The Difference Between IT Security and Compliance

When you think about IT security and data security compliance practices you may think they are one and the same. The end goal is about preventing a data breach and keeping your business safe. While you cannot really have one without the other, it is important to know what the differences are and where you may have a gap.  

IT Security Basics 

Information security is a holistic practice that takes stock of an organization's security needs and uses technology tools and behavior-based best practices in place to protect data and other assets. This includes the use of firewalls, spam filters, antivirus, and anti-malware software. It also involves training computer users to recognize and avoid threats like phishing emails as well as physical safety measures like strong password policies and keeping devices locked when not in use. All of these things together make up IT security and they involve proactive measures. 


Data security compliance, however, involves following rules and guidelines to make sure sensitive data is managed in accordance with legal and government regulations. Being out of compliance can not only risk any sensitive data you hold, but it can also put you at risk of legal and financial repercussions. 

Data Security Compliance – Who is Impacted 

Any organization that keeps sensitive and/or personal information can be subject to numerous compliance standards. There are many specific industry, state, federal, and international compliance standards that your organization may be subject to, and it is important you research what may apply to you so you are prepared and can remain compliant.  

Covering the gaps 

It’s important that you review any compliance standards that might be relevant to your organization and talk them through with your IT department. They can help you perform a compliance audit to make sure you are meeting the required criteria, and then they can make sure that your IT security is robust enough to protect your important business assets. They can also provide training for your staff, who are your first line of defense. 


Data compliance itself isn't a full IT security strategy. It is important that you have an IT team who is able to develop a security stack that works for your organization, can stress the importance and basics of IT security to your staff, and ensure you are compliant with any relevant standards like HIPAA or GDPR. 

Leave a Reply