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What is Cybersecurity Compliance?

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Remember those imaginary monsters that kept you up at night when you were a kid?

Now that you're grown up, cyber threats are real specters that might be stealing your shut-eye.

Whether you're managing IT for a startup or running your MSP, the risk of data compromise looms large. Cyber threats are more sophisticated and more costly than ever. The project of protecting your customers' data can seem daunting.

That's where cybersecurity compliance comes in. It's about peace of mind, knowing your organization has its bases covered in risk management. It's about shining a flashlight on those monsters under the bed. It's about getting a good night's sleep.

Let's unpack cybersecurity compliance. Near the end of the post, we'll share details on popular compliance frameworks to get you started.

Definition of cybersecurity compliance

Cybersecurity compliance uses risk-based controls to uphold data and digital infrastructure security, availability, and integrity.

It's helpful to conceptualize cybersecurity compliance based on its two components:


Gartner defines cybersecurity as "deploying people, policies, processes, and technologies to protect organizations, their critical systems, and sensitive information from digital attacks."

Cybersecurity encapsulates the efforts put in place to safeguard systems against online threats.


Compliance is the adherence to standards established to address data integrity and security. Frameworks provide the criteria for guidance in achieving compliance.

As we've noted, "compliance occurs when you fulfill the standards of your targeted framework/frameworks."

Regulatory compliance involves the adherence to governing standards established outside of your organization. This is where compliance frameworks come into play. With regulatory compliance, you can get framework certification through a third-party auditing process. Certification is increasingly sought-after by enterprise-level and government organizations.

Internal compliance is about following your company's best practices for mitigating risk. It is an integral part of fostering a culture of IT compliance.

What do I need to be compliant?

You need:

1. A cybersecurity compliance program

2. Buy-in from your team

3. End-to-end compliance automation software to make the whole job much more manageable.

Cybersecurity compliance programs are often influenced by planning for the future. Think about your long-term goals. Do you envision expansions into new sectors with larger contracts? What about introducing your company to global markets?

Bring your vision to your team. Involve everyone in the effort to uphold cybersecurity compliance. Many frameworks require documentation that spans departments, including HR and business operations. It's a team effort.

Now that you've got everyone on board, the work can begin. A cybersecurity compliance program involves:

  • Gathering evidence
  • Risk analysis
  • Setting controls
  • Building policies
  • Ongoing monitoring of compliance

You can take action on these tasks with end-to-end compliance automation software. ControlMap lets you manage cybersecurity compliance in a user-friendly workflow. It's faster than manually gathering evidence and assessing risks. And you're always up-to-date on the latest version of your framework.

Evidence collection is ongoing with your cloud, HR, and identity systems connected to the platform. Rest easy knowing your organization's compliance is continually monitored. You'll be alerted to potential risks in real time.

What are the most popular cybersecurity compliance frameworks?

When it comes to the most sought-after frameworks, SOC 2 and ISO 27001 are at the top of the list.  SOC 2 is far and away the most popular in the United States, but ISO 27001 is gaining prominence as more US-based companies expand to international markets.

These are popular because their criteria suit a wide range of organizations. There is also a ton of overlap in these frameworks' requirements.

SOC 2 was established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The SOC 2 report is for service organizations to ensure they meet specific Trust Criteria. Security is the only required Trust Criteria, but organizations can also target availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, or privacy.

ISO 27001 is a globally-recognized standard for information security management systems (ISMS). It applies to many sectors and organizations, regardless of size.

Another benefit of using ISO 27001 or SOC 2? TechTarget contributor Paul Kirvan discusses establishing "crosswalks" to show compliance across regulations.

Popular cybersecurity compliance frameworks often overlap in their requirements. These commonalities make it achievable to maintain compliance in more than one framework. With ControlMap, built-in cross-framework mapping lets you reuse integrations, controls, evidence, and policies. You can reduce your start time by up to 80%!

Other commonly-known frameworks that are more regional or sector-specific include:

  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

Intended to protect the data of EU internet users. If you do business in the EU, focus on GDPR as part of your security workup.

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

Formed to uphold and protect the integrity of Protected Health Information (PHI). Wherever healthcare and digital services intersect, HIPAA is a must.

  • FedRAMP (The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program)

Provides standardized security assessment and authorization for Cloud Service

Offerings. Want to go after government contracts? FedRAMP is an essential requirement.

Take the first step to compliance with ControlMap

Cut your time to achieving compliance, and get that restful sleep! Request a use-case-specific demo with ControlMap by email today.