3 Important Certifications To Know For Businesses

3 Important Certifications To Know For Businesses

With data security being a top concern for clients, it helps to understand some of the essential business certifications that your company should have. These certifications ensure that your company has taken steps to comply with data security practices that help detect and prevent attacks. Furthermore, proper certification provides a framework that you can use to streamline daily operations, take advantage of technology, and reduce costs.

Some legislation (such as HIPAA) are also catered towards a specific industry and help protect personally identifiable information. This piece will highlight three critical certifications that your business should have. These are HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOC 2.

Understanding HIPAA and its importance

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a data security policy tailored to personal health information. If your business deals with physical or electronic healthcare records, you’ll need what HIPAA is and how you can remain compliant. HIPAA regulations also extend to third-party vendors who may work with primary care providers such as hospitals and clinics. In general, HIPAA has four key provisions. It is designed to identify, and correct causes of healthcare fraud/abuse set a framework for secure handling of personal health information, and mandate standards for managing healthcare information (especially when it comes to billing and other similar processes).

HIPAA also gives workers the ability to transfer health insurance coverage from one employer to another (or to another entity) while enjoying continuous coverage. One of the unique aspects of HIPAA is that it applies to all forms of health data, including electronic, oral, and physical. It also applies to vendors who may not directly provide healthcare services- but handle or process such data in their operations.

Some of the essential rules set forth by HIPAA include privacy, security, omnibus, and breach notification rule. Under the privacy rule, some guidelines are designed to protect personal health data across providers, clearinghouses, and insurance companies. These include administrative safeguards such as information access management and having a security management process that covers organizational policies.

The Importance of PCI Compliance

Another critical type of certification that your business should have is PCI DSS. PCI is a set of data security standards that are designed to protect credit card transactions. It applies to any company that processes credit card payments, and the level of compliance is dependent on the number of transactions; some critical objectives of PCI DSS include:

  • Protecting stored credit card data

  • Encrypting the transmission of credit card information (especially across public networks)

  • Regular testing of business payment processing systems

  • Having a policy for information security

Continuous compliance with PCI DSS ensures that your company can detect and prevent attacks on credit card information. Because this data contains many sensitive elements (such as names, addresses, and social security numbers), PCI compliance includes a robust list of approximately 250 individual specifications that cover 12 main objectives. There are four primary levels of PCI compliance, corresponding to the number of transactions you process in a year. For example, Level I is the highest level of compliance and covers companies that handle over 6 million annual credit card transactions. ​​​​​​​

What is SOC 2 Compliance?

SOC (Service Organization Control) reports are designed to help your business implement more secure and private workflows- especially when handling customer data. More specifically, SOC 2 reports are tailored towards the establishment of robust IT controls and vendor networks. These reports also ensure that security, process integrity, confidentiality, privacy, and availability are met with regards to data processing systems.

For your company to achieve and maintain SOC 2 compliance, there needs to be active monitoring, real-time alerts, regular and timely audits, and actionable insight. SOC 2 reporting is required across many different industries. For example, IT security, financial accounting, data analysis companies, and cloud computing enterprises all need to generate SOC 2 reports. Being compliant is more than just an additional chore that you have to check off your list. Indeed, SOC 2 compliance allows you to save costs, gain customer confidence (and thus competitive advantage), and reduce the likelihood of data breaches. SOC 2 compliance is also a “way of life,” meaning that your daily operations will be elevated to a new level by meeting these general guidelines.

Depending on your industry, having HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOC 2 certification will help elevate your company’s status and operations. These three regulations are more than just a laundry list for data security and compliance. They also help you develop a secure and efficient operational strategy that’s less prone to the numerous risks that are out there.

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