No data is more sensitive than financial records. If you’re an organization that handles personal or corporate financial information, you know already that even a minor security breach can cause serious reputational damage and loss of customer confidence.
In recent years, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a more active role in regulating data privacy for brokers, investment advisors, private fund managers and other organizations under their purview. Compliance with SEC standards may seem like an additional hassle, but if done correctly, it can form the basis of an enhanced security posture. Ultimately, when more organizations are adopting best practices for data privacy compliance, it strengthens the industry as a whole.
Keep reading to learn more about what’s involved in SEC security compliance and how Vigilant Compliance can help.
SEC Rules for Cybersecurity
In March 2014, the SEC held its inaugural Cybersecurity Roundtable, in which it identified several best practices for network security risk assessment and mitigation. Specifically, it stated that all organizations should:
- Have a formal response plan in place for dealing with data breaches and other network security incidents.
- Conduct regular penetration testing, and then use the results to identify security weaknesses and make infrastructural improvements.
- Identify and prioritize sensitive data and implement appropriate access controls.
- Treat security as an industry-wide concern and make intelligence sharing a priority.
Ultimately, the goal of these recommendations was to encourage organizations to be more proactive about cybersecurity. Every year since, cybersecurity has been included on the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations’ (OCIE) annual list of priorities.
SEC Cybersecurity Risk Guidelines for 2016: What You Need to Know
The most recent list of OCIE priorities was published in January 2016. In it, the office highlights the importance of building a robust security infrastructure that can respond to evolving threats. It expands requirements for risk assessment and program monitoring as part of SEC security compliance, establishing clearer benchmarks for meeting these obligations. Other issues covered in the update include:
- The fundamental role of knowing where, how and why sensitive consumer data is stored.
- The need for written policies and employee training that ensures guidelines are properly and systematically followed by all staff.
- The importance of investigations into evolving external and internal threats.
As SEC cyber risk guidelines continue to expand, there will be a clear need for organizations to seek outside expertise when setting priorities and making decisions about how they protect their data. That’s where Vigilant Compliance comes in.
What Do SEC Data Privacy Compliance Consultants Do?
While the SEC Data Privacy Compliance is very important for organizations that have personal, health or financial data to abide by and the SEC guidance is helpful, the exact function of SEC Data Privacy Compliance consultants may seem vague.
Our consultants will give actionable items based off of the rules, regulations and guidance your business needs, then deliver them! Overall, compliance consultant companies like Vigilant Compliance will assess your current cybersecurity compliance, develop your company’s technology policies and procedures, ensure the staff is aware, update your company on updates and plan accordingly, conduct routine tests for vulnerabilities and manage and respond to breaches that happen.
Below are some specific tasks that organizations may need help with for SEC IT security compliance:
- Implementing best practices for how your company stores, transfers and collects data — this can include external and internal improvement measures
- Updating existing programs and software patching
- Creating a secure and up-to-date data backup plan
- Conducting privacy audits that prove your company is complying with data usage restrictions — this includes data from social media, too
- Evaluating compliance with local laws and international laws like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Implementing training programs for your company
- Creating a plan to handle mobile and other devices on the internet of things environment that could breach security
- Helping you evaluate a cybersecurity attack through cyberforensics and respond to regulators
- Developing or evaluating your disaster recovery plan
- Performing internal and external risk assessments
Most Common Mistakes Companies Make Failing SEC Data Compliance
Since technology is always changing, some companies are still trying to catch up on all the updates. However, without assistance from data privacy compliance consultants, ensuring your company is secure to handle private data can be challenging. Below are a few mistakes companies have made from either not staying updated with technology or failing to hire technology assistance from someone who is up-to-date:
- Not seeing IT as a part of the business that needs to be continually updated
- Not having a strategic IT security plan for the company
- Not having an employee and contractor training program on maintaining security for the company
- Not updating their data security plan with the updates in IT
- Not having a disaster recovery plan or updating it
- Not measuring their cybersecurity success
- Not expanding the cybersecurity plan as the company grows or transitions
- Not stating goals in the cybersecurity plan to focus on
- Not understanding guidelines
- Not being able to choose IT vendors that are best for the company’s goals and needs
- Not implementing a physical cybersecurity plan
- Not being familiar with the compliance and protection procedures
SEC privacy compliance consultants can help with these mistakes that often cause companies major headaches. Consultants will help with your organization’s SEC compliance for IT security by providing guidance on best practices, interpreting the rules and regulations, providing training or developing an entire compliance program and implementing the action items. Whether you have an in-house IT team or need assistance, working with cybersecurity consultants will help keep your company up-to-date and secure.
Proactive SEC Cybersecurity Consulting
SEC guidelines address areas of concern to any financial organization, including network and information protection, managing risks around remote customer access, fund transfer requests and third party vendors, unauthorized activity detection and more. Staying compliant with SEC standards is not just a requirement for doing business. It can also be a way of positioning yourself to serve your clients and other stakeholders in a more secure manner.
About Vigilant Compliance, LLC
Vigilant Compliance offers dedicated SEC cyber risk assessment services that ensure your bases are covered when it comes to staying compliant with the latest OCIE guidelines. The SEC updates its rules regularly, and as a result, meeting the most recent requirements can be a challenge, even for organizations with their own internal cybersecurity department.
Our experts will work with the resources you have on hand to ensure the path to SEC compliance is simple and straightforward. We are an experienced consultant to the investment management industry, and, since 2014, we have been a leader in the field of SEC network security compliance consulting. Working with SSD Technology Partners, we help mutual funds and investment advisors establish policies and procedures for staying compliant with all SEC guidelines.
To find out how what we can do for you, contact our office today.