Security vs Compliance: What's The Difference?

Vector Representation of Security vs. compliance
What’s the difference between Security and compliance?

Many businesses have been prone to using the terms security and compliance in the same sentence, primarily because they have a conjoined relationship. However, it won't be technically grounding to say use security and compliance in an interchangeable manner. Some pointing differences between the two set them apart yet make them work together simultaneously. In this article, we are trying to understand these differences and how to bridge them in order to create a combination that works for all of us.

What Is Security?

Security is defined as the capacity to defend your company against both internal and external threats. Security Controls are the procedures employed to safeguard your business. These controls are technological, administrative, and physical in nature, meant as safeguards put in place to counteract risks that may be both; intentional or unintended. Security professionals are continuously searching for how to prevent attackers from breaching the organization's IT infrastructure and data to mitigate the damage that occurs if the attack is successful.

Cybersecurity and information security are the two main aspects of security. Let's look into their respective meaning and importance.


Cybersecurity is the practice of safeguarding digital data, networks, and devices from unauthorized access. The most significant hazards include hackers, malware, phishing, and breaches. This type of security is mainly concerned with electronic technology that connects to the internet. Most cybersecurity professionals use measures like using a VPN network, installing a firewall, encrypting data, and authorizing access to protect an organization against breaches.

Information Security or Infosec

Information security (InfoSec) is the practice of applying due diligence and care to secure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of vital corporate assets. Any IT security program must comprehensively consider an organization's security requirements and apply the appropriate physical, technological, and administrative controls to achieve those goals.

In contrast to cybersecurity, information security addresses all types of data, not only digital data. Protected information includes customer activity, internal employee, third-party, payment, and health information.

Some primary infosec practices include installing an information security management system, defining security practices and protocols in code, keeping internal policies up to date, and centralizing data ownership.

What is Compliance?

Compliance is the process of demonstrating the effectiveness of your security procedures and controls. Organizations must follow compliance requirements due to legislative obligations or demands from a third-party customer or vendor. Compliance focuses on the types of data that a corporation handles and stores and what legal frameworks are in place to protect it.

Several factors, like geographical location, industry, and purpose; may affect the compliance requirements, that your organization needs to adhere to. For example, you could be required to get a HIPAA certification by healthcare organizations, or you must abide by GDPR if you plan to conduct business with residents of the European Union.

Setting goals for compliance is quite essential for success since failure to comply will lead to

  • Loss of Consumer trust and reputational damage to the organization.

  • Legal and financial repercussions, prevent it from operating in a certain region or market.

What is the Difference Between Security And Compliance?

Making sure a business complies with the bare minimum of security-related standards is known as compliance. Security, on the other hand, is a defined collection of technical systems, methods, and procedures that are used to safeguard and defend an organization's information and technological assets.

Despite being a crucial business need, compliance is not a security team's primary focus or responsibility. Physical restrictions and, for example, who has access to a network are both examples of security.

Security is easier to achieve than compliance because of standardized practices and equipment offered by specialized suppliers. Contrarily, compliance can take many forms and depend on a company's data types and security procedures.

Here's a tabular distinction between both security and compliance to briefly cover the main differences.



Organizations implement security for their own purposes and goals.

Compliance is practiced to meet the requirements of others to facilitate business partnerships.

Aims to safeguard the resources of an organization from ongoing threats.

Aims to meet the technical needs of businesses.

It is a continuous process that needs to be maintained and looked after.

It is successful only when the third party is met with their needs.

How To Create A Combination Of Security And Compliance That Works?

Information security and cybersecurity- the two facets of security- work together to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility. It is impossible to meet compliance criteria without appropriate security measures in place. More significantly, your firm will be vulnerable to a variety of dangers, hazards, and assaults.

The first stage is to create a single system, an alliance of security and compliance, in a methodical and regulated manner. A security team will implement systemic measures to safeguard information assets. Then a compliance team may confirm that everything is working as it should. This form of collaboration ensures that security measures do not deteriorate and that the necessary paperwork and reports are available for audits.

Here are a few pointers to assist you in connecting both security and compliance in a linkable manner.

  • Build Awareness: It is vital to understand how to respond to security risks before developing an effective security program that will fulfill compliance criteria. Security is a company-wide concern. The more security-conscious each employee is, the more thorough your efforts will be.

  • Practice makes perfect: going through the compliance process for the first time can be daunting, especially if you know you have a good security posture. Even if you don't tick every box right now, going through the audit process will reduce uncertainty and provide you with specific action items.

  • Perform a risk assessment: Once your security procedures are in place, a risk assessment will reveal any gaps or missing parts. An evaluation will assist you in determining the possibility of risk frequency, ranking risk scenarios, and identifying any flaws in your security program.

Closing Thoughts

A company will be able to not only satisfy the requirements of its market but also show that it goes above and beyond in its dedication to digital security if it places equal emphasis on these two principles. Security and compliance, if linked together in a structured way, can alter the business growth of many organizations.

Scrut Automation is a smart and radically simple Governance, Risk, and Compliance automation platform for growing startups and mid-market enterprises. With Scrut, Compliance teams can reduce ~70% of their manual effort in continuously maintaining compliance towards SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, PCI DSS, and privacy laws like HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA. Schedule your demo today to see how it works.