The Difference Between Compliance and Security

Security vs. Compliance

Just as a secure network doesn’t guarantee network compliance, a compliant network doesn’t guarantee security. While network security refers to the policies and practices you’ve adopted to protect your network from internal and external threats, network compliance can be a little harder to nail down.

Network compliance varies based on what industry you’re working in and what data you’re storing on your network. For example, if you’re storing any data regarding client healthcare information on your network, you need to comply with standards set forth by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Likewise, if you work in the financial industry, you have to comply with the security standards established by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). While network security involves the standards you impose on your network, compliance alludes to the standards imposed upon you.

Staying Compliant

Maintaining a secure network often goes hand-in-hand with staying compliant. But sometimes it can be a little more complicated than that because staying compliant involves more than merely mitigating security threats. You also have to actively manage those potential security risks. This includes managing both physical and virtual data security, implementing and revising technical policies as regulations change, and protecting data along every step of the process from collection and transmission to storage.

Because regulations can change at any time, you have to make sure your network is up-to-date to meet the latest compliance requirements. If your business is struggling to stay current on regulatory stands, hiring an MSP like SNC can be a great solution. Here are three critical steps to help ensure that you’re staying complaint while maximizing security.

  1. Embrace redundancy

Operate under the assumption that there are one or more vulnerabilities in your network at all times. This will protect your network from the threat of complacency and a false sense of security. Building a system with multiple layers of security may seem redundant, and it should. Redundancy protects your network in the long run by creating multiple barriers to entry. Just because a hacker breaches one level of your network’s security doesn’t necessarily mean your whole network will be compromised. After all, two or three walls are a lot harder and take longer to climb than one. That’s why many regulatory standards outline requirements for redundancy. Embracing the security of redundancy is the first step to staying compliant.

  1. Don’t neglect physical threats.

With so many virtual threats to your network, it can be easy to forget that physical threats can be just as problematic. Assess and maintain physical safeguards for your infrastructure. Limiting and controlling facility access, logging computer usage, and tracking network devices are all critical steps to ensuring compliance. It’s a lot easier for cybercriminals to do damage when they’re already inside than from the outside. Even simple policies like shredding sensitive data after use need to be implemented and enforced.

  1. Put your network to the test.

If you want maximum security, regular vulnerability and penetration testing have become industry standards. Security experts try to exploit your system defense to detect weak spots as well as both virtual and physical points of entry that can expose private data. The process makes it a lot simpler to identify and remedy potential network vulnerabilities proactively. Plus, it helps you stay a step ahead of compliance standards.

Take Control of Your Network

On the surface, security and compliance may not seem all that different, and they often go together. However, navigating changing regulations, leveraging advances in technology, and actively managing threats can distract businesses from critical day-to-day operations. If you’re interested in taking control of your network defense while freeing up your team and guaranteeing industry compliance, SNC is just a call away.