Is there really a difference between rules, standards and models, and does it matter to IT governance? From 28-30 September I attended the ISACA Information Security and Risk Management Conference in Las Vegas. I shared my ideas on integration of the IT governance, risk, security and compliance functions. More importantly for this article, I had the time to attend presentations from other experts in the field. This gave me a number of new insights; “good stuff” for future articles. One of the presentations was titled “Harmonization of Standards” by Todd Fitzgerald. Todd is a well known figure in ISACA circles and I attended his presentation with serious expectations. As in the past, I was not disappointed. During his presentation Todd made one remark that stuck with me. He basically said that there is a lot of discussion about the difference between rules, regulations, standards and models and that in his opinion the difference was academic and of no particular interest in real life. I have seen a similar attitude with tool vendors. It is not uncommon to read claims like “tool X describes CobiT, ITIL, ISO 27000, SOX, PCI, etc.” or something to that effect. Basically I think that treating rules, standards, and models as more of the same is wrong and here comes the reason why. But first, to Todd: if I misunderstood your comment - my apologies.