Compliance frameworks
Is all compliance regulatory compliance?

Is all compliance regulatory compliance?

The short answer is no. Regulatory compliance signifies a set of requirements a business is obligated to follow depending on local, state, federal, or international laws. But not all compliance standards are mandated by law. 

To save your business time and money, it’s important to know which compliance regulations are legal requirements and which ones are not. Below, we’ll explain some of the most common compliance standards so you can find out which ones are worth your attention. You’ll also find helpful guides and resources about each compliance framework along the way. 


SOC 2 is likely the most common, sought-after compliance standard for internet businesses located in the US, yet it doesn’t fall under regulatory compliance. A SOC 2 report is often the primary document that’s used to assess a company’s security risk. 

Although SOC 2 isn’t legally mandated, it’s nearly essential to the growth of your business. It assures customers, vendors, and partners that you have a strong security framework in place. 

Vanta's SOC 2 certification guide

Vanta's SOC 2 checklist

ISO 27001

ISO 27001 is known as the international gold standard for information security management. ISO provides guidelines for companies so they can mitigate security risks by responsibly managing their people, processes, and technology.

Like SOC 2, the ISO 27001 framework does not fall under regulatory compliance, but obtaining an ISO certification proves your company’s security posture to global customers and partners.  

Vanta’s ISO 27001 certification guide
Vanta's ISO 27001 checklist


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the cornerstone of the European Union’s digital privacy legislation. GDPR requirements govern the collection, processing, consent, and distribution of personal information to ensure that EU citizens have more control over their own data.

Since GDPR falls under regulatory compliance, any company that wants to conduct business with EU citizens must adhere to this framework’s policies. Even if EU-based users are on your website, and you’re collecting or processing their data, you’re required by law to comply with GDPR requirements.

8 facts about GDPR compliance you need to know
Vanta's GDPR compliance checklist


The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a regulatory compliance framework that applies to any entity that collects or processes protected health information (PHI). 

HIPAA ensures that companies ethically follow guidelines when it comes to keeping this highly sensitive data secure. Even if a company isn’t necessarily in the healthcare industry, the handling of protected health information requires an obligation to HIPAA.

Vanta’s HIPAA compliance guide
Vanta’s HIPAA checklist


The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard  (PCI DSS) is a required compliance framework for any business that accepts, processes, stores, transmits, or impacts the security of cardholder data. PCI DSS was created by major credit card entities in an effort to protect companies and their customers from data breaches, hacks, and other threats. 

PCI is unique because it is not federally regulated, although some states have included it in their laws. PCI is more of a business agreement or contract. If you process credit card data and experience a breach without a PCI certification, you could be fined by your bank or payment processor. 

PCI compliance in three steps
Vanta’s PCI DSS compliance checklist


The California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) is a state law that grants residents the right to know about, delete, and opt-out of the processing and sale of their personal data. This regulatory framework applies to any business, regardless of location, that collects, uses, or sells the personal information of California residents. 

CCPA was inspired by the European Union’s GDPR framework which protects EU citizens’ personal data. By achieving CCPA compliance, companies can sell into the largest US market without interruption or penalty. 

Vanta’s CCPA compliance guide
CCPA vs. GDPR: What are the differences and similarities?

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PCI Compliance Selection Guide

Determine Your PCI Compliance Level

If your organization processes, stores, or transmits cardholder data, you must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a global mandate created by major credit card companies. Compliance is mandatory for any business that accepts credit card payments.

When establishing strategies for implementing and maintaining PCI compliance, your organization needs to understand what constitutes a Merchant or Service Provider, and whether a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) or Report on Compliance (ROC) is most applicable to your business.

Answer a few short questions and we’ll help identify your compliance level.


Does your business offer services to customers who are interested in your level of PCI compliance?


Identify your PCI SAQ or ROC level

The PCI Security Standards Council has established the below criteria for Merchant and Service Provider validation. Use these descriptions to help determine the SAQ or ROC that best applies to your organization.

Good news! Vanta supports all of the following compliance levels:


A SAQ A is required for Merchants that do not require the physical presence of a credit card (like an eCommerce, mail, or telephone purchase). This means that the Merchant’s business has fully outsourced all cardholder data processing to PCI DSS compliant third party Service Providers, with no electronic storage, processing, or transmission of any cardholder data on the Merchant’s system or premises.

Get PCI DSS certified


A SAQ A-EP is similar to a SAQ A, but is a requirement for Merchants that don't receive cardholder data, but control how cardholder data is redirected to a PCI DSS validated third-party payment processor.

Learn more about eCommerce PCI

for service providers

A SAQ D includes over 200 requirements and covers the entirety of PCI DSS compliance. If you are a Service Provider, a SAQ D is the only SAQ you’re eligible to complete.

Use our PCI checklist

Level 1 for service providers

A Report on Compliance (ROC) is an annual assessment that determines your organization’s ability to protect cardholder data. If you’re a Merchant that processes over six million transactions annually or a Service Provider that processes more than 300,000 transactions annually, your organization is responsible for both a ROC and an Attestation of Compliance (AOC).

Automate your ROC and AOC

Download this checklist for easy reference


Learn more about how Vanta can help. You can also find information on PCI compliance levels at the PCI Security Standards Council website or by contacting your payment processing partner.

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