What’s the Difference Between IT Compliance and IT Security?

To many businesses, compliance mandates are seen as the minimum of the cybersecurity measures needed to protect their information. Yet there are drastic differences between IT compliance and IT security. In this article, we explain why both are important, and why every business should make IT security and IT compliance a priority.

Technological Threats Facing Businesses Today

The technological threats that your business faces today are significant. They include the following:

  • Malware: Malware is software designed to damage your computer network or allow someone unauthorized access to your systems. It is often used to steal information and consumer data.
  • Ransomware: A type of malware, this occurs when a group gains access to your system and locks you out, threatening to delete your information and continuing to bar your access unless you pay a ransom.
  • Phishing: Phishing occurs when another group sends out an email pretending to be someone else (like your information technology department) and uses the information it garners to gain access to your systems. 

If you become the victim of any of these technological problems, it can be a massive blow to your company—and could even be bad enough to put you out of business.

IT Security

Thankfully, IT security can be extremely helpful in fighting off these threats. Cybersecurity is essentially your overall cybersecurity plan. Rather than one set program, it is a series of protocols and policies that are designed to keep your technology safe, and that are unique to your business’s needs. It includes all of the following:

  • Firewalls: A component of IT security that is designed to stop certain data from entering your computer system, thus preventing viruses or malware from reaching your network. 
  • Content filters: Designed to filter out certain content and reduce the odds of your network being breached.
  • Varying levels of access: System protections that allow only certain people access to the most sensitive and valuable portions of your computer data, like credit card numbers.

IT Compliance

IT compliance means that a business is meeting all necessary standards and rules as determined by the government, industry regulations, or contractual obligations. Following these regulations is essential, as many areas require extra protections and caution about who accesses information

The most common example of IT compliance is the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPAA. This is a health care law that determines who gets access to your health care data, but also notes that all computer systems that control access to your medical information must have certain computer protections.

Other regulations that require certain technological requirements include:

  • NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)
  • FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

Merging Security and Compliance

The best way to protect your business interests is to take an approach that combines security and compliance since the two go hand in hand. Security must be at the core of your information technology practices, but compliance must occur in order for your business to be able to be seen as reputable to other organizations. As such, you must be aware of the compliance issues that your business faces in order for it to grow, be successful, and be secure. 

The unfortunate reality of today’s business world is that businesses are more likely than ever to face huge cyberthreats. Thankfully, there are ways that these threats can be addressed. One such example is by hiring a managed service provider to take care of your organization’s information security needs.

For more information on how to improve your IT security and ensure compliance, contact Evans Consulting today.

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