How to Grow Your Business in the U.S. with Compliance

Security compliance standards are now common practice in the US and a cost of doing business. EMEA organisations that want to expand into the US are well-advised to begin pursuing compliance certifications.  Learn more about US cybersecurity certifications and how they benefit your organisation.

What do you get when you combine cloud technology with the current global economic conditions?  The ability for organisations to expand their geographic reach to a worldwide customer base.  Of course, growth isn’t that simple.  With the additional business opportunities come additional IT risks.   

Different regions throughout the global community have their own guidelines for assessing how organisations mitigate those risks and keep shared information secure.  So, how does an organisation best meet these complex security standards?  By taking a comprehensive, strategic compliance approach that takes all auditing requirements into consideration throughout the assessment process. 

Security Compliance in the U.S. 

The United States market presents unique challenges for European, Middle Eastern and African (EMEA) businesses as it is highly competitive with many regulatory barriers to entry, such as security compliance.  Compliance reports and certifications are often used as a screening mechanism early in the sales process. Companies that cannot demonstrate compliance will struggle to make inroads into the U.S. enterprise and government market sectors.  

While there are many similarities between international compliance standards, most organisations still approach the auditing process in a segmented way that fails to consider how overlapping requirements could be addressed in a consolidated, holistic approach. Rather than preparing for multiple individual audits, a more strategic approach to compliance management could help companies leverage their existing controls to meet additional criteria while saving resources and de-duplicating efforts.  

How U.S. Security Compliance Standards Impact Your EMEA Business 

Security compliance standards are now common practice in the U.S. and are, therefore, a cost of doing business.  Many U.S.-based prospects highlight compliance requirements early in the sales process and include them in RFP/RFQs as a requirement to compete, disqualifying non-compliant firms.   

EMEA organisations that want to expand into the U.S. are well-advised to begin pursuing compliance certifications.  Many European organisations are already ISO 27001 (information security management) certified.  So, an obvious question is why do they need to obtain other certifications?  There is certainly a significant overlap between some assessment requirements, like the SOC 2, and ISO 27001 frameworks.  Organisations that are already ISO 27001 certified are well–placed to work towards other compliance frameworks.   

SOC 2 

SOC 2 reports have become recognised as the information security baseline for selling to American businesses. To obtain a SOC 2 report, organisations must undergo an audit by an accredited Certified Public Accountant (CPA) governed by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). Firms that are already ISO 27001 certified will find efficiencies across common controls with the SOC 2 framework.  

SOC 1 

SOC 1 report is a prerequisite for firms whose services have a direct impact on their clients’ financial reporting objectives. No financial auditor can sign off on a client’s annual financial records unless the firm can demonstrate that its service providers have a valid SOC 1 report.  

HIPAA | HITRUST 

The healthcare industry in the U.S. is heavily regulated by laws regarding the security of protected health information. Compliance with HIPAA should be a priority for any vendor doing business with U.S. healthcare companies. HITRUST certification, which combines multiple federal and international regulations into a single framework, has also become increasingly important within the healthcare industry. To ensure success on your HITRUST certification look for a HITRUST CSF Assessor firm. 

FedRAMP | CMMC

From managing cloud services to serving as a federal contractor, service providers with U.S. government contracts face substantial compliance requirements. Since federal compliance assessments focus on specific federal products and environments, their requirements differ substantially from enterprise-wide standards such as SOC 2 and ISO 27001. FedRAMP authorisation is required for any cloud-based service provider that does business with the U.S. federal government. CMMC certification will be required from any organisation interested in bidding on Department of Defense contracts with the U.S. To meet these requirements organisations must work with a Third-Party Assessment Organization (3PAO) for FedRAMP and a CMMC Third-Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO) for CMMC. 

The Benefits of Meeting U.S. Compliance Requirements  

Although the list of assessments may seem daunting, there are many benefits to earning these certifications.  

Bypassing security questionnaires  

Many U.S. companies will request for you to complete security questionnaires and possibly ask for a description of the information security environment if they are unfamiliar.  Organisations interested in doing business with U.S. companies often turn to compliance reports, like SOC 2, to avoid the requirement of completing countless vendor security questionnaires. Since many questionnaires are based on the SOC 2 criteria, having an attestation report minimises the time and effort required to respond to these requests.  

Building client trust 

Undergoing an annual compliance audit provides assurance to clients that a firm is taking the appropriate steps to mitigate risk and can easily attest to the design and effectiveness of security controls currently in place. By adopting a strategic approach that creates an environment of continuous compliance, meeting auditing standards becomes a standard practice.  

Standing out from the crowd

In a competitive environment, it can be difficult for a firm to stand out from the crowd and differentiate itself and its services. The ability to demonstrate compliance is a competitive advantage that can help an organisation win new clients and retain them over time.  

Establishing stakeholder trust

National banks, venture capital firms, and private equity groups looking for investment opportunities often take information security compliance into consideration when evaluating companies. Compliance reports not only demonstrate the maturity and viability of an organisation, but also increase its enterprise value by giving it the ability to sell into regulated U.S. and global industries.  

Breaking through barriers 

Since fully implementing compliance regimes can take 6-12 months, organisations without a proactive approach to meeting U.S.-compliance standards are more likely to miss out on new sales opportunities. By creating a strategic auditing framework, EMEA companies can gather the compliance requirements quickly and begin establishing the necessary certifications to be considered in the RFP/RFQ process.  

Next Steps 

Now that we’ve walked you through why security compliance standards are important for any EMEA organisation doing business in the U.S. and how the assessments will benefit your company, let’s discuss next steps.    

The best way to set yourself up for success when it comes to security compliance assessments is to make the time and resource investment upfront.  After all, proper planning equals compliance success.  Before diving in, hire an external assessor firm that understands your market and industry and has proven security certification success.   

Be sure to spend time understanding the type of firm you’ll need to complete your assessment so your certification is credible within the industry.  If possible, select a firm that has the ability to complete a variety of assessments so they will be able to meet any compliance need you will have today, or in the future.   

After your assessor is chosen, spend time with them to ensure you understand everything you’ll need for your assessment with a thorough scoping effort. With the right assessor they can help you create a master audit plan that outlines the requirements for each of your certification efforts.   

Ready to get started today?  Contact our compliance experts at [email protected] or call +44 (0) 330 124 3754.