New! Artificial Intelligence for Business videos, podcasts, and more...

What is the Difference Between Cybersecurity and Compliance? 

In the latest installment of Cyber Ops Unmasked, our podcast dedicated to shedding light on the intricacies of cybersecurity, we delve into the often-perplexing intersection of cybersecurity and compliance. Joining us for this insightful discussion is Chris Bevel, our Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). 

The Relationship Between Cybersecurity and Compliance 

Confusion surrounding the areas of cybersecurity and compliance is an issue plaguing most industries. These two terms are frequently used interchangeably, leading to a fundamental misunderstanding of their distinct roles. To clarify, let’s begin by differentiating between them. 

Cybersecurity primarily focuses on safeguarding systems, networks, and data from digital threats while preventing unauthorized access or disruption. On the other hand, compliance revolves around adhering to regulatory requirements and specific frameworks pertinent to an industry. For instance, healthcare organizations must abide by HIPAA regulations, while the European Union’s GDPR has gained widespread attention due to its privacy and security components. 

The industry-wide confusion arises from the misperception that compliance equates to cybersecurity. Many organizations approach compliance as a checkbox exercise, assuming that meeting regulatory requirements ensures security. Conversely, implementing cybersecurity measures does not necessarily translate into compliance. This confusion stems from the tendency to merge the two concepts. 

How Cybersecurity and Cyber Compliance Work Together 

While cybersecurity and compliance serve different purposes, they do intersect. Organizations often weave their cybersecurity measures into their compliance efforts. This strategy is akin to risk mitigation, where cybersecurity safeguards are adopted to avoid potential fines or penalties imposed by regulatory bodies. 

A helpful analogy is to envision compliance as wearing a seatbelt in a car – it’s a legal requirement that ensures safety. Cybersecurity, on the other hand, is like having brakes, airbags, and other safety features in the vehicle. While the seatbelt is vital for legal compliance, the additional safety features are essential to protect lives comprehensively. In essence, compliance represents the minimum legal standard, while cybersecurity encompasses the necessary measures for comprehensive protection. 

Determining Applicable Compliance Standards 

Choosing the right compliance standards for an organization can be a daunting task. It primarily depends on the industry in which the organization operates. Healthcare, finance, and retail sectors, among others, have specific compliance standards tailored to their needs. Healthcare organizations adhere to HIPAA, while financial institutions follow PCI DSS, and retail businesses must consider industry-specific standards. 

In recent times, GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have added complexity to the compliance landscape. GDPR applies to organizations handling data of European Union citizens, even if located outside the EU. CCPA pertains to businesses handling the personal information of California residents. Determining the applicable compliance standards necessitates legal guidance and consultation with experts. 

What is Your Company’s Position on Cybersecurity and Compliance?

For individuals within an organization who may not be decision-makers, understanding the company’s stance on cybersecurity and compliance can be achieved by reading certain signs. Look for initiatives such as phishing exercises, cybersecurity training, the rollout of new policies and procedures, or the adoption of cybersecurity tools. These activities indicate that the organization is taking cybersecurity and compliance seriously. 

Looking Ahead 

This episode of Cyber Ops Unmasked has illuminated the distinctive yet intertwined nature of cybersecurity and compliance. While these areas have unique objectives, they often merge to protect organizations effectively. In our next podcast, we will explore Infosystems’ Cyber Resilience Analysis service, designed to help organizations assess their cybersecurity posture and compliance readiness. We hope you found this episode informative, and we look forward to having you with us again next time. Thank you for tuning in! 

Share this post