IT Compliance Regulations That Apply to Your Business

Compliance is of paramount importance to businesses everywhere, but for IT companies it can be an especially vital element. IT departments often handle sensitive data which must be carefully guarded by compliance regulations in order to meet legal standards and avoid penalties or fines. Not familiar with what you can expect? Here are some of the most important regulations you need to be aware of.


The PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) is a set of regulations created to protect credit card data. Any business that processes, stores, or transmits cardholder data must comply with the PCI DSS. This includes merchants, payment processors, and any other companies involved in the handling of credit card information.

One of the most important aspects of PCI DSS compliance is the use of strong security measures. These include things like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and proper password management. Companies must also regularly test their security systems to ensure that they are still effective.


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a set of regulations that pertain to the security and privacy of patient data. Businesses that deal with protected health information (PHI) must comply with HIPAA. This includes healthcare providers, insurers, and clearinghouses.

One of the key requirements of HIPAA is the use of secure data transmission methods. PHI must be encrypted whenever possible, and businesses must take steps to ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data. PHI must also be destroyed when it is no longer needed.


The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) is a set of regulations that apply to public companies and their employees. SOX was created in response to the Enron scandal, and it aims to improve corporate governance and financial reporting.

One of the key requirements of SOX is the establishment of a comprehensive compliance program. This includes things like written policies and procedures, training for employees, and regular testing of controls. Businesses must also ensure that their financial statements are accurate and complete.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of regulations that apply to businesses in the European Union. GDPR replaces the EU’s previous data protection law, the Data Protection Directive. It establishes new requirements for how businesses must protect the personal data of EU citizens.

One of the most important aspects of GDPR for IT companies is the requirement to gain consent before processing any personal data. This must be done in clear and plain language, and it can’t be presented as a condition of using a service. Companies must also provide users with access to their personal data whenever they request it.

NIST SP 800-53

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publishes standards that govern how companies must handle sensitive data. NIST SP 800-53 is an extensive set of guidelines that applies to US federal agencies, but it may also be relevant to businesses in other countries.

One key requirement of NIST SP 800-53 is the regular assessment of security controls. These systems must be tested and evaluated on a regular basis, and companies must document that these efforts have been successful. NIST SP 800-53 also requires businesses to protect their networks from attacks by using secure network architecture and system design.

Chris Turn

Chris Turn is the pseudonym of a journalist and writer who has published short stories, essays, and criticism in the Los Angeles Times, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and the New York Times. Her most recent book, a novel, is The Summoning (The HarperCollins Canada, 2014). She lives with her husband in Toronto.

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