliance reports while trying to hold up their defenses.
The Financial Services Sector (FSP) Cybersecurity Profile is a notable framework designed to enable organizations to manage and reduce cybersecurity risk. The FSP aims to simplify and consolidate assessments in compliance reporting into a single process, allowing regulators and cybersecurity experts to focus on emerging threats by freeing up their time.
A path forward
Navigating cybersecurity regulations and ensuring regulatory compliance in the digital age is critical for organizations. Understanding the evolving landscape, leveraging industry expertise, and implementing best practices will help organizations navigate the complex regulatory environment and safeguard sensitive information effectively. Organizations prioritizing regulatory compliance can protect their data, build trust, and thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.
The time for companies to fully arm their servers and databases with the proper security is now. Data breaches are not stopping anytime soon, and hackers are becoming more skilled with emerging technologies.