10 Regulated Industries that can benefit from Network Monitoring

Industries that operate under compliance requirements established for their business need to implement Network Monitoring to control the entire IT infrastructure by identifying the compliance issues that need to be addressed in network operations.

Many businesses and organizations in these regulated industries (especially small to mid-sized companies) face problem, fines or sanctions by not having the appropriate level of control and attention to their equipment, users and data. Having devices that are working properly is not by itself enough to protect your network from intrusion. Many times networks that are not monitored and do not have updates and patches applied on a timely basis find out about a breach after it is too late.

Why have a Remote Network Monitoring Service?

If you do not have enough full time people with full expertise to monitor and address issues on your network 24 hours/day, 7 days per week, then you are open to cyber threats that can occur at any time.  The advent of remote access by employees and the utilization of the network by mobile devices creates multiple levels of potential attack to your network.  A Remote Network Monitoring Service can help identify potential issues and threats and can lead to customizing your network security to meet industry standards… and it’s always working 24/7/365.

10 Industries Impacted by Regulations

  1. Insurance

Insurance companies operating among the most stringent regulations and the protection of client information, the proper licensing of representatives and the activity surrounding their communication is at the forefront of the potential compliance issues. The security of the network while making the information readily available for the various personnel that need to access the information is a challenge that must be addressed by Insurance companies. Since the industry is constantly evolving, ongoing planning and protective measures must be introduced as part of the standard operating procedure in the industry where sensitive individual information is at the core of the business.

  1. Healthcare

The HITECH Act and adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) has created an unprecedented amount of health information in digital format which creates risks of exposure of the information to cyberattacks. As healthcare organizations attempt to create effective and efficient operations in a wireless environment it exposes the data to penetration attempts on their network.  Special planning and protective measures regarding the storage and access to the data needs to addressed since federal and state regulatory agencies are actively attempting to protect the privacy of the patients. Breaches in security can result in serious legal and financial penalties and require any company in the healthcare industry to pay close attention to their patient records.

  1. Retailers

Whether a retailer is a brick and mortar operation, a mobile operation, an online business or a hybrid approach, retailers that accept credit card payment automatically obtain sensitive customer information that is at risk to a cyberattack. In addition, recent trends have retailers obtaining customer information for future marketing purposes with integrated point of sale equipment and this data is also exposed to theft by cyber criminals.  As a result, retailers have an obligation to address this potential threat by taking proactive measures to protect the personal information of their customers.

  1. Law Firms

Law firms maintain sensitive information regarding their clients and are a target for cybercriminals seeking specific information regarding the clients in both criminal and civil cases. Information obtained can be used for a variety of reasons to benefit other parties. A law firm’s reputation is based upon confidentiality and proactive steps must be taken to protect all information and communication stored by the firm on their network, and devices including smartphones and tablets utilized by the attorneys and staff.

  1. Investment & Asset Management Firms

Investment and Asset Management Firms are natural targets for cybercriminals since their clients have significant assets under management.  Information obtained by attackers can be used in a variety of ways to capitalize on the opportunity to have access to personal information and activities of wealthy individuals.  These firms that operate at a high decision level are subject to cyber criminals with financial, social and political motives which makes an aggressive protection of data essential. The additional measures of compliance that is a major part of operating an Investment and Asset Management company further forces attention be paid to protection of client information.

  1. Banking

Banks have to manage their business under security and regulatory issues.  Cyberattacks have cost banks hundreds of millions of dollars. Protection of critical information is essential to comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. 

  1. Financial Institutions

All financial institutions are required to secure personal financial information of their customers as part of the GLBA/FFIEC in protecting customer information. Security measures help protect against potential threats to personal information and the theft of personal information.

  1. Utilities

As public utilities upgrade infrastructure to improve operational efficiencies. These new facilities are often targeted by hackers looking to penetrate the databases and disrupt the delivery of the utility service as well as capture user information.

  1. Government

As government agencies evolve their operation to electronic records and conduct more business online, the potential threat to attacks on customer information intensifies. Whether it is a public utility, public service, or a government service agency, the information obtained and stored in the network must be aggressively protected against cybercrimes.

  1. Education

IT security is a major concern for educational institutions especially the student privacy concerns and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and financial compliance when tuition is collected. Interaction with government agencies and lending institutions regarding student loans and grants opens up another area that must be addressed regarding the movement of information, protection of the data, and compliance reporting that is unique to educational organizations.

Compliance is just one aspect of concern regarding IT infrastructure, equipment and operations but it gets the most attention because of the potential disastrous consequences related to poor performance. In many businesses, IT expenditures are the second largest expense line item after personnel. Having an efficient, well planned and continuously maintained IT infrastructure can keep sensitive data secure while improving the operational efficiency of your personnel. Paying the proper attention to IT equipment and operations can also result in cost savings by getting the most out of each device and replacing at the proper moment in its lifecycle.

Since 1992, Global Link has been on the forefront of communications technology and can provide the development, installation and ongoing support to help your network operate safely and effectively while addressing any compliance issues that your business faces. For a free, no-obligation consultation on how Global Link can partner with you to effectively and cost efficiently manage your IT, contact Robert Sidky rsidky@glci.net 215-485-4003.

Compliance Concerns

An effective network monitoring system along with proactive steps in network design and protection can also help address compliance requirements such as:

GLBA – The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLBA) established a requirement to protect consumer financial information.

FFIEC – (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council) – compliance requires conforming to a set of standards for online banking including multifactor authentication (MFA) as a replacement for single-factor authentication (only user ID and password) has proven vulnerable to online hacking.

PCI DSS – The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) applies to companies of any size that accept credit card payments. Any business that accepts credit card payment (including storage, processing and transmission of cardholder data) needs to host the data securely with a PCI compliant hosting provider.

SOX – Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance – Requires that all publicly held companies establish internal controls and procedures for financial reporting to reduce the possibility of corporate fraud.

HIPAA – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), establishes the standard for protecting sensitive patient data in the healthcare industry. Any company that deals with protected health information (PHI) must ensure that all the required physical, network, and process security measures are in place and enacted.

FISMA – The Federal Information Security Management Act is U.S. legislation that defines a comprehensive framework to protect government information, operations and assets against natural or man-made threats.

ISO/IEC 27001 is the best-known standard for providing requirements for an information security management system (ISMS).

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