The Current State of Cybersecurity Compliance

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The trends shaping the industry, and the challenges impacting implementation  

Meeting compliance requirements is essential to building a successful and trustworthy security program.

However, it’s an area of cybersecurity too often overlooked, as it’s hardly the most glamorous field in the industry. 

The importance of compliance, and the unfortunate way it is sometimes overlooked, is why Arctic Wolf researched current trends in cybersecurity compliance and frameworks. We interviewed 235 North American organizations of varying sizes, business verticals, and architectural design, all to get a better understanding of the challenges facing a wide variety of businesses and their efforts to achieve compliance. And now we’re ready to share the results with you. 

In our new report, The Current State of Cybersecurity Compliance, we examine the trends shaping the industry, and the challenges impacting implementation of compliance standards and requirements. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the report: 

Three Key Findings from The Current State of Cybersecurity Compliance

1. More Standards Means More Challenges 

Protecting an organization from cyber threats and the myriad of cyber incident scenarios can feel overwhelming, and many businesses struggle to find a starting point. Compliance requirements, or a security framework, can be an excellent resource for security teams and guide them as they build out their program.  

However, even knowing which requirements to follow can become an arduous task since compliance is dictated by different aspects of an organization’s business. Our report found that many organizations are juggling more than one set of standards, and that there is a correlation between more standards and greater struggles achieving and maintaining compliance. 

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2. A Lack of Understanding Surrounds Standards 

As outlined in our previous example, some organizations may find themselves obligated to follow multiple disparate compliance standards. In the worst case, this could result in a business failing to meet compliance requirements they were unaware of.

More commonly, however, it results in too many organizations following their compliance requirements solely due to the legal obligation to do so, without a clear understanding of what these requirements help organizations achieve in terms of cybersecurity.  

Even more shocking, however, is the large number of organizations we uncovered that don’t even know why they follow their current cybersecurity standards. Our research found that many of these organizations follow their established standards with a “business as usual” mindset — where their security program is designed to meet the established requirements simply because that’s the way they’ve always done it. 

As the cybersecurity landscape evolves, these organizations are setting themselves up for future security failures. 

3. Headcount and Budget Have Outsize Impact 

Our research revealed that implementing a team to ensure their organization can achieve and maintain compliance is a major challenge for many organizations. The major contributors to this implementation challenge will be no surprise to anyone who works in the cybersecurity industry — lack of staff and lack of budget.  

The confidence an organization has that they are within compliance standards drastically decreased for those businesses that are unable to dedicate any of their team members to this function full time.

For many of these organizations, their approach to compliance falls under the category of “best attempt” as they struggle to maintain the necessary talent and resources required to achieve their desired level of compliance success. And it was these organizations that admitted to suffering attacks and paying fines related to compliance failures within the last calendar year.

This is not to say that these businesses are not working tirelessly to ensure the security of their environment, but they are often faced with the almost insurmountable task of trying to meet complex compliance standards with limited resources.   

This, however, is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of vital insights waiting to be discovered in our new report, The Current State of Cybersecurity Compliance, which is available now. We hope this report helps organizations better understand the challenges and successes others face as we all work to end cyber risk. 

Download The Global State of Cybersecurity Compliance.

And learn more about navigating the complex world of compliance and regulations

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Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf provides your team with 24x7 coverage, security operations expertise, and strategically tailored security recommendations to continuously improve your overall posture.
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