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From the moment Europe's leaders began discussing the law that would eventually become the GDPR, it seemed almost inevitable that the United States would some day pass a national cybersecurity law of its own. After all, as the center of the world economy, America presents the largest attack surface for anyone looking to steal consumer data, trade secrets, or other sensitive information.
America's GDPR may still be years in the future, but the country appears to be taking another step in that direction. Recent comments from Senator Mark Warner and other high-profile politicians, in the wake of the recently-uncovered breaches at Marriott and the National Republican Congressional Committee, suggest that there may be growing support in D.C. for a national solution.
Faced with staffing shortages, skill gaps, and evolving cyber threats, security professionals around the world are beginning to recognize that automation is the future of information security. There’s simply no way that security managers—or end users—can be expected to evaluate every risk and apply appropriate protection to the constantly-multiplying volumes of data they handle.
Automation is a difficult idea to accept for some, especially those who have tried automated technology in the past, only to abandon it after watching it disrupt workflows, frustrate users, and overwhelm already-busy IT staff with a flood of false alarms. So how can an organization automate its data protection activities without throwing a wrench in its critical business processes?
Back when they were new on the scene, HIPAA's privacy and security rules didn't get much respect. Beginning with the privacy rule's introduction in 2003, the Office of Civil Rights received thousands of complaints and investigated thousands of infractions each year, but took little or no corrective action. In fact, the OCR didn't issue a single fine for a HIPAA privacy or security rule violation between 2003 and 2008.
It's easy to understand how HIPAA got a reputation as a toothless mandate, but things have changed over the last ten years. If anyone needed a reminder of the fact, the OCR delivered one this week with its $16 million fine for the Anthem data breach. The penalty is nearly triple the previous record for a HIPAA fine, and sends a clear message that organizations can expect to pay a heavy toll for neglecting their data protection obligations.
We're now three quarters of the way through New York's two-year-long implementation of its cybersecurity law for financial services companies.
The first law of its kind in the US, NYCRR 500 sets best-practice cybersecurity requirements for all banks, mortgage companies, insurance companies, and other organizations that do business in New York. The requirements are being phased in between March 1, 2017 (when the law first took effect) and March 1, 2019.
A few years from now, stories like this may not even qualify as news. That's how quickly cybersecurity laws—nearly unheard of until recently—are becoming the norm.
For now, though, each new law is worth noting, and the Colorado Protections for Consumer Data Privacy law, which took effect on September 1, is the latest law to hit the books in the US.