IT compliance describes the rules and regulations that companies have to comply with in order to protect their IT systems and ensure the integrity of their data. It covers areas such as information security, availability, data retention and data protection.
In order to achieve them, IT systems and processes must be consistent with
• current legislation,
• internal and external agreements and
• IT norms and industry compliance standards.
This compliance must be monitored regularly. Especially if companies need or want to operate their IT systems and processes at a high security level.
IT compliance includes information security, availability, data retention and data protection.
Important legal requirements
EU General Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR)
The EU GDPR is a regulation of the European Union. It regulates and standardises how companies in the EU may process and must protect personal data.
German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG)
The German Federal Data Protection Act serves to protect the privacy of individuals. It obliges companies to ensure secure data processing. It permits the collection, processing and use of personal data only with the consent of the persons concerned. It also regulates precisely how companies must handle sensitive data.
IT Security Act (IT-SiG)
The German IT Security Act regulates the information security of critical infrastructure companies (CRITIS). This includes the areas of
- Energy and water supply
- Food sector
- IT und Telecommunication
- Transport and traffic and
- Finance and insurance.
In Germany, operators of critical infrastructures must take particularly effective technical and organisational measures to protect the systems. They must regularly verify these with the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and report data protection violations.
Telecommunications Act (TKG)
The TKG serves to maintain data security in Germany. It contains regulations for the operation of telecommunications services, electronic mail, the monitoring of communications and data protection in telecommunications. The TKG requires security when data is transmitted and personal data is processed in telecommunications services.
Important norms and standards
ISO 37301 (formerly ISO 19600)
ISO 37301 is an international standard for compliance management systems. It is designed to ensure that companies act lawfully and ethically and that employee misconduct is punished.
ISO 27001 is an internationally recognised standard for information security. It provides a set of best practices. These guide companies to establish a formalised information security management system. It includes processes for
- the monitoring and checking of IT systems
- the monitoring of access to data,
- monitoring changes to IT systems and
- the monitoring of data protection guidelines.
Companies with ISO 27001 certification demonstrate their commitment to the protection of sensitive data and their IT systems. At the same time, the accreditation lays the foundation for adhering to IT compliance guidelines for one’s own company.
NIST standard (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
The NIST standard is published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a US government agency. It provides a set of guidelines, documentation and best practices. They all support organisations in promoting cyber security.
These guidelines cover areas such as information security, cryptography and privacy. Complying with it is mandatory for US agencies and companies that do business with them.
ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)
ITIL is also a framework that helps organisations to plan, deliver and monitor IT services. ITIL provides a comprehensive set of best practices, processes and procedures. ITIL is one of the most widely used approaches for managing IT services worldwide.
Other contracts and agreements (data compliance regulations)
- contracts with customers and partners (e.g. licence agreements)
- internal company guidelines and
- external agreements such as non-disclosure agreements
must verifiably be adhered to in order to be data compliant as a company.
Why is IT compliance important?
If laws or contracts are disregarded in a company, this can result in fines and even criminal prosecution. In a German limited liability company (GmbH), for example, the managing directors are personally responsible and liable for compliance. Violations also have a negative impact on the company’s image.
Therefore, adherence to IT compliance regulations is important. Companies should regularly check their IT systems and processes. This way, they can ensure that they comply with legal regulations at all times.
An IT compliance management system can support them here. It defines routines and intervals in which IT systems and processes are checked for their compliance with laws, standards and contracts. Suitable measures include regular audits and staff training.
Such a system also specifies how process changes must be monitored and documented. In this way, it helps to minimise the risk of penalties, losses or reputational damage due to violation of regulations.
Data compliance therefore not only improves IT security, but it also enhances a company’s reputation. This in turn strengthens the trust of customers and business partners.
In short, IT compliance offers the following benefits:
- Strengthened trust among partners and customers
- IT infrastructure and processes are compliant
- Optimum implementation of data protection
- Efficient use of IT
- Digital flexibility in process changes
- Digital transparency in processes
- Guaranteed compliance with regulations
Adherence to compliance requirements
Companies can ensure compliance in a number of ways:
- IT compliance management software helps monitor and control IT systems.
- IT compliance consulting services and IT compliance services support the monitoring of existing IT systems. They also help to implement measures to improve IT compliance.
- IT compliance tools such as software can be used to monitor and document processes ( create reports, document security and data protection violations and user activities, process changes).
There are different types of IT compliance software, e.g.
- Compliance management software,
- IT audit and compliance software,
- IT compliance monitoring software.
The choice of the appropriate product depends on the company’s requirements.
What happens during an audit?
In an IT compliance audit, all applicable IT compliance regulations are checked to ensure that they are being followed and documented. These audits can be carried out by internal IT departments or by external consultancies such as TÜV. On the one hand, the IT infrastructure, the IT systems and the data protection guidelines of the company are checked. On the other hand, whether all employees adhere to them.
How can essendi xc support IT compliance?
A certificate management tool like essendi xc is especially helpful in the field of cryptography.
The 360° certificate cockpit of essendi xc enables easy monitoring and reporting. In the central dashboard you monitor and manage all certificates of the company.
essendi xc notifies you in time before a certificate expires. You also receive a warning in case of certificates becoming insecure. Depending on the settings, the tool automatically handles the renewal or reapplication of certificates. It also installs them up to the target systems if desired.
We recommend defining application templates and scaling the authorisation system individually. This way, you ensure that all certificates are renewed in accordance with IT compliance regulations. In addition, they can only be applied for by the authorised group of people.
essendi xc takes cryptographic measures into account. It supports you over the entire lifecycle of a key in
Guidelines and standards can be mapped and integrated into existing structures. xc creates a concept for the use of keys and shows the respective procedures used. It also documents the life cycle of the keys in an audit-proof manner. This means you are prepared for every audit in the area of certificate management.