What’s the Difference Between Compliance and Security?

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Lots of questions might come up when you’re thinking about whether your business is safe and compliant with federal, state, and industry regulations: If I follow all the regulations, will my data be secure? How do I keep up with the laws? Are the regulations mandatory, or can I just stick with my current IT security strategy?

While the lines between IT compliance and IT security often get blurred, they are two separate things that need to be covered in your overarching IT plan. We’ll answer all of those questions above and more, so if you’ve been worried about the difference between IT compliance and IT security, stay tuned.

What Is IT Compliance?

At its core, IT compliance is making sure your business meets all the guidelines set forth by federal and state agencies, as well as industry-specific organizations. This can include things like ensuring you have the proper permits and licenses for your business, following workplace cyber hygiene guidelines, or adhering to consumer protection laws.

There are a lot of different IT compliance regulations businesses need to be aware of, which can seem daunting at first. But luckily, there are plenty of compliance resources available to help you get started. The key is to break down the guidelines into manageable pieces and create a plan for implementing them into your business.

Here are some of the most common government regulations you should be aware of:


The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a framework created by the Department of Defense (DoD) to help businesses secure their systems and information. To do business with the DoD, contractors must meet certain cybersecurity requirements outlined in the CMMC.


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a set of regulations designed to protect patient health information. Businesses in the healthcare industry must take measures to safeguard patient data and ensure that only authorized individuals have access to it.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of regulations passed by the European Union to protect the personal data of individuals in the EU. Businesses that process the personal data of EU citizens must comply with the GDPR or face stiff penalties.


The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a set of guidelines for businesses that accept credit card payments. To be compliant with PCI-DSS, businesses must take measures to secure customer credit card data and prevent it from being compromised.

For industry and state regulations, you should consult with a managed service provider, who will have extensive knowledge in the areas you need to cover.

What Is IT Security?

Security is all about protecting your business from external threats like hackers and cyberattacks. This can include things like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption. Unlike compliance, which is focused on meeting guidelines set by external entities, security is something you implement internally to protect your business.

That’s not to say IT compliance and IT security are completely separate from each other. In fact, many of the guidelines businesses need to follow in order to be compliant also help improve security. For example, encrypting data helps protect it from being accessed by unauthorized individuals, which is important for both compliance and security.

The bottom line is that compliance is about meeting external requirements, while security is about protecting your business from internal and external threats. Both are important for keeping your business running smoothly and avoiding costly penalties.

Where Does a Managed Service Provider Come In?

MSPs are businesses that provide IT services to other businesses. This can include things like network administration, data backup and recovery, and cybersecurity.

MSPs can help with both IT compliance and IT security. For compliance, they can help you understand the regulations you need to follow and develop a plan for implementing them into your business. On the security side, an IT security provider can offer IT security services like intrusion detection and firewall protection to help keep your systems safe from external threats.

They’ll also help you create security plans, like a disaster recovery plan or incident response, that will help you get back on your feet if you ever experience a data breach.

An MSP can be a powerful partner that will take you from a break-then-fix model of cybersecurity to a proactive one that helps you avoid costly downtime and data loss.

K2 Tech Can Help You Reach Maximum Security and Compliance Levels

At K2 Tech, we specialize in creating security plans that will save your business time and money. Our CMMC compliance strategy is one of our strengths, but we offer a wide range of other services to help you reach your security and compliance goals.

To learn more about how we can help you, fill out a request form on our site or give us a call to start the consultation process. We’ll talk through your company’s specific industry, state, and federal needs and implement a plan for safety and peace of mind.