How Cyber Security & Compliance Work Together to Protect Your Organization
Jul 19, 2019
Many organizations believe that cyber security and compliance are one in the same, or that meeting compliance regulations will cover all cyber security needs, but the reality is they play very different roles in protecting your organization.
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber security protects an organization’s networks, systems, programs, and data, from potential cyber-attacks ensuring the people, processes, and technology work in tandem to defend against threats. An effective cyber security management solution will look at an organization as a whole and determine various ways to protect the business and its assets. This includes implementing the proper physical, technical, and administrative processes.
What Is Security Compliance?
Security compliance on the other hand, is demonstrating that your organization’s cyber security program meets specific security standards, regulations, and frameworks, such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, GDPR, and/or NIST Cyber Security Framework, for the security of different kinds of data. Similar to cyber security, security compliance will also help to protect digital assets, however compliance measures are often required to be put in place by a third party, not the business itself. This can be the government, or a client, or some other type of third party, but essentially, security compliance is a way to meet the third party’s requirements for digital security.
Cyber Security vs. Security Compliance: The Difference
So, the big difference between security and compliance is that cyber security outlines and implements specific security practices to be put in place to protect a business’ assets, while cyber security compliance is applying security measures required by a specific third-party to protect certain types of data.
Cyber security is put into place and practiced by the business to protect itself, while compliance is put into place to satisfy certain external requirements.
To further illustrate the difference between cyber security and security compliance, let’s look back at Target Corporation’s data breach that occurred in 2013, exposing 70 million customers’ credit and debit card numbers. The organization was found to be PCI DSS compliant months before the data breach occurred, but the attackers still gained access through a third-party vendor who was duped by a phishing email.
The lesson here is that even though your organization might be in compliance with security standards or regulations, that does not mean you are conducting cyber security effectively. Cyber security should be a 24x7x365 activity to protect your organization’s IT infrastructure from potential threats. A strictly compliance-based approach is not enough to secure your organization and the private, internal assets, data, and operations from outside cyber attacks. Compliance is simply doing the minimum required to satisfy external parties.
Cyber Security and Compliance Working Together
Coming to the understanding that cyber security and compliance are not the same thing, you might be wondering when to use one and when to use the other. The answer is that you should be managing cyber security and meeting compliance at all times. The best practice is to put into place a strategy that goes beyond checking the boxes required by compliance, and introduces a cyber security plan that will hopefully cover everything.
Cyber Security Strategy that Meets Compliance Requirements
Creating and implementing a cyber security strategy based on your organization’s needs and conducting a gap and risk assessment are key steps for developing an effective cyber security program. These steps analyze your technology and internal processes to identify the areas of vulnerabilities and cyber risk to enhance your security posture, and to meet compliance requirements.
It’s important to note organizations should not view compliance standards and regulations as a guide to create a cyber security program, but vice versa. A cyber security program should encompass compliance requirements, but also consider the organization’s assets, which is at the heart of the business.
Outsourcing Your Cyber Security and Compliance Needs
Sometimes it might be helpful for your business to outsource the cyber security and compliance of the organization. Building a strong cyber security strategy that meets compliance requirements demands in-depth knowledge of the security industry, including understanding recent trends in hacking and other types of attacks. On top of that, it takes a lot of time and energy to implement, which could be better used focusing on growing your business.
At Secuvant, we analyze an organization’s mission and goals, seven main business assets, cyber security controls, and their tactical and operational security risks, to develop a cyber security program that meets the needs of the organization and their compliance requirements. We understand all of the elements that go into building the most comprehensive cyber security program that will protect your business.
Elements of a Cyber Security Program
The elements that compose an effective cyber security program include:
- Business Alignment
- Gap & Risk Assessment
- Cyber Risk Management
- Threat Identification and Mitigation
- Compliance Management
- Identity and Access Management
- Network and Application Security
- Physical security
- Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
- Operational Security
In the age of the hacker, where data breaches and cyber-attacks have become the norm, it’s imperative organizations have cyber security and security compliance working together to protect their organization’s data and to gain customer trust.