Network security uses physical and software security solutions to protect network infrastructure from unauthorized access, misuse, failure, alteration, disruption, or unauthorized disclosure of sensitive data.
Network security involves implementing security policies, procedures, and tools to prevent unauthorized persons and programs from accessing a network, connected devices, and network traffic.
Network security applies to both public and private computer networks. Government agencies, private organizations of all sizes, and individuals rely on some form of network security every day, as they conduct transactions and communicate across networks, inside and between organizations.
The Rise of Cybersecurity Regulations
The growing number of data and network security regulations is creating a complicated tangle of compliance requirements for businesses worldwide. When analyzing the evolving regulations, several themes emerge:
- Many aspects of cybersecurity governance are designed to create accountability for a company’s senior management, encouraging them to consider security issues and risks seriously.
- Many regulations specify information security controls and requirements that organizations must implement to protect customers’ personal data from the risk of unauthorized access, misuse, or theft.
- Under many cybersecurity regulations, businesses are liable for the actions and failures of third parties and vendors. This underlines the importance of implementing an effective risk management process to ensure secure communication with third parties.
To comply with these new requirements, organizations must have a cybersecurity strategy that focuses on monitoring, mitigating, and managing risks using security controls and board-level reporting. Organizations should continuously evaluate and monitor the performance and security posture of all partners, third parties and connected networks to detect security gaps and prioritize risks.
Data Privacy Regulations
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides a set of rules to protect the personal data of European Union (EU) residents. The GDPR data privacy provisions replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive and the data privacy laws enacted by individual EU member states.
The main objectives of the GDPR regulation are to:
- Establish the protection of personal data as a fundamental human right, including the right of individuals to access, rectify, delete, or port their personal data.
- Set basic requirements and responsibilities for protection of personal information.
- Facilitates the lawful flow of personal data within and outside the European Economic Area (EEA) by providing standardized data protection laws across the EU.
The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) establishes privacy protections for personal data that commercial entities and certain non-commercial entities must adhere to.
In many ways, CPRA is similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), especially in the sense that the regulation applies to California residents, regardless of where they obtain their sensitive data, the classification of the data, or where the data is stored.
CPRA upholds most of the privacy regulations of the previous California regulation, CCPA, including requiring companies to disclose details of the personal information they collect and allowing consumers to opt out of selling their personal data.
However, CPRA introduced three major changes:
- Additional Consumer Rights: CPRA grants consumers rights not covered by CCPA, including the right to have inaccurate personal information corrected in company records. CPRA grants individuals the right to object to automatic processing or analysis of their personal data.
- Broader Definition of Personal Data: CPRA provides a broader definition of what qualifies as personal data and is subject to regulation. In addition to overseeing the security of personal data like customer records and addresses, CPRA imposes duties on data such as religious beliefs and trade union membership.
- Annual Audits: CPRA requires companies to conduct annual audits of their data security controls and submit risk assessments to the California Department of Consumer Protection, a newly created agency in California to implement CPRA.
The HIPAA regulation was passed in 1996. It is a United States federal law that governs data security, privacy, and data breach notification regulations. This applies to all entities in the U.S. health care industry, including:
- Medical personnel
- Companies that sell health care plans
- Medical information centers
- Business Associates of healthcare organizations
Together these are known as “covered entities.” HIPAA compliance varies from organization to organization. The main goals of HIPAA compliance for healthcare facilities are:
- To eliminate medical abuse and fraud
- To set clear standards for sharing and storing health care-related data
- To ensure the security of protected health information (PHI)
Managing Network Security Compliance
DevSecOps, which stands for Development, Security, and Operations, automates security integration at every stage of the software development lifecycle, from initial design to integration, testing, deployment, and software delivery.
DevSecOps helps enterprises maintain a modern software development lifecycle (SDLC) while maintaining full compliance, by involving SecOps teams in application development processes. As compliance checks move leftward in the SDLC (towards the beginning of the process), SecOps can work with DevOps to address compliance earlier in the development cycle.
DevSecOps promotes the adoption of compliance as code. This is an operational paradigm that defines compliance requirements in a human-machine-readable way. It allows SecOps personnel to develop compliance policies as simple configuration files, without using full programming languages. These policies can be stored in a source code version control system such as Git to continuously monitor compliance during development.
Implement Technical Controls Based on Requirements and Tolerance
Implement technical controls for networks based on your organization’s risk tolerance, and the cybersecurity regulations you are adhering to. Alternatively, you can use a cybersecurity framework as a guideline and add technical controls to meet your specific needs.
Here are some examples of technical controls:
- Firewall implementation
- Network monitoring software
- Log aggregation software
- Encryption of sensitive data
- Antivirus software on all endpoints
Continuously Monitor and Respond
Many compliance requirements focus on how threats evolve. Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to obtain data.
Continuous monitoring helps identify new cyber threats. A compliance program must address these threats before causing data breaches. Failure to address and identify new types of threats can be interpreted by regulators as a lack of vigilance, leading to compliance penalties and fines.
In conclusion, data privacy regulations play a crucial role in protecting personal data and ensuring that organizations handle this information responsibly and securely. These regulations often require businesses and organizations to implement certain security measures to protect the personal data that is stored or transmitted over their networks.
By complying with data privacy regulations, businesses and organizations can help protect the personal data of their customers, employees, and other individuals, and avoid legal penalties and damage to their reputation. Managing network security compliance involves conducting regular assessments and audits and implementing and maintaining appropriate security controls and technologies.