Cybersecurity Compliance Issues for Cross-Border Operations

The U.S. and Canada both have different laws involving cybersecurity compliance. Read this blog to find an effective solution for cross-border operations.  

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Cybersecurity threats are a huge concern for companies operating across the border of Canada and the United States. That being said, enforcement activities and privacy laws between the two countries are on the rise.

In Canada, there is currently one federal statute that governs commercial privacy matters across the border. However, that is in exception to three provinces where “substantially similar” legislation is governed. Also, this involves particular industries, such as banking and health.

The United States, on the other hand, has different legislation in place. There are a wide variety of federal laws, state statutes, and regulations that govern cybersecurity and privacy.

For the businesses that operate across the border of the United States and Canada, understanding the laws and regulations for both countries is difficult. However, it is imperative to understand the laws on both sides and to implement an appropriate cybersecurity compliance program. This is done to:

  • Protect personal and proprietary information
  • Minimize the legal, operational, and financial risks

Unclear Laws in the United States

As it may be a surprise to many, the United States doesn’t have a federal law that regulates the privacy and security of personal information and sensitive business data. Rather than having a federal law in place, there is a complex combination of state and federal laws that include some that overlap each other and even sometimes contradict each other.

As an effort to help this process, government agencies and industry groups have created guidelines and self-regulatory frameworks to establish privacy and security best practices. When you combine these new laws with a significant increase in data collection and processing, there is now a higher risk of privacy and security law violations, which also results in many compliance problems.

Current U.S. Federal Laws in Place

There are currently several United States federal laws that govern specific actions or make procedures that must be followed to keep personal information secure. Some of these laws include:

  • The U.S. Federal Trade Commission Act
  • The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
  • The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)
  • The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

However, two states have laws that offer a higher level of protection. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the Massachusetts Data Security Regulation are state statutes that provide more security measures compared to the laws on the federal level.

A Focus on Accountability

When it comes to privacy laws in Canada, accountability is a valuable concept. The Canadian Privacy Commissioner said in a statement, “Accountability in relation to privacy is the acceptance of responsibility for personal information protection. An accountable organization must have in place appropriate policies and procedures that promote good practices which, taken as a whole, constitute a privacy management program.”

Developing Effective Compliance Programs is Key

As an effort to improve security and privacy, both the United States and Canada must establish effective compliance programs. To do this properly, it will take strong dedication from business leaders, including a commitment of resources. Organizations should focus on developing teams or assigning a staff member for managing cybersecurity and privacy compliance programs.

Whoever is in charge of the compliance program, they should have authority and direct access to the board of directors. Leadership must get involved with the process and embrace the concept that cybersecurity is a risk for the entire organization and that best practices shouldn’t only fall into the hands of IT departments.

If businesses fail to develop appropriate compliance programs when operating across the border, then there are many risks involved. Not only can there be fines and third-party lawsuits, but there can also be financial losses and possible damage to a business’s reputation.

Choose Compunet InfoTech

If you have questions about cybersecurity compliance or if you’re looking for IT services, then Compunet InfoTech is the business you can trust. We’re a professional IT company based in Vancouver, but we serve those in the entire Lower Mainland area. Ensure compliance and improve your business by calling Compunet InfoTech today.