Keeping company IT resources secure is a critical goal. Meeting compliance standards supports that effort, but achieving compliance isn’t the same as achieving security.
Compliance vs. Security
Compliance is about taking the steps necessary to satisfy regulatory scrutiny. Typically, a business will need to meet a compliance standard based on its industry or the nature of the data it collects. The standards provide a checklist of measures that need to be implemented in order to be in compliance.
Security, on the other hand, is about taking steps to reduce the risks faced by business IT resources. This usually requires going beyond the baseline measures needed for compliance. There are a few reasons for this:
- compliance is not nuanced. Compliance means you’ve done or not done a particular security task. Whether the way the task was completed actually increases security isn’t important. For example, compliance often requires annually training employees with respect to secure computing. There are many ways to meet that requirement, and not all of them effectively educate employees and result in increased security.
- compliance is not current. Compliance requirements don’t keep pace with the threats. By nature, they require a lengthy review process. In the meantime, technology is changing and bad actors are discovering new ways of doing damage. Meeting last year’s compliance policy doesn’t protect you against today’s threats.
- compliance emphasizes the wrong risks. The requirements listed in a compliance document don’t always match up to the most important risks the business faces. To ensure the company’s systems are safe requires addressing the actual threats, not just the items emphasized in a compliance standard.
You may need to check off the boxes on a compliance questionnaire, but achieving security means going beyond that minimum. Businesses need to identify the real risks they face and focus their efforts on addressing those, not deciding “job well done” because they’ve passed an audit. You need to develop policies and processes that provide real security, and implement control that match the level of risk on an application-by-application basis.
This requires keeping up with current trends in threats, making sure necessary patches are deployed, giving users meaningful testing, and integrating technology that effectively detects and blocks intruders, even when it’s not required by any compliance standard. Complete security requires addressing risks in your network, on devices, in your applications, in your data, and in your users.
Security is harder than compliance, because it relies on your own understanding evaluate risks and your own assessment of what steps you need to take to protect yourself. CCS Technology can help you develop and implement a security solution that offers true protection. Contact us to learn how to move beyond compliance and effectively protect your critical IT resources.