It’s an all-too- common misunderstanding, but a robust information security program doesn’t mean you’re in compliance with whatever regulations govern your industry. The reverse holds true as well, being in compliance doesn’t mean your information security and privacy program is secure. So – compliance vs security. What’s the difference?
Three Compliance and Security Truisms
1. Being in compliance means you meet regulatory requirements for privacy, security or a combination of both. 2. Information security excellence may not necessarily be related to compliance – or to any regulatory requirements – only to your ability to protect and limit the risk to sensitive data. 3. A strong, active, dynamic information security program will likely happen to help you meet compliance requirements, but it will also most likely outstrip those requirements.
Why is #3 included? Because regulatory compliance requirements, on their own, do not dictate how information security protection must be carried out. It simply states that certain policies and procedures must be followed. The “how” of complex requirements is often open to interpretation, with the result that cybersecurity programs are left with gaps and vulnerabilities in data protection methods.
Demonstrating compliance is more of a scoring mechanism, showing that you meet a set of standards, i.e., “Look how I measure up to HIPAA, FTC, or PCI DSS regulations.” But to give sensitive data its best protection against cybercriminals, malicious employees or carelessness, you need an effective combination of compliance and security.
This means implementing an amalgamation of systems, processes, practices, safeguards, policies and education that together create optimal effectiveness and data protection. It also often entails seeking out a system or application that helps manage the complexities and interdependent aspects that make up a healthy security and compliance program, for you and for your vendors.
With that said, let’s not understate the importance of regulatory compliance. On the contrary, an ongoing robust privacy and information security compliance program helps you prove your ability to meet security standards.
What strong cybersecurity, or information security, does is guard information and sensitive data from misuse and abuse. Instead of compliance vs security, we’re better served with compliance + security.
To get started on building your security and compliance program, contact us for a complimentary call with one of Ostendio's security experts.
Not sure where to start?
The NIST Guide can help. We can also provide you with a free copy of Ostendio’s password policy, as an example. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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