Given the online and connected nature of our world today, nearly all organizations should be taking a close look at the security of their corporate technical resources (cybersecurity). How do you keep proprietary business and customer information safe or protect your company’s reputation by avoiding a ransomware attack? As organizations ask these questions, it may seem practical to look to industry or government regulations related to your business as a framework for protecting critical assets. While cybersecurity and compliance are related and often aligned, there are places they diverge, which may leave significant risk for your company.
What is Cybersecurity?
At its core, cybersecurity is how you manage risk related to the confidentiality and integrity of information, and the availability of systems and data. A company’s cybersecurity program refers to the controls or processes involving both hardware and software, as well as human behavior, that protect your company’s information from falling into the wrong hands, being changed, or made unavailable. Cybersecurity also includes the people and tools to identify and respond to suspicious activity or a breach.
What is Compliance?
Compliance is simply taking steps to ensure your organization has controls in place to meet a set of standards defined by a third party. These guidelines are established with the objective of protecting a specific type of data or consumer rights. While the intent is good, the focus on a specific type of data or activity can result in a myopic view of system protections.
How do Cybersecurity and Compliance Align?
Security and compliance are both risk management tools and share the goal of protecting assets, people, and reputations. A good cybersecurity program looks at all risks to the organization and builds a set of controls, specific to the organization, to mitigate those risks. Compliance typically has a narrower focus on the organization’s business sector, data, and/or customers. The best approach is to understand your organization’s cybersecurity risks and implement controls and a program to manage that risk, then map your applicable compliance requirements to those documented controls. Identify gaps and adjust the practice to maintain the security goal while meeting the compliance obligation.