Navigating the complexities of the newly enacted FTC Safeguards Rule can be a daunting task, particularly for small businesses with limited resources. The rule, designed to protect consumers’ financial data, mandates a series of enhanced security protocols that businesses must follow. With non-compliance penalties that can reach up to $100,000 per violation, these requirements are not mere suggestions! Let’s review a few of the top compliance challenges that small businesses face.

The Challenge of Developing a Comprehensive Information Security Program

One of the first hurdles small businesses encounter is creating a comprehensive information security program. This program isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; it must be customized to fit the unique needs, scale, and risks of your business.

Identifying potential vulnerabilities, defining clear security policies, and implementing technological solutions can be overwhelming. These complexities can often leave small businesses in a bind, considering that:

  • 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses (Source).
  • 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of a cyber attack (Source).

However, outsourcing cybersecurity to experts like Kyber Security can ease this burden and ensure your program is robust and effective.

Understanding and Managing Risk

Risk assessment is an integral part of the FTC Safeguards Rule. Businesses are required to identify and evaluate both internal and external risks that could compromise customer information. This evaluation must include every operation where customer data is collected, stored, used, or disposed of.

For small businesses, this kind of detailed risk assessment can be challenging, particularly when:

  • New threats are constantly emerging.
  • The average cost of a small business data breach in 2023 was $4.35 million (source).
  • It takes an average of 277 days to identify and contain a breach (Source).

Working with cybersecurity professionals can help you understand and manage these risks effectively.

Designating an Employee to Coordinate the Information Security Program

The FTC Safeguards Rule requires businesses to appoint a specific individual to manage their information security program. This isn’t a simple task that you can add to an existing employee’s workload. It’s a crucial role that requires dedicated time and specific expertise.

Finding the right person within a small team can be difficult, and hiring a new employee for this purpose might not be feasible. Instead, outsourcing this role can be a cost-effective solution that guarantees the individual managing your program is fully equipped for the task.

Implementing Regular Testing and Monitoring

Regular testing and monitoring of your information security program are essential for compliance with the FTC Safeguards Rule. It’s not enough to set up security measures and forget about them; you need to constantly evaluate their effectiveness and update them as necessary.

Small businesses might struggle to dedicate the necessary time and resources to this ongoing task, considering that:

  • Cyber attacks occur every 39 seconds (Source).
  • 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error (Source).

Cybersecurity experts can perform regular audits and adjust your security measures in response to their findings, ensuring you remain compliant.

Overcoming the Compliance Challenges

The FTC Safeguards Rule is designed to protect consumer information, but it does present some significant challenges for small businesses. The cost and expertise required to develop an information security program, manage risks, appoint a responsible individual, and implement ongoing testing and monitoring might seem overwhelming.

However, with the right support, these challenges are not insurmountable. Partnering with a cybersecurity firm like Kyber Security allows you to leverage their expertise and resources to ensure you are fully compliant with the FTC Safeguards Rule. It’s a practical solution that safeguards your business, your customers, and your peace of mind.