Governments worldwide, including the United States, play a crucial role in safeguarding individuals, businesses, and organizations from cyber threats by implementing cybersecurity guidelines. These measures are devised in collaboration with security industry associations, establishing standards for IT professionals. Additionally, governmental agencies are responsible for formulating and enforcing security laws and regulations to ensure comprehensive protection.
Cybersecurity regulations exhibit variability across different jurisdictions, ranging from countries to states and even local communities. For instance, numerous individual states in the United States have implemented their own cybersecurity laws at the state level. These diverse regulatory measures reflect the global and localized efforts to address cybersecurity concerns and ensure comprehensive protection in the digital realm.
Certain regulations are tailored to specific business sectors or industries, imposing specific security requirements. An example is the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an entity independent of the U.S. government, which created the Safeguards Rule, a ruling specifically targeting non-banking financial institutions. Under this rule, these institutions must establish, implement, and maintain a comprehensive security program to protect customer financial data. By complying with the Safeguards Rule, these institutions demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding sensitive information, bolstering customer trust, and mitigating the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access.
Cybersecurity regulation in the United States is a complex framework involving federal and state laws. At the federal level, cybersecurity regulations and legislation enforcement fall under the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) jurisdiction. However, the responsibility for regulating cybersecurity extends beyond the FTC, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) also playing significant roles in shaping and implementing cybersecurity standards and best practices. This multi-faceted approach ensures a comprehensive and coordinated effort to protect the nation’s digital infrastructure and safeguard sensitive information from cyber threats. Below we will cover the essential cybersecurity programs, laws, policies, and standards your organization must be well-informed about to maintain compliance and adhere to some of the most important cybersecurity laws, standards and frameworks.
Federal Laws, Standards, and Frameworks
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets standards for protecting individuals’ medical information and ensuring the privacy and security of personal health information. It establishes rules and regulations that healthcare providers, health plans, and other entities handling sensitive health data must follow to safeguard patient privacy.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) regulates the privacy and security of consumer financial information. Financial institutions must notify customers about their privacy practices and protect personal information’s confidentiality and integrity. The GLBA also mandates the development and implementation of safeguards to protect against unauthorized access to customer data.
As part of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Safeguards Rule requires non-banking financial institutions to develop and maintain comprehensive security programs to safeguard customer data.
Homeland Security Act
The Homeland Security Act’s cybersecurity policy focuses on protecting critical infrastructure and securing federal information systems. It establishes the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) role in coordinating and enhancing cybersecurity efforts across government agencies and private sector partners. The policy emphasizes the need for proactive risk management, information sharing, and incident response to address cyber threats and ensure the resilience of the nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure.
Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA)
The Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) requires agencies to develop and implement comprehensive security programs to protect their information and systems. FISMA mandates regular assessments and reporting on the effectiveness of these security programs, ensuring a continuous improvement cycle in federal cybersecurity practices.
DFARS (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement) is a set of regulations that supplements the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and applies to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. It establishes specific cybersecurity requirements that contractors and subcontractors must meet to protect sensitive defense information and maintain the security of DoD systems and networks.
The NIST CSF (Cybersecurity Framework) is a set of guidelines, standards, and best practices developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to help organizations manage and improve their cybersecurity posture. It provides a flexible framework that organizations can use to assess and enhance their cybersecurity capabilities, identify and prioritize risks, and establish effective cybersecurity practices.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a set of security standards designed to protect credit card data. It applies to organizations that process or store payment card information. The standard includes requirements for network security, data encryption, access controls, regular testing, and ongoing monitoring to ensure the secure handling of cardholder data. Compliance with PCI-DSS is crucial for businesses to maintain customers’ trust and prevent data breaches related to payment card information.
Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA)
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) is a federal law enacted in the United States to promote the sharing of cybersecurity threat information between the government and private sector entities. It facilitates the exchange of cybersecurity intelligence to enhance the collective defense against cyber threats.
ISO/IEC 27001 is an international information security management system (ISMS) standard. It provides a framework for organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and continuously improve their information security practices. The standard covers various aspects, including risk management, security controls, and ongoing monitoring, helping organizations protect their sensitive information and demonstrate their commitment to information security.
FedRAMP, which stands for Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, is a U.S. government program designed to ensure the security of cloud computing services used by federal agencies. It provides a standardized approach to assessing, authorizing, and monitoring cloud service providers. FedRAMP enables federal agencies to adopt cloud solutions that meet rigorous security standards, promoting efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced cybersecurity across government systems.
Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)
The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a framework developed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to enhance the cybersecurity posture of defense contractors. It aims to ensure that contractors adequately protect sensitive information and systems. CMMC consists of five maturity levels, each requiring specific cybersecurity practices and processes, with higher levels indicating more advanced security capabilities.
State Laws, Standards, and Frameworks
Notice of Security Breach Act
The Notice of Security Breach Act is legislation that requires organizations to notify individuals affected by a security breach involving their personal information. The act aims to enhance transparency and accountability in the event of a data breach. Organizations must promptly notify affected individuals and take necessary steps to mitigate the impact of the breach on individuals’ privacy and security.
New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS)
Concerning cybersecurity, NYDFS implemented comprehensive cybersecurity regulations known as the Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies. These regulations mandate that financial institutions implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive customer data from cyber threats. NYDFS plays a crucial role in ensuring the security and resilience of the financial sector in New York.
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a state law designed to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection for residents of California. While the CCPA primarily focuses on data privacy and consumer rights, it indirectly impacts cybersecurity by obliging businesses to implement reasonable security practices to protect consumer data. The CCPA requires businesses to maintain safeguards against unauthorized access, disclosure, and destruction of personal information, emphasizing the importance of cybersecurity measures to protect consumer privacy.