Compliance vs. Security: How Computer Support Companies Can Help

According to Verizon’s 2017 Payment Security Report, more companies than ever before have achieved PCI (credit card) compliance. In fact, compliance is up almost five-fold when compared to statistics from 2012.

But, somehow, the number of breaches is growing.

Looking at these numbers, it’s pretty clear that there’s a mismatch between compliance procedures and security procedures. Considering the heavy cost of a data breach, the distinction between the two processes is especially important for small and mid-sized businesses that handle sensitive data of any kind, not just payment information.

You don’t want your business to suffer the consequences of either a data breach or a round of non-compliance fines, which is why this blog helps explain how computer support companies like Interplay can help you succeed in both critical areas: security and compliance.


What Is Compliance?

If you run a company in a highly regulated industry such as healthcare or finance, compliance worries probably keep you up at night. You may think you know all about compliance, but you’re probably overlooking a key piece of information: Compliant companies can still suffer data breaches.

And compliant companies will still face steep breach penalties in the event of a disaster. (Ouch.)

If you’re looking to understand the difference between compliance and security in a nutshell, just remember that compliance is merely the bare minimum for computer and IT security practices. Though those compliance audits sure can be a lot of paperwork for you, they don’t necessarily prove that your systems are secure.

For example, most compliance requirements mandate that you implement a password policy. However, if an unencrypted computer is stolen (as happened at Heartland Payment Systems) or one of your employees falls victim to a phishing attack (as happened with the Anthem and JPMorgan Chase breaches), that password policy of yours will have failed to secure your records… and you’ll still have a costly data breach on your hands.

In order to properly secure your systems, you’d need a password policy, in-depth education for your staff on how to avoid phishing attacks, and round-the-clock monitoring that helps you catch bizarre IT behavior, such as an unexpected login from across the globe. Good computer support companies can help you achieve both compliance and security.


What Is Security?

Though compliance consists of proving that you can follow rules (sometimes very odd and outdated rules, like a lot of the ones in the GDPR), security requires more. True security lies not only in applying compliancy best practices to protect and defend your IT systems, but in successfully planning ahead, like in a chess match.

For good security, you must always be thinking a few steps ahead of your opponent. This means you spend time trying to see where your system vulnerabilities are and how you can close up the potential gaps in security that those vulnerabilities cause.

To do this effectively, you’ll want to focus on:

  • Identifying vulnerabilities
  • Understanding your current practices and procedures
  • Staying vigilant with applying patches and updates immediately
  • Setting up alerts that notify you of unexpected system behavior
  • Strategizing your best course of action in the event of a breach or other disaster (business continuity is a great solution that gets you back up and running in minutes)
  • Knowing where your equipment and data is at all times

Sound like a lot of work?

It is.

That’s why many small and midsized businesses rely on outsourced IT help from computer support companies. Not only can good computer support companies help you set up your strategy and plans for recovering fast from a cyber-attack or other emergency, they can also help monitor and patch all your systems and equipment, so you can stay both secure and compliant.


Work with One of Seattle’s Longest-Standing Computer Support Companies: Interplay

Since 2001, Interplay has been helping businesses secure technology from whatever may come. Our friendly and knowledgeable hands-on support team has deep expertise and experience with almost every kind of business software, in industries as varied as engineering, healthcare, nonprofits, and more.

If you’re ready to move beyond simple compliance into true business security, Interplay will help you create a custom plan that fits your exact needs for protection and budgeting.


But you have to take the first step. Contact Interplay to request a quote or learn more.