This blog was updated November 2023.
With digital threats lurking around every corner, businesses must fully understand security and compliance to protect their data and that of their clients. The concepts, often mentioned in the same breath, are distinct yet inseparable forces that safeguard your digital fortress. They're not identical twins but rather allies with unique strengths. Security defends the gates against invaders, while compliance ensures the laws of the land are upheld. Together, they form a dynamic alliance.
What Is Security?
Security comprises all the different moves your organization makes to defend against cyber attacks. Security can be high-tech or low-tech — for example, installing a firewall and conducting cybersecurity training for your employees both fall under the umbrella of security.
Implementing simple security measures is often not enough to defend your company against the evolving landscape of cyber threats. This is especially true when it comes to security compliance. The building blocks of cybersecurity take a bit of work to implement, but with consistent maintenance and a dedicated approach, any company of any size can build an effective cybersecurity program.
There are three main components to a complete cybersecurity program:
1. Understand risk
Many cybersecurity certifications are renewed somewhat infrequently. For example, you’re required to renew both the SOC2 attestation and the ISO 2700 certification only once per year. You need to assess your security systems for vulnerability more often than this. The best way to fully understand your level of risk is to perform risk assessment scans on a regular basis.
2. Mitigate risk
The purpose of understanding your system’s risk is so you can mitigate it. But rather than begin patching holes indiscriminately, you should start by prioritizing the most severe risks and addressing those vulnerabilities first.
The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures system of designation assigns each known security vulnerability’s level of severity a score from 1 (least critical) to 10 (most critical). This is helpful for determining which threats pose the greatest risk to your organization in particular — meaning which threats carry the greatest potential for loss.
3. Transfer risk
Even after taking careful security measures to mitigate risk, you’re still left with residual risk. It’s impossible to completely eliminate risk altogether. The best way to protect your company against residual risk is to invest in cyber insurance. Insurance can protect you against some of the fallout in the event of a cybersecurity incident and help you recover financially.