Cybersecurity Compliance Assessments: How You Should Interpret Them

Financial services, healthcare, and retail are just a handful of the industries that must adhere to cybersecurity regulations. Their goal, whether in the form of rules or commercial agreements, is to keep non-public personal information (NPPI) including medical data, financial records, credit card details, and so on from being divulged and/or compromised.

Figuring out exactly what you are expected to accomplish is a major difficulty when determining whether you are in compliance, so having a skilled interpreter comes in handy. In this article, we will talk about compliance assessments and how you should interpret them.

What is a Compliance Assessment?

A compliance assessment is a tool for evaluating and documenting the present level of compliance supervision, management, and related risks in a specific compliance area. The assessment will assist in identifying strengths and opportunities within a specific compliance area’s ecosystem, such as oversight accountability, regulatory reporting requirements, compliance management, compliance risks, and key compliance gaps, as well as laying the groundwork for developing a compliance gap closure plan and escalating compliance concerns as needed.

When a company fails to comply with industry rules and regulations, its own internal policies, or industry best practices, it faces legal consequences, financial loss, and reputational damage. Because of the rising complexity of rules and fines for noncompliance and a company’s failure to understand UEBA, a good compliance risk assessment that helps to both identify and prioritize risks is a key first step in developing an overall risk management strategy for modern organizations.

Cybersecurity Compliance Requirements

Cybersecurity Compliance entails adhering to numerous measures (typically implemented by a regulatory authority, government, or industry association) in order to safeguard data confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Compliance standards differ by business and sector, but they usually entail a variety of particular organizational processes and technology to protect data. For example, there will be different standards for vendor risk management. To see some of them, you can check the compliance standards by NordLayer. Additionally, controls come from a variety of sources and cover different industries. Here are some examples:

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act — GLBA

Financial institutions, or companies that give consumers financial goods or services such as loans, financial or investment advice, or insurance, are required under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to explain their information-sharing policies to their clients and to preserve sensitive data.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard — PCI DSS

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a collection of rules and procedures developed by the Payment Card Industry to improve the security of credit, debit, and cash card transactions and protect cardholders from identity theft.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is federal legislation that mandated the adoption of national standards to prevent sensitive patient health information from being revealed without the agreement or knowledge of the patient.

Federal Information Security Management Act — FISMA

The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is a piece of US legislation that establishes a set of principles and security standards to safeguard federal data and activities. The Electronic Government Act of 2002 included a risk management framework, which was later updated and amended.

Components of Compliance Assessment

A compliance assessment is a management system that enables you to identify objectives, risks, and controls, as well as to conduct tests and generate data for reporting. Programs or engagements are other terms for compliance evaluations. A good compliance assessment consists of different components:


The primary aspects of a compliance assessment, as well as the organizational containers for work done inside a compliance evaluation, are the objectives. Each goal specifies the subject matter that will be examined as well as how performance will be evaluated. Sections, cycles, and control objectives are all terms used to describe objectives.


A procedure is a program, policy, practice, or action that is designed to reduce the likelihood of anything bad happening. Procedures are categorized by their goals and can be linked to one or more hazards. The Risk Control Matrix is defined by the combination of recognized hazards and appropriate procedures.

Test Plan

A test plan is a document that outlines how controls will be evaluated. Test plans specify the testing technique or type of evidence gathered, the overall sample size (divided across testing rounds), and test procedures or qualities.


An outcome is a set of procedures that you do to determine the dependability of controls and evaluate their design. Each control you create has an outcome that is used to ensure that the control is created correctly.

Guidance on Compliance Assessment

There are several sources of information that a corporation should consult when assessing compliance because rules frequently leave a variety of alternative control techniques available to satisfy the criteria. The advice provided in these sources takes the legislation and transforms it into something that can be implemented. They are as follows:

• Situational circumstances
• FFIEC Information Technology Examination Handbooks
• Notifications and bulletins
• NIST Special Publications
• Guidance and proposals for industry implementation
• Letters from Financial Institutions


Security and best practices may help you boost your cyber security plan by going beyond just following compliance regulations. It’s vital to keep in mind that many of the largest data breaches involved firms that were compliant but not secure. As a result, you should consider including a risk assessment in your compliance evaluation

When designing and executing a cybersecurity framework inside an organization, clear rules assist in following the risk assessment checklist that targets weaknesses and focuses on priorities. Building a sound cybersecurity program plan foundation requires compliance with data protection rules and regulations.

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