Cyber resilience vs. security compliance: What’s the difference?

June 20, 2023

The terms cyber resilience and security compliance are often misunderstood. While compliance focuses on meeting regulatory obligations, cyber resilience goes beyond this. In this blog post, we’ll explore both concepts in more detail, including the distinctions between each, the limitations of a compliance-only approach, and how embracing both enhances overall security.

Understanding the world of compliance

“Compliance is the ability to demonstrate to a third party that you’ve got the processes in place to be resilient,” says Dean Carter, Managing Director of SafeAdvisory.

Often perceived as a checkbox requirement, compliance goes beyond meeting regulatory obligations. It serves as a trust-building exercise and shows external parties that your organisation has implemented the necessary processes and controls. Compliance ensures adherence to industry standards, regulations and best practices, providing a baseline level of security.

Shifting to a cyber resilience mindset

Many organisations limit their thinking when it comes to cybersecurity – viewing compliance as the one path to securing their assets. A compliance-only approach leads to tunnel vision; although an organisation can be compliant, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will also be resilient.

Cyber resilience is an organisation’s ability to recover from incidents, and encompasses the agility and effectiveness of response measures. It is not limited to meeting compliance requirements, but instead aims to minimise the impact of incidents and maintain business continuity.

Navigating the limitations of standards

As Dean mentions on the Upwards podcast, compliance standards often struggle to keep pace with emerging threats. While they provide a valuable framework, businesses must go beyond the minimum requirements and adapt their security posture to address the ever-evolving threat landscape. By proactively assessing risks, implementing robust controls, and staying informed, organisations can bridge the gap between compliance and true cyber resilience.

Embracing a holistic approach

To achieve comprehensive security resilience, a holistic approach that integrates compliance efforts with broader strategies is key. This entails implementing proactive security measures, continually assessing and monitoring vulnerabilities, fostering a security-conscious culture, and investing in employee training and awareness programs. By doing so, businesses can align compliance practices with the dynamic nature of cybersecurity and enhance their overall resilience.

Security compliance and cyber resilience are distinct yet interconnected concepts that play crucial roles in protecting organisations from cyber threats. Compliance serves as a foundation for building trust with stakeholders, while cyber resilience focuses on the ability to quickly recover in the event of an incident. By understanding the relationship between these two concepts, your organisation can strike a balance between regulatory obligations and proactively responding to incidents.

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