Data Security Compliance and Regulations in the US Industries


For more than a decade now, cybersecurity has been a significant government and private sector concern. The advancement in information technology, as well as eCommerce in the US, have both contributed to cybercrimes. Data breaches have been more pronounced, perhaps resulting from financial and healthcare digitization.

Complying with the regulations of governance offers companies business opportunities and brings risk to a minimum. Information security is quickly being altered by the ever-changing policies and laws that originate from different jurisdictions. In the US, major organizations are subject to some form of regulations. Here, we present the fundamental concepts of data security compliance.

The Common Information Security Compliance Regulations

Compliance regulations offer a directive that safeguards the IT systems of an organization. They address the privacy and security of data and give companies the responsibility of protecting themselves against breaches.

A company can take specific actions to safeguard its systems, including data encryption, anti-virus software, and firewalls. The US Federation Security Management Act (FISMA) contains over-arching compliance guidelines.

Why Companies need Compliance Regulations

Most US companies maintain compliance by abiding by at least one IT security regulation. There are many benefits presented by these regulations:

  • Improved security: Baseline requirements improve corporate security measures. These requirements keep security levels consistent.
  • Increased Control: Better security heightens the level of control. Control prevents the occurrence of mistakes from employees. The heightened credentialing systems also prevent data theft.
  • Minimized Losses: Good security prevents system breaches, which can be very costly to any business. Should you incur a breach, you could end up losing millions in legal fees and tarnish your reputation. All of this can be avoided through the implementation of the right preventative measures.
  • Maintain Trust: Companies are entrusted with customer data. Improving the security system can help a company to keep that trust.

US Cyber Security Laws and Regulations

US laws and regulations are known to be the most robust and most effective across the globe. The cybersecurity regulations are designed to safeguard information technology. These laws force organizations to safeguard consumer data and their systems to prevent phishing, viruses, unauthorized access, and the attack of control systems.

Federal Government Regulations

In the United States, there are several primary regulations linked to cybersecurity. These include:

  • The 1996 HIPAA- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: This establishes national standards. It covers clinical applications, including radiology, lab systems, pharmacy, and electronic health records.
  • The 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act: This is also referred to as the Financial Modernization Act. It is designed for organizations that offer financial services and products such as loans.
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): This law preserves the privacy of education records. All learning institutions that receive funds must abide by it.

These regulations demand that all the care providers, federal agencies, and financial institutions protect consumer information and organization systems. The laws are, however, outdated and do not offer any guarantee to data protection. They also do not address most issues in computer-related organizations.

Recently, efforts have been laid to strengthen cybersecurity laws. The older ones are also being amended for better security. The most recent include the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015, Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014, and the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015.

State Laws

Governments at the state level have also heightened cybersecurity protection by increasing the visibility of firms. These regulations demand that firms be punished for security breaches. They also give organizations opportunities to decide how to secure their systems. The state laws push companies to invest in cybersecurity.

Understanding Compliance and Regulations Framework

This is a set of guidelines designed for all organizations in the United States. They are followed to strengthen security, enhance the process, and achieve business goals. Because the working environment is always changing, compliance regulations are often altered to meet the requirements of combating a specific type of threat. Here are some of the most common regulatory frameworks.


The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) protects cardholder data. If your company processes credit card data, this framework is mandatory. Your level of interaction with credit card data determines the standards of compliance. Banks and lenders, for instance, may be held to a higher degree of standards.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology collaborate with security agencies to establish controls that help in the management of cybersecurity. NIST guidelines are today used to address risks that could affect consumer data.


International Organization for Standardization sets international regulatory standards.ISO frameworks come in different subcategories and are unique to individual industries. If you are, for instance, looking to boost the processes of your information management system, ISO 27001 may be of more value. Any industry can take advantage of this framework for better security and quality management.

The Benefits of Information Compliance Regulations

The benefits of compliance regulations are split into two categories, including carrots and sticks.

1. Carrot: Creating Opportunities to Secure a Business

Organizations must fight to maintain compliance. The framework secures the systems and the data of the company. Embracing compliance ensures that the company’s reputation is built and new customers are attracted.

2. Sticks: Non-Compliance may contribute to Penalties

The penalties awarded to an organization for its lack of compliance depends on the offense’s jurisdiction. The fines awarded could be as much as millions of dollars and possible imprisonment of those involved. However, minor the punishment awarded, the company could suffer from a tarnished reputation and loss of customers.

Companies must begin by assessing the laws and understanding the acts that apply to them. The information collected must then be organized to address security boundaries. It means planning and outlining effective ways of handling threats.

Risk assessment is valuable and can help you evaluate your security and privacy against a set of standards. It offers a roadmap for improving and embracing data privacy. The results can then be used to validate adherence.

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