IT security or IT Compliance: What is more important? 

IT security or IT Compliance What is more important
Home » Blog » IT security or IT Compliance: What is more important? 

IT security or IT Compliance: What is more important? 

Gone are the days when companies on basic security measures such as firewalls, network segmentation, and access controls were relied upon by cybersecurity experts to combat threats and improve cybersecurity.

In an ever-changing threat landscape, it has become imperative for cybersecurity professionals to evolve their methods and deploy more nuanced security measures. 

In response to the threat landscape, governments worldwide have also implemented guidelines for information protection and a basic level of cybersecurity posture for their citizens. 

Since the threats keep evolving with the adversarial TTPs getting more complex, governments keep updating the guidelines to ensure enhanced security at all times in businesses. 

With our previous blog on IT security, we have delved deeply into what it is and why organizations must ensure that they have taken measures for IT security. We have also explained IT compliance and its importance. Through this blog, we dig deeper into what they are and which one is more important.

IT security  and IT compliance revisited

IT security is a composition of measures to secure all the endpoints, servers, and systems across the IT infrastructure that store, process, and manage information. It is the series of guidelines on security measures, controls, configurations, and procedures to ensure a basic level of security posture in an organization.

With over 60% of small businesses going out of business after becoming cyber attack victims, it is clear how vital IT security is for business.

Both are equally important to a business.

IT security is identifying some of the best practices in security and implementing measures to secure business-specific sensitive data.

In the past, IT security was about protection measures against cyber attackers. However, the meaning of IT security has evolved in recent times. It has gone from implementing measures to protect IT infrastructure to identifying the best practices in cybersecurity and implementing tailored measures that ensure damage control and round-the-clock protection of all information assets.

IT compliance has gone far from checklists, audits, and assessments. It has evolved into the overall improvement of the cybersecurity posture using some of the best security practices.

Challenges to IT security and IT compliance 

One of the challenges faced by small and medium businesses is the skill shortage to achieve all the IT security and IT compliance achievements. Let us take a look at some of the challenges faced by organizations globally in achieving their IT security and IT compliance goals: 

  • Widespread Skill Shortage: There is a global skill shortage in cybersecurity. It means that organizations fail to combat all the challenges on their own. There is a dire need for a team of cybersecurity experts who can help organizations solve their IT security and compliance challenges. There is a global talent shortage of around 4.2 million people.
  • The ever-changing regulatory environment and threat landscape: Cybercriminals continuously evolve their techniques with AI and ML. In response, regulatory bodies from across the globe are making changes in the regulations with timely updates to the guidelines to be followed by organizations subjected to their compliance.
  • Expansion of organization to other geographies: As organizations grow, they expand their operations in geographies with their employees connected remotely subjected to the guidelines of that particular geography. Rendering IT security is highly challenging in a remote setting. Since local regulations are highly volatile and can change anytime, it is difficult for organizations to achieve their IT compliance goals. 
  • Human error: Human error makes up 95% of cyber breaches. The lack of trained personnel may hinder IT security and IT compliance efforts. It is one of the biggest challenges in achieving IT security and compliance goals.

Compliance and IT security facts 2023

  • Over 50% of organizations have spent 4-6% of their revenue on compliance costs.
  • 70% of cybersecurity professionals have reported a skill shortage in cybersecurity in their organizations.
  • By 2025, over 65% of organizations will determine whether to engage in business based on compliance achievement.
  • Over 43% of SMBs don’t have any plan for cybersecurity in place in their organization.
  • ISO 27001 is the most used cybersecurity framework with over 48% of companies using it to ensure cybersecurity in their organization.

Benefits of IT security 

Let us consider the following 5 benefits of IT security: 

  • IT security ensures that all your operations remain undisrupted from cyberattacks through measures with round-the-clock security of all the critical assets and systems that store, process, and manage operational data. 
  • By ensuring round-the-clock security of all the IT infrastructure, IT security enables people to deliver their best and be more productive. 
  • Assists organizations in scaling their operations and expanding their presence across the world. It secures remote work environments connected to the organizational network. 
  • Reduces the probability of Zero Day attacks by implementing a range of security measures for improving the cyber resilience of systems, endpoints, and servers connected to the IT infrastructure.
  • Implements measures to secure the most critical assets of the organization. It also helps in achieving the requirements stipulated by global and regulatory compliance bodies.

Benefits of IT compliance

Let us consider the following five benefits of IT compliance:

  • IT compliance improves the reputation of the business and brand image by ensuring compliance with all regulatory and international regulations. 
  • It helps organizations establish a good cybersecurity posture by default with security controls based on best practices.
  • Saves organizations from the high costs of cyber attacks like ransomware and data breaches. 
  • IT compliance opens up new business opportunities for an organization, assisting them to fulfill the standards sought by reputed businesses and clients. 
  • Through an effective team for compliance, businesses can look forward to global expansion without fearing legal disruptions from local regulatory bodies.

What is more important? IT Security or IT compliance

While IT compliance may ensure a default set of cybersecurity posture, increasing cyber resilience and protection of all the sensitive data across the IT infrastructure of a company. 

Both IT security and IT compliance are vital for an organization. IT compliance is meeting a set of requirements and expectations in cybersecurity stipulated by a body. IT security is about implementing technical measures to keep the most valuable assets safe from cyber criminals looking to steal sensitive information through a ransomware attack or any other attack. 

The answer to this question is not easy since managing and effectively implementing IT compliance and security is a challenge. 

The most obvious answer that comes to most people’s minds is that IT security is more important. They believe that IT compliance is just a set of guidelines by a third party to be complied with.  

But the reality is that IT compliance is the fundamental basis of cybersecurity. Most cybersecurity postures are based on the cybersecurity framework they are subjected to. These security frameworks describe in detail the measures that are to be implemented by organizations to increase their cybersecurity posture and make them resilient to the most common threats. 

Given how the regulatory environment is constantly changing with the tactics and procedures deployed by attackers, IT compliance has become a critical component more so now than ever before. It has gone beyond checklists and audits, identifying the key areas that organizations are vulnerable to and recommending measures that will assist them with extensive treatment of risks and preparing them for the event of a cyber attack. Incident response planning remains one of the critical components of compliance. It defines how an organization will respond in the event of a cyber attack and recommends measures to contain damage and protect the most valuable assets of the customers and employees. 

Without IT compliance, an organization will have to undergo a huge financial cost of legal fines, not to mention the loss of reputation as a result of non-compliance. Also, the regulatory environment is subject to continuous change due to the ever-evolving nature of threats and cybercriminals getting more and more complex and persistent. Many times an organization may fail to keep up with the subtle changes in requirements stipulated by the regulatory and global bodies. 

To conclude

We have seen how IT security and IT compliance help organizations achieve different goals based on objectives and requirements. We saw how IT compliance and IT security have evolved and the way organizations must approach them in today’s ever-changing digital world. We have also had a glimpse of how IT compliance and IT security are different and which one is more important than the other. IT compliance has its own sets of benefits as opposed to IT security and it is important in the business.


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