As 2021 arrives, technology will stay a major player across the world. The coronavirus pandemic has enforced the need for technology of all kinds, but with that reliance comes a need to focus on cybersecurity protocols to protect privacy and data.

These five protocols are essential for professionals of any background to take into consideration.

1. GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides an overview of how cybersecurity professionals should go about foundational steps and protocols in the European Union (EU). However, any United States-based company that works with firms in the EU will need to know this regulation.

The first steps include appointing a data protection officer (DPO) and building a better administration or infrastructure team based on company needs. These two teams and leaders should then focus on cybersecurity compliance based on local and national regulations.

The GDPR mandates that companies must report security breaches within 72 hours, enforce protection, carry out assessments and maintain communication with individuals who may have lost data in a breach.

2. CMMC

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) helps businesses and professionals increase their resources and services while complying with essential regulations. The CMMC comes from the Department of Defense’s Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) guidelines.

Here, firms work on their existing frameworks of cybersecurity protocols. They can just be getting started or may already be well on their way. It involves increasing the ability to detect breaches from malicious devices or activities or any other indicators.

This certification includes five different levels, helping companies upgrade their protocols more and more. At the top level, they have the most secure real-time asset tracking and device authentication.

3. HIPAA

Health care organizations have gained attention in 2020 like never before. The pandemic put unprecedented stress on health care workers. Other practices have shifted to telehealth, but regardless, data and privacy protection are critical.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) came about in 1996 but remains relevant each year. This act protects all information from patients in terms of treatments, payment information and personal data.

Health care facilities or cybersecurity firms that work with these organizations will need to comply with HIPAA regulations like having limited digital access, optimal training and contingency plans in place if breaches do occur.

4. SEC Cyber Attack Guidelines

With a consistent reliance on technology throughout 2020, cyberattacks have increased. In fact, several professional firms reported an 800% surge in criminal cybersecurity activity by August 2020. In response, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) consistently develops strict guidelines and protocols to adhere to.

Three major steps the SEC advertises are education, monitoring and action. Businesses should have the right resources with proper training to address cyberattacks. They should also have the proper tools and security measures to prevent such breaches. Then, if an attack does occur, they know who to hold accountable and take reparative steps.

5. State Regulations

While the above guidelines and regulations are critical on national scales, businesses should also be familiar with state and local rules. Two prominent regions that have strict cybersecurity guidelines are California and New York.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) ensures that all residents in the state have the best protection for their personal privacy and rights. The act allows residents to know who has access to their personal information at all times. They can opt-out of any sale or sharing of their data, too.

The 23 NYCRR 500 rules similarly regulate financial institutions, banks and any insurance companies to assess their cybersecurity risks to protect citizens’ information. Then, they can create actionable plans for better protection if necessary.

The Growing Focus on Cybersecurity

Through coronavirus-based breaches, spikes in illegal online activity and growing concerns about how big tech companies handle private information, cybersecurity is in the spotlight. When cybersecurity professionals follow the regulations and guidelines above, they provide consumers with the safest, most transparent protocols.

In 2021, these regulations will only become more stringent and necessary when working with the general public.

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