Everything you need to know about IT Compliance in 2024

Payal Wadhwa

Payal Wadhwa

Jan 10, 2024

A modern organization today is characterized by various cross-functional departments with information technology intricately interconnected to each function. The interwoven landscape has, on the one hand, enhanced operational synergies, but at the same time, it has increased the risks of security failures and cyber threats. This reality has caused a surge in regulatory scrutiny and an increased focus on IT compliance.

IT compliance provides a starting ground for CISOs and seasoned security experts to weave security maturity into the organizational fabric. It emphasizes security and compliance essentials to build defence and withstand modern-day challenges.

This blog is your ultimate guide to the importance and benefits of IT compliance, the standards you must know, and the ways to overcome IT compliance challenges in 2024.

What is IT compliance?

IT compliance is the process of adhering to legal, contractual or regulatory requirements and industry best practices to ensure the security of IT activities and digital systems. It involves aligning internal policies with established guidelines to mitigate risks and protect sensitive information.

Who needs IT compliance?

All organizations, whether private or public, that utilize information technology for operations or deal with sensitive information need IT compliance. The applicability of standards and the stringency of requirements can, however, vary based on the criticality of infrastructure.

Generally, the following industries need IT compliance:

  • Healthcare providers such as hospitals, clinics, insurance plans etc., that deal with patient’s health information
  • Financial institutions and payment processors with the responsibility to safeguard payment information
  • Government agencies and contractors with sensitive government data
  • Technology companies that develop and maintain software
  • Other service providers and institutions that are highly regulated or deal with critical information

Importance of IT compliance

IT compliance is crucial to provide a structured framework to minimize the risks pertaining to information security. Adhering to industry best practices helps safeguard business-critical information and sensitive customer data. This, in turn, enhances business operations and market perception while enabling businesses to scale with ease. Especially for organizations operating globally, IT compliance can be a vital trust factor to ensure success.

Additionally, non-compliance brings more than just hefty fines. It leads to business downtime and long-term reputational impact because you become a cyber incident case study in no time. IT Compliance is therefore essential to implement the right controls and ensure a resilient security posture to lower the likelihood of data breaches.

IT compliance Vs IT security

IT compliance is the adherence to requirements from external parties such as government and regulatory bodies. IT security, on the other hand, is the Implementation of technical safeguards to protect critical assets and the requirements stem from the organization’s unique security requirements.

IT compliance and IT security complement each other, and every organization must focus on both to defend against cyber attacks. However, there are certain differences between the two:

BasisIT ComplianceIT Security
FocusTo ensure compliance with IT regulations and standardsTo ensure protection of crucial information assets.
GoalTo get audit-ready and achieve certificationTo build resilience against security events
EnforcementStrictly enforced as per applicable requirementsOrganizations have the flexibility to choose control implementation based on security maturity
Implementation exampleA healthcare organization developing policies, conducting risk assessments and implementing other measures to meet HIPAA complianceAn organization implementing firewalls, intrusion detection systems, etc. to enhance overall security.
The result of lapsesLapses in IT compliance can result in specific regulatory fines and penalties like 10 million Euros or 2% of turnover in the case of GDPR. It can also result in reputational damage.Lapses in IT security can lead to intrusion attempts, data breaches, financial losses, operational disruptions and loss of customer trust.

However, both IT security and IT compliance are intertwined. They share the common objective of protecting information assets and minimizing risk. Compliance frameworks lay the foundation for implementing security measures while continuously building a pipeline of controls helps achieve compliance readiness. Organizations must, therefore focus on both to ensure a robust and secure environment.

Also check: 7 Best Compliance Automation Tools in 2024

Major IT compliance standards you must know

The applicability of IT compliance standards depends on the type of organization and the type of data you store. You may also be required to comply because of a contractual obligation or simply because your customer has asked for it.

But here are 5 major IT compliance standards you must know:


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union (EU) data protection legislation. It governs the usage and storage of EU citizens’ personal data by any organization regardless of the location. As an IT compliance standard, GDPR:

  • Mandates the implementation of technical controls such as encryption, access control, regular assessments etc. to safeguard personal data
  • Grants individuals rights to access, erase or restrict processing of data
  • Regulates transfer of data outside the EU/EEA (European Economic Area)
  • Encourages organizations to incorporate data protection best practices and process data lawfully
  • Requires organizations to report a breach within 72 hours of the incident

ISO 27001

ISO 27001 is an international standard that provides a structured framework for building, deploying and maintaining an effective Information Security Management System (ISMS). As an IT compliance standard, ISO 27001:

  • Emphasizes the management of security risks associated with IT systems and processes
  • Mandates risk assessments and vulnerability scans to mitigate information security risks
  • Recommends a set of controls, such as access controls, network security, encryption etc for the protection of sensitive data
  • Encourages organizations to ensure the physical security of IT assets
  • Promotes continuous improvement by establishing a mechanism for regular monitoring and updating policies.


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a U.S. federal law that advocates the protection of patient health information (PHI and e-PHI) by covered entities such as healthcare organizations and their business associates such as IT service providers. As an IT compliance standard, HIPAA

  • Enforces HIPAA security rule that requires implementation of authentication measures, encryption for safe transmission of ePHI and other measures to ensure data security
  • Requires organizations to have a HIPAA privacy officer to ensure the deployment of security measures
  • Lays strong emphasis on administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect ePHI
  • Requires covered entities to sign business associate agreements (BAA) to ensure that the associates comply with HIPAA rules
  • Mandates breach notifications for any unsecured ePHI affecting 500 or more individuals no later than 60 days.


Service Organizations Control (SOC 2) is a security standard for service organizations that deal with sensitive customer data to ensure the security, availability, confidentiality, processing integrity and privacy of information. These 5 trust principles are specified by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). As an IT compliance standard, SOC 2:

  • Requires organizations to implement controls such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), data encryption, patch management etc., that align with the 5 principles
  • Encourages classification of data based on sensitivity and educating employees to handle it properly
  • Advocates the Implementation of a risk management program to minimize data security risks
  • Reinforces the importance of having secure change management processes to reduce risks of unauthorized changes
  • Mandates maintenance of failover mechanisms to ensure reliable access to services


The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a global security standard that applies to any organization that stores, processes, or transmits sensitive cardholder information. It is enforced by major credit card brands, such as American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and JCB, to ensure a secure cardholder environment. As an IT compliance standard, PCI:

  • Advocates the development and communication of an information security policy
  • Requires organizations to maintain secure networks and install firewalls
  • Mandates regular vulnerability scans from authorized scanners followed by proper patch management
  • Enforces Implementation of strong access control measures and the principle of least privilege to minimize credit card fraud
  • Suggests the use of encryption and other protection methods for the safe transmission of data

How to implement IT compliance standards in your organization?

Implementing IT compliance standards requires cross-functional collaboration across IT, operations, legal, and other departments. There can be initial resistance, and you will need stakeholder buy-in to bring in a cultural shift to compliance. Start with a top-down approach, with leaders showing maximum commitment towards the initiatives. Ensure ongoing improvement as it is an iterative process.

Follow these steps to implement relevant IT compliance standards:

Identify applicable standards

Start by understanding the applicability of IT compliance standards based on your industry and business context. Consider geographical locations to identify region-specific regulations. Also, evaluate widely acceptable frameworks across the industry. Align business objectives to the applicable frameworks and research best practices.

Assess current risk profile

Take stock of the current environment by creating an inventory of critical assets and conducting risk assessments. Use a risk matrix to identify risk severity, likelihood, and impact. The matrix has 5 rating levels as insignificant, minor, significant, major and severe. Based on the ratings, prioritize your risks.

Identify gaps in compliance

The next step is to understand where your organization falls short. Compare the findings of the risk assessment to the existing controls in place. Identify the missing controls required to mitigate the identified risks and fulfill compliance obligations. The missing controls are your compliance gaps.

Mapping controls to requirements

Draft a tactical mitigation plan to fill the gaps. Map controls with requirements to create new policies accordingly or update existing policies. Establish a dedicated compliance team for Implementation along with clearly laid out roles and responsibilities. Communicate your expectations to the employees and ensure policy acknowledgements.

Implement relevant controls

After reaching the implementation phase, start by arranging for workforce training for the team. Next, deploy necessary technological infrastructure to build a pipeline of tightly integrated controls. Start implementing the missing controls whether they are authentication mechanisms, encryption, firewalls or others. Maintain documentation for every corrective action initiated to be used at the time of audits.

Monitor and improve

Establish a mechanism for continuous monitoring at granular levels to confirm the effective implementation of controls. Conduct re-scans to ensure that the vulnerabilities from previous assessments have been closed and keep updating policies to keep pace with emerging threats.

Benefits of IT compliance

IT Compliance is a strategic imperative to safeguard IT assets and ensure prevention rather than only counting on protection. It streamlines IT activities and brings more transparency to processes while holding the stakeholders accountable for secure operations.

Here are 4 benefits of IT compliance:

Proactive risk management

Most IT compliance frameworks require regular risk assessments, vulnerability scans and Implementation of right controls to safeguard critical assets. Such measures serve as proactive measures to minimize risks associated with security events.

Better Business Opportunities

IT Compliance demonstrates a commitment to responsible and ethical data handling. Displaying certifications on the company website or having a security profile is a differentiator to improve market access and opens doors to enterprise opportunities.

Operational efficiency

IT compliance frameworks ensure standardized procedures and regular monitoring and improvement to minimize any deviations. Maintaining continuous IT compliance in the long run helps organizations achieve operational efficiency and save costs by reducing downtime and non-compliance implications.

Fostering security conscious culture

Implementing any IT compliance framework requires the participation of various stakeholders. Employee training, disbursement and acknowledgment of policies, following security best practices etc, help raise awareness and build a security-conscious culture. 

Avoiding penalties and lawsuits

IT Compliance ensures adherence to data protection and other relevant regulations, helping businesses avoid legal penalties and fines. It also minimizes the risk of attracting regulatory scrutiny and being dragged into energy and resource-draining lawsuits.

Challenges of IT compliance

Implementing IT compliance standards, especially manually, can overwhelm you with all the documentation and tasks that need to be managed, the budgets that executives need approval, and endless auditor meetings.

You also face the following challenges when implementing IT compliance:

New regulations and updates

As threats and attackers evolve rapidly, there is a constant need to develop countermeasures and update regulations to meet security needs. Businesses, especially those operating globally find it difficult to navigate through the intricacies of multiple evolving regulations and regional requirements.

Sprinto Advantage:

Sprinto as a compliance automation platform, helps map relevant controls to IT compliance frameworks in an easy-to-understand language. It also maps common controls across regulations to save you from duplication of efforts and helps you get audit ready in weeks.

Third-party dependencies

Organizations dealing with several vendors must ensure that every third-party organization complies with the relevant regulations. However, managing several vendor compliance obligations can be challenging in practice and lead to third-party breaches. In 2022, 63 attacks on vendors caused 298 third-party data breaches across companies. Also, 98% of organizations worldwide are connected to a vendor that had a breach in the last one to two years!

Sprinto Advantage:

Sprinto becomes your centralized platform to track and manage vendor risks throughout their lifecycle. The platform identifies risk severity associated with various vendors based on data they access and helps you track vendor risk assessments and due diligence reports.

Easy Automated Risk Insights

Distributed workforce challenges

Remote working and hybrid culture has introduced policies like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) bringing in new security challenges. The risks of weak network security, access-related challenges, responding to remote incidents, unsecured storage etc. prevail in cases of a distributed workforce, making it difficult to achieve IT compliance.

Sprinto Advantage:

Sprinto has a baked-in MDM (mobile device management) tool Dr Sprinto, and also integrates with several other MDM tools to keep track of endpoints. Dr Sprinto automatically runs compliance checks on devices and automated alerts are raised in case of deviations.

Integration challenges

There are rapid technological changes and increasing dependencies on new software solutions. Organizations with legacy systems face integration challenges with new products and deployment of upgraded infrastructure is resource intensive.

Sprinto Advantage:

Sprinto integrates with 100+ cloud services to expand the scope of your compliance program, run granular compliance checks and ensure airtight security.

How Sprinto can help businesses achieve IT compliance

IT compliance is more than just a one-time obligation. It ensures that the organization operates on security-first principles and is in a state of continuous readiness against emerging threats. However, Clausematch’s 2023 state of Compliance Technology report states that the most common barrier to compliance success is manual processes. So organizations that find IT compliance challenging and a long-drawn process can leverage tools like Sprinto.

Sprinto as a compliance automation platform, puts IT compliance implementation on autopilot. The platform doesn’t clobber employees with tasks but rather frees their bandwidth with features like in-built policy templates, ready-to-use training modules, integrated risk management, automated evidence collection, and more. The platform supports 15+ compliance regulations and helps you get audit-ready in weeks.

Read how DNIF achieved ISO 27001 and SOC 2 audit readiness in 14 days.

Want to learn more?


How can we reduce IT compliance risk?

To reduce IT compliance risks organizations must conduct regular assessments and internal audits, establish compliance checks and ensure ongoing monitoring, keep track of vendor compliance and continuously implement data protection measures.

How to choose an IT compliance tool?

To choose an IT compliance tool, consider the scope of frameworks covered and their relevance to the organizations. Evaluate the user-friendliness of the platform through trials and demos and loof for features such as automated workflows, user activity logs, integration capabilities, reporting, scalability and flexibility. Compare costs with competitors and finalize based on long-term returns.

What is an IT compliance checklist?

An IT compliance checklist is a set of guidelines and controls that organizations must implement to ensure adherence of IT systems and processes with relevant regulations. The checklist includes items such as access management, data loss prevention, incident response planning, malware protection, creating security policies and more.

Payal Wadhwa

Payal Wadhwa

Payal is your friendly neighborhood compliance whiz! She turns perplexing compliance lingo into actionable advice about keeping your digital business safe and savvy. When she isn’t saving virtual worlds, she’s penning down poetic musings or lighting up local open mics. Cyber savvy by day, poet by night!

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