After exploring GRC Management (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) in my previous article, I discovered the difficulty of finding reliable information on various frameworks and the time wasted searching for definitions that could be better utilized in finding practical solutions.

In response, I have created a concise overview of Security and Compliance frameworks, aiming to streamline the search process and provide valuable insights beyond mere definitions.

Throughout this blog, I will help define industry-specific compliance frameworks such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS, each addressing specific requirements and obligations within their respective sectors./p>

I hope this helps.

Security and Compliance Frameworks

SOC 1( Service Organization Control 2): Report on controls at a service organization relevant to user entities’ internal control over financial reporting. – an audit report that evaluates the internal controls over the financial reporting of service organizations. It assures user entities and auditors of effectiveness. Organizations commonly use SOC 1 reports to assess the risk of relying on the services and determine if additional controls are needed.

SOC 2 ( Service Organization Control 2): Audit report focusing on a service organization’s controls related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Governed by the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 18, it is commonly used by service organizations to demonstrate their commitment to protecting client data and meeting industry standards. SOC 2 reports provide valuable information to user entities (clients) about the effectiveness of the service organization’s controls in safeguarding their data and maintaining the security and privacy of their systems and processes.

SOC 3 (Service Organization Control 3): Provides a simplified version of the SOC 2 report. It is designed for service organizations to demonstrate their adherence to the Trust Services Criteria for security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Unlike SOC 2 reports, SOC 3 reports are intended for general distribution and can be used to showcase the organization’s commitment to security and privacy to a wide audience.

SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act): U.S. federal law that imposes strict requirements on public companies, including the establishment of internal controls, the independence of auditors, and the accuracy and integrity of financial statements.

ISO 27001: This is an international standard for information security management systems (ISMS). It provides a framework for organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve their information security controls and processes, ensuring their information assets’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

ISO 27017: Extension of ISO 27001 specifically for cloud service providers.

ISO 27018: Extension of ISO 27001 for protecting personally identifiable information (PII) in public cloud environments.

ISO 27701: Extension of ISO 27001 for implementing and managing information management systems, including privacy protection.

PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard): a set of security standards designed to protect payment card data and ensure secure payment card transactions.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): a U.S. legislation that establishes privacy and security standards to protect individuals’ sensitive health information.

HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance): a comprehensive security framework that provides a standardized approach for organizations in the healthcare industry to manage and protect sensitive health information( aligning with regulations like HIPAA).

FedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program): U.S. government program that provides a standardized approach for assessing and authorizing cloud service providers that provide services to US government agencies to ensure federal data security in the cloud.

DoD SRG (Department of Defense Security Requirements Guide): Defines the baseline security requirements used by the DoD to assess the security posture of a cloud service provider. It is a set of cybersecurity guidelines and controls that must be followed by contractors and service providers handling sensitive information for the U.S. DoD.

CMMC(Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification): Cybersecurity framework designed to enforce the protection of sensitive unclassified information shared by the DoD with its contractors and subcontractors by assessing and certifying their cybersecurity maturity.

NIST CSF (National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework): The framework by NIST provides a widely adopted set of guidelines, standards, and best practices that organizations use to manage and improve their cybersecurity posture.

CSA STAR(Cloud Security Alliance Security Trust Assurance and Risk): Security, Trust, and Assurance Registry for evaluating cloud service providers’ security practices against the CSA’s CCM. A program that provides a framework for assessing the security posture of cloud service providers and helps organizations make informed decisions about cloud service adoption.

CCM (Cloud Controls Matrix): A framework provided by the Cloud Security Alliance that offers a comprehensive set of security controls and best practices to help organizations assess and manage the security risks associated with cloud computing.

IRAP(Information Security Registered Assessors Program): an Australian government initiative that authorizes accredited assessors to independently assess an organization’s information and communications technology (ICT) systems for compliance with Australian government security requirements.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation): a comprehensive data protection and privacy regulation that governs the handling and processing of personal data for individuals within the European Union (EU).

CCPA(California Consumer Privacy Act): a state-level data privacy law in California that grants consumers certain rights and imposes obligations on businesses regarding the collection, use, and sharing of personal information, enhancing consumer privacy rights and businesses’ obligations in California.

UK Cyber Essentials: UK government-backed scheme assisting UK organizations in implementing essential cybersecurity controls.

PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act): Canada’s federal privacy law governing how private-sector organizations collect, use, and disclose personal information related to business activities of commercial, for-profit enterprises (private sector organizations).


Organizations can establish a strong foundation for data protection, privacy, and regulatory compliance by adhering to these frameworks and guidelines. Ultimately, a proactive approach to security and compliance safeguards sensitive information and enhances trust with clients, stakeholders, and partners.

Organizations must prioritize security and compliance frameworks as integral components of their overall risk management strategy, enabling them to successfully navigate the complex landscape of data protection, privacy, and regulatory requirements.

If you’ve read this far, it suggests that the content has been beneficial for your work, or it may indicate that you should consider a career in GRC!

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