2023 welcomed a number of significant changes, many of which were accelerated by the COVID-19 shift to remote working, increasing the demand for improved data and information security, and migration to the cloud.

The natural acceleration in digital transformation that followed has expanded the use of automation technologies, significantly increasing the importance of system integration and cybersecurity controls. Similarly, there is a growing reliance on hyper-automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and further technological advancements to remain relevant and competitive in the business world, further scaling up the need for an industry-wide approach to efficient information security management.

Information Security and the Scope of Regulation 

This new technological era has dramatically changed the global digital landscape, and businesses are more dependent than ever on computers to store and process sensitive information. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforces stringent safeguards for the collecting, storing, using, forwarding, sharing, distributing, and merging of personal data, forcing businesses to act responsibly with the data they hold.

And after an escalation in cyber-attacks against Managed Service Providers (MSPs), EU cybersecurity rules introduced in 2016 were updated by the NIS2 Directive which came into force in 2023. Addressing increased digitization and evolving cybersecurity threats, the existing legal framework was expanded bringing new sectors into the scope of the cybersecurity rules.

Further to this, in response to technological advancements and an ever-changing world of digital threat, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) published the new ISO/IEC 27001:2022 Information Security Management standard in August 2022, replacing the previous ISO 27001:2013. These updates address digital reliance and provide more robust controls aimed at bolstering defences against increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity risks, enabling business continuity.

Although ISO standards are not enforceable by law, certified organisations can demonstrate to customers, partners, and other stakeholders that they have taken steps to protect data in the event of a breach, whilst avoiding potentially costly security breaches.

Legislation is gradually making its way across a broad spectrum of industry sectors, and companies choosing to follow them together with additional cybersecurity standards gain a foothold in international credibility.

We are now seeing the development of AI as a useful instrument that is changing the landscape of information security compliance monitoring.

However, understanding the requirements of both new and existing standards, and implementing the necessary additional layers of security is perhaps not a straightforward task for many businesses. It is crucial that the board understands their responsibility to comply with these requirements and that failing in their responsibility carries the risk of litigation.

Allocating appropriate funding to mitigate risk exposure and implement baseline security controls, will ensure the best chance of protection against cyber threats, and yet many businesses are still unaware of their vulnerabilities. They simply believe that the chances are slim, it will never happen to them, and so fail to justify budget and resources. However, the costs associated with falling foul of regulatory requirements, losing competitive edge and reputation, and suffering a breach, far outweigh the cybersecurity budgets they need to set aside.

AI and Increased Information Security Management

Although an unfavourable side of GenAI tools has made the press over recent months with data being exposed through employee misuse and unauthorised access to personal information, we are now seeing new developments in how we can use AI to our advantage.

Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, and we need to find new ways of embracing it that enable further rapid evolution in this digital era. We are now seeing the development of AI as a useful instrument that is changing the landscape of cybersecurity compliance monitoring. Automating internal audit processes such as ISO 27001, NEN 7510, and BIO, AI provides the means for more frequent and consistent auditing, and although final checks still require a human element, speed, processes, and quality are increased, and time, effort, and human error are reduced.

Compliance with information security standards can be tracked by using AI to constantly evaluate data from log files and network traffic, allowing areas of noncompliance to be detected quickly and resolved, enhancing the quality of processes.

Further, by analysing user behaviour, security log, and network traffic data, AI can continuously assess risk, improving information security awareness, whilst algorithms spot irregularities that could pose potential threats. AI-driven solutions are now being used to detect, prevent, and respond to potential threats in real time. Predictive analysis allows for the monitoring of baseline anomalies, predicting threats and vulnerabilities before they happen, and allowing time for response.

AI provides the capability to continuously improve processes as an additional security management layer. By analysing audit and threat data, opportunities for enhanced policies and procedures are identified, increasing an organisation’s cybersecurity hygiene. Essentially, AI automates many of the tasks required by standards and regulations and helps organisations to comply with ease, supporting consistent digital growth, reducing threat surface, and building organisational cyber threat resilience.

For information on how AI can help improve your information security and enable compliance, our team of cybersecurity, strategy, risk, compliance, and IT business continuity consultants are on hand to help.

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