Technological and strategic advances are a must to combat emerging cyber threats. Unfortunately, these cybersecurity innovations often outpace changes to government oversight. And staying both compliant and secure has become a delicate balance.

Background on Cybersecurity Innovation

From how we construct security programs to the technology we use to protect from cyber attacks, the last few years have been a “Golden Age” for cybersecurity advancements:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) tools: They’ve given us better predictability and insights on cyber threats, improved monitoring capabilities, and incident response automation.
  • Zero trust security: Provides a framework for securing perimeter-less, cloud-based environments and protecting from threats already inside the network
  • Quantum computing: Has improved how we encrypt our passwords and other sensitive data through quantum key distribution (QKD)
  • Blockchain technology: Changes how data gets distributed and encrypted while stored, which secures it from unauthorized users

We also can’t ignore our very own Offense Fuels Defense approach. By putting ourselves in the adversary’s shoes, we can better understand how they operate and improve overall security.

Innovation is core to moving the security industry forward. Without these advancements, we’ll always be one step behind the threat actors — constantly responding to attacks rather than preventing them.

Understanding Government Oversight in Cybersecurity

Government cybersecurity regulations provide guardrails companies can use to develop their programs. It also helps protect customer data and critical infrastructure that enables society to function. You’ve likely heard some of the prominent acronyms:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Administered by the European Union (EU) to protect private consumer data.
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): U.S. federal law that sets standards for protecting personal health information.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): Guidelines by the U.S. Department of Commerce for organizations to manage cybersecurity risk.
  • Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA): U.S. federal law that promotes intelligence sharing between government agencies and private businesses.
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): A law enacted in California with requirements on how private consumer data must be handled and secured.

Even the SEC has recently cracked down — enacting cybersecurity rules for publicly traded companies. For example, these organizations now have incident notification and governance reporting requirements. Businesses that fall under an oversight umbrella must invest resources into maintaining compliance.

While it’s expensive to acquire security controls and expertise, the costs of non-compliance are far worse. Hefty fines and a diminished brand reputation await those who choose negligence.

Balancing Innovation with Compliance

Integrating new cybersecurity technology into your stack is already a challenge without regulation:

  • Users may not adopt or embrace the new tools
  • There’s often learning curves involved
  • It’s expensive
  • You might have to shut down IT resources for implementation, slowing productivity.

These alone give you plenty of reason to stay stagnant. Now, throw in government oversight. The requirements often are a few years behind and lack specifics in what checks a box.
HIPAA, for instance, outlines must-have technical safeguards. Section 164.312 a part IV “Implement a mechanism to encrypt and decrypt electronic protected health information.” But what counts as encryption? Can you use newer approaches like QKD?

It becomes a massive headache. You must now understand the legal frameworks of compliance AND the technical aspects. All of it is a balancing act. And if you can’t “walk the tightrope,” you’ll be stuck eating the costs of fines and remaining vulnerable to emerging cyber threats.

Strategies for Leveraging Government Policies

While tricky to navigate and balance, government regulations can also serve as the foundation for strategic innovation. Consider first the purpose of security guidelines. They supply a baseline — a minimum framework for you to build your cybersecurity program.

That in itself uncovers security gaps you may not have known existed. So, during your IT audits, you can quickly pinpoint which controls you need to add next. Taking a step further, you can also find ways to improve your security measures.

Say, for example, a requirement is to have user authentication systems so that only authorized employees can access specific data. You could see that requirement and determine that traditional username-password combinations are insufficient. They come with security flaws and are tough for employees to remember. From there, you can explore newer, creative approaches, like passwordless authentication, which solve the underlying issues.

Compliance is more than just baseline security guidelines. If fully leveraged, you can gain a competitive edge against emerging cyber threats by innovating on what’s already the industry norm.

Best Practices for Innovative and Compliant Cybersecurity

Threading the needle is tough. But here are some tips to help balance security innovation with compliance:

Partner with Cybersecurity Professionals

Whether it is a managed detection and response (MDR) service, compliance specialist, or security advisor, these professionals are always up-to-date. They have the resources and expertise to ensure you’re leveraging modern security technology while adhering to government cybersecurity regulations.

Stay Informed on Emerging Threats

Be aware of what’s happening in cybersecurity through news stories and industry reports. CyberMaxx, for example, does a threat research series on what’s new in the attack landscape. It helps us develop creative security solutions that, in turn, let us better support customers.

Keep Up-to-Date on Regulatory Changes

Cybersecurity regulations constantly update and get added into the mix. Whether internally or through governance and compliance professionals, stay up-to-date. It’ll keep you better protected and ensure you avoid fines. It may even help foster innovation for new, creative security solutions in your company.

Balancing a Tightrope: Cybersecurity Innovation and Compliance

Cybersecurity innovation and compliance must work in cohesion to boost your program’s security. When done successfully, you can achieve sustainable business growth that supports your goals, customers, and our nation’s most critical assets.