As cybersecurity issues become a daily struggle for businesses of all sizes, it’s important to know the differences between IT security and IT compliance so you can vigorously protect your assets, data, employees, and customers. 

What Is IT Security?

IT security can be defined as an assortment of cybersecurity services and strategies aimed at preventing unauthorized access to a company’s assets. This includes computers, networks, and data. IT security works to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information and block hacker’s access to it. This can be accomplished by implementing methods like firewalls, antivirus software, employee security training, and multi-factor authentication.

What Is IT Compliance?

On the other hand, IT compliance is a series of regulations that businesses must fulfill to meet a third-party’s requirements. This then permits businesses to facilitate business operations in a target market or align with laws or specific customers. Compliance includes industry regulations, government policies, and contractual terms.

Why Is IT Compliance Necessary?

Compliance is essential to decrease your risk of fines, penalties, lawsuits, or a complete business shutdown. For certain violations, you may receive a fine. But, for more serious violations, you risk costly sanctions that can prove detrimental to your business. Having a clear, effective program makes it crystal clear to stakeholders and consumers that your company is focused on compliance, which shows your commitment to doing business fairly and ethically. It also helps establish customer trust and brand loyalty. 

 Compliance differs by industry, and some examples include:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA):  A strict set of regulations that defines how the businesses in the healthcare sector, as well as all businesses that partner with anything to do with healthcare, should protect and share personal health information.
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS): A group of security regulations aimed at protecting consumer privacy when they transmit personal credit card information and how businesses store and process it.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework (NIST-CSF): Any business working with a government agency needs to comply with NIST’s cybersecurity standards. The most common compliance regulations from NIST are NIST 800-171 and NIST 800-53, as they deal with unclassified information.
  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC): Ensures that organizations take measures and implement controls to consistently meet compliance requirements.

Key Differences Between IT Compliance and IT Security

Although compliance can overlap with security, their ultimate goals are slightly different.


  • Practiced by businesses for their own interests, not for the sake of satisfying the needs of a third party.
  • Driven by the need to protect against constant threats to a business’s assets.
  • Never finished and must be continuously maintained and improved.


  • Practiced to satisfy external requirements and help business operations.
  • Driven by business needs.
  • Considered “complete” when the third party is satisfied.

Even though security and compliance go hand-in-hand, compliance will not completely protect businesses. Cyberattacks are on the rise. In 2019, more than 31,000 cases of cybercrime against businesses across the globe took place—the majority targeting small businesses. 

This is why it’s important to take a multi-prong approach to ensure your business is compliant and secure. While compliance establishes a comprehensive baseline for your company’s security, diligent cybersecurity services build on the baseline to cover the organization from every angle.

How ThrottleNet Can Help

A strong blend of both cybersecurity and compliance is the best protection. By working with cybersecurity experts like ThrottleNet, businesses can become technologically secure and compliant. Work with ThrottleNet’s cybersecurity experts to discover a solution for you. 

Contact us today to learn more!

16 Ways to Protect Your St. Louis Business From Cyberattacks

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15 Ways to Protect Your Business from Cyberattacks