<img src="https://ws.zoominfo.com/pixel/6169bf9791429100154fc0a2" width="1" height="1" style="display: none;">

Curious about how StrongDM works? 🤔 Learn more here!

Close icon
Search bar icon

FISMA vs FedRAMP, NIST vs ISO, SOC 2 vs HIPAA, ‍ISO27001 vs SOC 2: Which Compliance is Right for Me?

HIPAA. NIST. ISO. FedRAMP. FISMA. SOC 2. These are just a few of the acronyms for compliance frameworks that your customers may be asking you about. The big question your organization needs to answer is, “Which compliance is right for me?” This blog post will focus on helping you understand some of the popular compliance frameworks, and specifically how they relate to SOC 2.

🎉 Have you heard? StrongDM offers a free and completely self-paced online SOC 2 Course.


HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a United States law developed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The main objective of HIPAA is to protect patients’ medical and health information - such as health plan details and doctor visits. However, the protections HIPAA aims to provide will not attest to your organization’s maturity in terms of privacy and security.

This is where SOC (Service Organization Control) comes in. SOC was created by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants), and examines the effectiveness of an organization’s controls as it relates to security, privacy, availability, processing integrity and confidentiality. To better understand how HIPAA and SOC 2 look at risk, consider this example: if your database goes down, HIPAA doesn’t care - as long as the data is secure. SOC 2 cares about the security of the data, but also about the availability of the system hosting the data.

ISO27001 vs SOC 2

The goal of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is to keep information assets secure. ISO focuses heavily on the technical and security components of IT, and these components apply even if you’re not a service provider. Overall, ISO is zeroed in on technical controls, and has less to say about the ethical and legal frameworks by which your employees are bound to deliver your services. SOC 2, on the other hand, is focused on the end-to-end maturity in your service delivery. If you follow ISO, you will need to adhere to a strong password policy, which SOC 2 also cares about. But if you encourage employees to defraud customers, ISO won’t care, but SOC 2 will.

NIST 80053 vs ISO27001

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) is an inventory of technical practices as recognized by US federal agencies. These practices overlap with the technical practices you would implement to achieve ISO27001 certification, but have the additional benefit of being aligned with the requirements of FISMA (Federal Info Security Management Act). Choosing one or the other really depends on whether the practice is more important or the certification is, and whether you plan on doing business with federal or other governmental agencies.

FedRAMP vs SOC 2

FedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program) is an assessment and authorization process that US federal agencies use to determine that sufficient security is in place when accessing cloud-hosted software and services. It is a successor to the guidance from FISMA focused on the modern era of software deployments, where cloud deployments are increasingly the norm. Achieving official authorization as a FedRAMP authorized cloud service provider is a substantial and costly process. To put it in perspective, there are only 124 authorized providers at the time of this blog’s publication. However, if you can get on this list, your company will have high visibility on the FedRAMP marketplace. If you need to grease the compliance skids at a high volume and have the full weight of a very detailed standard, you should add FedRAMP to your roadmap. SOC 2 will be your first step on that path.

Need to complete SOC2 to close a deal? StrongDM speeds up the work to enforce access controls & gather evidence to deliver SOC 2 on a tight timeline. See StrongDM in action in a demo.

The number of compliance acronyms and frameworks can be dizzying. By gaining a better understanding of these frameworks, as well as which one is the best fit for your company, you can increase the maturity of your security controls and assure customers that their security is of utmost importance. And SOC 2 is a great starting point, regardless of which compliance path you choose.

To learn more on how StrongDM helps companies with SOC 2 compliance, make sure to check out our SOC 2 Compliance Use Case.

About the Author

, Security Engineer / Podcaster, is the president of 7 Minute Security, an information security consultancy in the Minneapolis area. Brian spends most of his days helping companies defend their networks.

Since 2004, Brian has also run the blog/podcast called 7 Minute Security, where he shares what he has learned about information security into short, 7-minute chunks.

StrongDM logo
💙 this post?
Then get all that StrongDM goodness, right in your inbox.

You May Also Like

How to Simplify Auditing Access in AWS
How to Simplify Auditing Access in AWS
Want a secure and compliant AWS environment? Then you need to audit access. Keeping tabs on who has accessed what—as well as the whens, wheres, and whys—helps you spot suspicious activities and address them promptly. Without this kind of access control, your sensitive data could be exposed to malicious actors, putting you at risk of data breaches and subsequent regulatory nightmares or service interruptions.
How to View SSH Logs?
How to View SSH Logs?
Two of the most important questions in security are: who accessed what, and when did they access it? If you have any Linux or Unix machines, you’ll likely find answers in the sshd log. sshd is the Secure Shell Daemon, which allows remote access to the system. In this article, we’ll look at how to view ssh logs.
Data Observability: Comprehensive Guide | strongDM
Data Observability Explained
Data observability can help companies understand, monitor, and manage their data across the full tech stack. In this article, you’ll learn what data observability is, the differences between data observability, monitoring, and data quality, and what information you can track with data observability. By the end of this article, you’ll discover how to implement data observability and find the right data observability tools for your organization.
Understanding the Three Pillars of Observability | strongDM
OK, but what are The Three Pillars of Observability?
In this article, we’ll focus on the three pillars of observability. You’ll learn about the definitions, strengths, and limitations of each pillar. By the end of this article, you’ll know about their individual contributions and typical real-world challenges, tying them together for an overall view of your system.
Monitoring vs. Observability: What's The Difference?
Understanding the Difference Between Observability and Monitoring
Observability and monitoring are often used interchangeably, but there are key differences you should know between these two IT terms and the tools that enable them. In this article, we’ll explore the relationship and differences between observability vs. monitoring. Plus, you’ll learn about what makes observability and monitoring different from telemetry and application performance monitoring (APM).