Compliance hosting is a type of IT hosting in which the hosting company custom-configures its hosted solutions to comply with IT regulations.
These IT regulations include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act.
IT regulations are government or industry regulations that impose requirements on how businesses should set up and manage their IT.
They mostly have to do with data security, requiring them to protect certain types of data from unauthorized access.
Types of IT regulations you need to know
The three IT regulations that affect the largest number of businesses are those mentioned in the introduction: HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOX.
- HIPAA is federal legislation from 1996 that puts the onus on healthcare organizations to prevent their patients’ records from being inappropriately accessed.
- PCI DSS requires any business that accepts credit or debit cards as payment to implement an array of security measures, including firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption.
- SOX is a federal law from 2002 that requires certain businesses to maintain all financial and accounting data for at least five years.
Why you shouldn’t take IT compliance for granted?
Penalties for noncompliance with these regulations may include public disclosure of the violation or fines of more than $1 million. And, in cases that are particularly egregious, prison sentences of up to 20 years per violation.
It can be difficult for the average business to comply with these regulations by itself. To begin with, some of these regulations are vague and don’t really make clear what measures you’re supposed to implement. While others have long lists of specific, highly-technical IT requirements that can be hard to understand.
The process of implementing the measures necessary for compliance can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming, too.
These measures can include the following:
- Acquiring new hardware and software
- Configuring your IT assets to maximize security and reliability
- Hiring additional IT personnel
- Or assigning your existing IT personnel to compliance-related projects and tasks
And to maintain compliance, in the long run, you’ll have to implement measures such as performance and security monitoring, patch management, and penetration testing. You’ll also have to pay attention to and adjust to any changes in the regulations.
An easier and potentially more cost-effective way to achieve compliance than attempting to comply with IT regulations by yourself is to sign up for compliance hosting.
Most hosted IT solutions (hosted servers, hosted applications, hosted email servers, etc.) offered by IT hosting companies aren’t compliant with any IT regulations by default. And they need to be supplemented with additional features and services.
These IT hosting features and services include:
- Firewall management
- Antivirus management
- Patch management
- Managed encryption
- Penetration testing
- 24x7x365 security monitoring
- Managed backups
- Two-factor authentication
The real reason why you need regulatory compliance hosting
In most cases, signing up for compliance hosting will take care of about 85-90 percent of the entire compliance process, though by itself it won’t make your business fully compliant with an IT regulation.
The (few, relatively simple) compliance measures that you have to perform yourself include implementing and documenting your internal security policies. You also need to protect your onsite hardware, such as your PCs, from physical theft or inappropriate access.
In some cases, your hosting provider may be able to advise you on how to implement these measures. It’s either as part of the service or for an additional fee.
The main benefits of compliance hosting include avoiding the hassle of completing the compliance process yourself. Which increases your productivity and decreases your IT hassles. And most importantly, the peace of mind of having the compliance process handled for you by the experts at an IT hosting company, the avoidance of the consequences of noncompliance, and increased security and reliability.
To sign up for or learn more about compliance hosting, contact your preferred hosting provider today.