Data Security Compliance

Data Security Compliance

All industries must follow established standards and legal regulations for the appropriate handling and storage of data. The data security compliance regulations that apply depend on where a company is registered and where it conducts business.

What is Data Security Compliance?

Data compliance is the adherence of an organization to the laws and standards governing the security and protection of sensitive data.

Data security compliance is a branch of data compliance that specifically refers to securing and protecting this sensitive data from breach and theft.

Complying with data security measures means companies must document and implement security practices as compliance proof.

Data security and compliance strategies often include:

  • Data classification according to its sensitive nature
  • Encryption of sensitive data
  • Access control implementation
  • Data backup creation in the event of loss
  • Documentation of all data security compliance measures
  • Ongoing audits and updates to continue meeting requirements as needed

Data compliance vs. data security compliance

Sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably. While related, data compliance is all activity related to data handling compliance standards

Data security compliance, on the other hand, is a finer-grained subset of data compliance that deals with the specific measures an organization takes to protect sensitive data from illicit access, security breaches, and other cyberthreats through the use of firewalls and other data protection methods.

What Regulations Must Organizations Comply With?

All organizations must comply with the data security compliance regulations of the industry and region in which the company is registered and any areas in which it does business, such as:

  • GDPR

Here’s a breakdown of these data security compliance regulations.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The European Union enacted GDPR as a sweeping data privacy regulation to protect EU citizens’ personally identifiable information (PII). GDPR’s compliance obligations are strict, mandating transparency among all organizations within Europe — and those doing business with European citizens — regarding how the companies collect data and how it’s used so citizens have more control over PII.

One of the greatest features of the legislation is its stance against businesses that do not comply. Businesses found non-compliant face substantial penalties for failing to meet GDPR’s privacy and data regulation compliance criteria. Fines for non-compliance are as high as 4% of a business’s annual income worldwide or €20 million — whichever amount is higher — causing organizations around the world to rethink data collection practices and data handling measures.


HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is legislation from the United States. HIPAA became law in 1996 and established rules and procedures for healthcare practices and other businesses that come in contact with a patient’s private medical data or personal health information, known as PHI.

Any entity considered “covered” by a HIPAA category must uphold the legislation’s standards for data security compliance. 

Covered entities include:

  • Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers
  • Agents, customer service representatives, accountants, and other individuals in the employ of insurance providers

Any associates that do business with the above two entity categories and have access to private health information, must also remain in compliance, including (but not limited to):

  • Data transmitters
  • Medical transcriptionists
  • Software providers


In recent years, theft of credit card information has risen. Somewhat like HIPAA for healthcare, the payments industry introduced PCI DSS, or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, in December 2004. 

PCI DSS sets forth guidelines for protecting consumers’ credit card information. PCI DSS is not legislation by any government — instead, it’s a set of contracts imposed upon any entity engaged in accepting credit card or debit card payments from consumers. The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) enforces these contractual commitments. However, PCI DSS does not apply solely to the business accepting the credit/debit card payment. 

Compliance extends to any entity that comes in contact with credit card information, including entities that:

  • Accept data transmissions
  • Store card data
  • Transmit card data

Even if a business uses a third-party payments company to facilitate credit/debit card payments, the business must still comply with PCI DSS. For example, an eCommerce store that accepts card payments through Stripe is still responsible for the secure acceptance, storage, and transmission of all credit or debit card payment transactions even though Stripe facilitates the payment. 

All businesses accepting card payments can benefit from creating internal credit/debit card transaction policies and processes to meet PCI DSS compliance.

Data Security Compliance Training for Staff

Training employees on data security compliance is essential. But successful training relies on:

  • Figuring out which topics your staff requires training in
  • Finding the right training program or materials (or even building your own)
  • Preparing a doable training schedule

If you build your training program, you’ll likely have upper staff lead individual modules. But if you select a third-party training program, it’s important to know who you’re working with. Vetting your partner vendors is essential because if vendors aren’t compliant with data privacy legislation and regulations, you could be found non-compliant by proxy.

Safeguard Your Data with MRINetwork

If your organization handles any form of sensitive, private data, data security compliance is essential. Your business must create policies and procedures to ensure it meets all applicable requirements, and that employees understand data security compliance measures.

MRINetwork has successfully placed over 300 cybersecurity professionals since 2021, many of whom possess transferable skills from other sectors. Our success stresses the importance of a well-planned hiring strategy as cloud security evolves.

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