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Security and Compliance: What is the Difference?

Most organizations confuse Security and Compliance and without properly understanding the difference, you can’t be sure you are doing either correctly. Let’s be clear, security and compliance are not like bread and butter or peanut butter and jelly. No one is going to question if you were compliant if a security breach were to happen, one can meet the letter of compliance yet miss the security piece the criteria was designed to deliver. Just like it is possible that you could have a totally secure environment, but the work was not in compliance with the assessed framework. The solution is to create a greater overlap as security and compliance align to meet their shared goals. Sounds simple right?

Security and Compliance IT Consultant Axcient Cybersecurity Compliance ProgramManaging risk is the reason we need both Security and Compliance and that shared goal should inspire teamwork. Cybersecurity is to secure, prevent, protect and detect. Securing information assets from damage or theft is the mandate of the cybersecurity team, which is technical in nature. A security professional may do asset discovery and vulnerability management, file integrity and secure configuration management or spend time configuring and managing firewalls. Developing and designing secure architectures to protect data always, preventing and detecting intrusions and monitoring and managing logs are all part of the cybersecurity daily routine. All these tools and processes are in place to protect and defend the information and technology assets of an organization. Compliance is not the primary concern or mandate of the security team, though it may be a business requirement.

Compliance teams are also interested in managing risk, but this covers more than just information assets. Policies, regulations and laws go beyond information risk to cover physical, financial, legal or other types of risk. The role of compliance is to ensure that an organization complies with those various requirements. Compliance teams audit, interview, report and communicate. These are very different actions from the security team, yet their intentions are the same: to protect the assets of the business.

A compliance team lives in the world of text. Words govern the compliance team because they need to understand the rules under which they are governed and develop policies to both follow those rules and protect the business from other known risks. A security team lives in the world of technology and is responsible for implementing controls, the compliance team is responsible for ensuring those same controls are implemented. Security assures themselves that their controls are in place and functioning as expected; Compliance requires proof for a third party. It is evidence that creates the largest gap between security and compliance, and it can be one of the most challenging aspects of bringing the two together.

Now your business can go make sure you have security controls in place to protect your assets and that your compliance validates they are in place and running as expected. If you are interested in solutions that can help with your security and compliance initiatives, give 2W Tech a call today. We have a Cybersecurity Compliance Program that can help your Compliance team with their responsibilities, and great Axcient products and expert IT Consultants on our staff that can help your Security team with theirs.

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