Is compliance the same as security?

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Compliance and security are related concepts, but they have different meanings in the context of organizational practices. While compliance and security share the same objective (protecting sensitive data from cyber threats), they aren’t the same. It’s possible for your system to be compliant with cybersecurity standards without actually being fully secure. Likewise, the steps you should take to achieve compliance are very different from those you should take to achieve security.

What is Compliance?

Compliance refers to the act of adhering to laws, regulations, industry standards, and internal policies that apply to an organization’s operations. It involves ensuring that the organization’s activities, processes, and behaviors align with these established rules and requirements. Compliance can cover a wide range of areas, such as data protection, financial reporting, environmental regulations, workplace safety, and more. An organization’s compliance efforts are aimed at avoiding legal penalties, regulatory fines, reputational damage, and other negative consequences that may arise from non-compliance.

What is Security?

Security focuses on protecting an organization’s assets, data, systems, and information from various threats, including cyberattacks, unauthorized access, data breaches, physical theft, and more. It involves implementing measures and controls to prevent, detect, and respond to security incidents. Security efforts encompass both digital (cybersecurity) and physical security to safeguard an organization’s sensitive information, infrastructure, and resources.

How do Compliance and Security work together?

Compliance and security are two sides of the same coin. Security measures are driven by business risk, compliance is fueled by legal obligation, and it demonstrates to your clients that they can trust your organization to keep their data free from harm. While compliance and security are distinct concepts, they often intersect.

Compliance and Security go hand in hand in the following ways:

  1. Compliance and Security Alignment: Organizations may implement security measures to ensure compliance with specific regulations or industry standards. For instance, data protection regulations may require organizations to implement cybersecurity measures to safeguard personal information.
  2. Security as Part of Compliance: Security practices are often integrated into compliance efforts to protect sensitive data and maintain the integrity of systems and processes.
  3. Compliance as a Security Measure: Achieving compliance can help reduce security risks. Following best practices and regulations can lead to improved security posture.
  4. Risk Management: Both compliance and security play a role in risk management. Effective security measures can mitigate the risks associated with non-compliance, and compliance measures can help manage security-related risks.

While compliance and security are distinct concepts, they are closely related and often work together to ensure an organization’s operations are conducted within legal and regulatory boundaries while also safeguarding its assets and sensitive information.

To summarize this, we can say that compliance is about applying regulatory standards to meet regulatory requirements. On the other hand, security involves the implementation of technical controls to protect systems from cyberthreats. So, they can be called similar but not equal.

Learn more about how TrustCloud can help you ensure compliance and enhance your trust and business value.

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