Compliance is not a Blueprint for Building a Security Program

Building a Security Program

For some security experts, the definition of compliance has become so skewed that it can mean just about anything to just about anyone, depending on their circumstances.

Data security analysts continue to hear clients tout that they are “compliant, so that must mean we are secure,” without knowing that the more appropriate route to take is to begin with security as the framework for your compliance path.

Unfortunately, checking a few boxes, installing a firewall and using strong passwords aren’t the basis for either compliance or security.

For example, you can be in compliance with the regulatory guidelines that apply to your organization without ever running a technical security assessment. You can check your boxes and meet the guidelines, but be breached the very next day (and not know about the breach for months).

Security has a different role than compliance: proper data security protects your information from threats by controlling how the data is used, sent, provided and consumed while compliance is a demonstration to a regulatory group that your security meets their cookie-cutter guidelines.

The best way to be both compliant and secure is to create a security culture by:

  1. Acknowledging there are threats. Apathy is one of the most serious threats a company can face. If you believe you’re too small or don’t have enough intellectual and customer data to attract hackers, you’ve already lost the security battle.
  2. Knowing your basics. Develop processes for securing applications and infrastructure, implement them, train your staff, and then update and test these processes regularly.  You also should update your security policy manual as needed.
  3. Tracking your metrics. Analyze how threats impact your company’s bottom line. The best way to win approval from the C-Suite is to show the return on security’s investment.
  4. Educating your employees. Compliance regulations often require employee training, but you must get buy-in from your management to also ensure employees are trained on your data security best-practices.

Compliance should not be your blueprint for building a security program. An effective data security program is built from the ground up based on your company’s individual needs. Compliance is a by-product of security, not the source of it.

Sword & Shield helps companies protect their data, detect cyberattacks and threats and respond to security incidents. Call us at 865-244-3500, email us at secureme@swordshield.com or fill out a consultation request to let us show you how we provide security solutions for your peace of mind.


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