Here at Framework Security Research we constantly review the latest changes to the cybersecurity framework and standards landscape. One reason we chose our name is simply because we are “framework” nerds and know they hold incredible value in improving your cybersecurity program.
Rather than receive a handful of opinions from a few security consultants we strongly believe that every organization should leverage standard cybersecurity framework. These frameworks have been developed by thousands of cybersecurity experts to ensure a cohesive strategy to build a program to protect any business.
What are IT security standards and regulations?
Standards are like a recipe; they list out steps that must be performed. A well-managed IT organization must comply with requirements set forth in a standard.
Regulations, in contrast, have a legal binding impact. The way they describe how something should be performed indicates government and public support for the rules and processes set forth in the regulation. Failure to comply with IT-focused regulations can result in financial penalties and litigation.
What is a cybersecurity framework?
An cybersecurity framework is a series of documented processes that define policies and procedures around the implementation and ongoing management of information security controls. These frameworks are a blueprint for managing risk and reducing vulnerabilities.
Information security professionals use frameworks to define and prioritize the tasks required to manage enterprise security. Frameworks are also used to help prepare for compliance and other IT audits. Therefore, the framework must support specific requirements defined in the standard or regulation.
Organizations can customize frameworks to solve specific information security problems, such as industry-specific requirements or different regulatory compliance goals. Frameworks also come in varying degrees of complexity and scale. Today's frameworks often overlap, so it's important to select a framework that effectively supports operational, compliance and audit requirements.
Why are frameworks important?
In today's digital world, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Businesses of all sizes must take steps to protect their data from cyber threats. One way to do this is to implement a cybersecurity framework. A cybersecurity framework is a set of guidelines and best practices for managing cybersecurity risks. It can help organizations identify and assess risks, develop and implement controls, and measure their performance. By following a cybersecurity framework, businesses can benefit from improved security, reduced costs, and enhanced customer confidence. In addition, the use of a framework can help businesses meet regulatory requirements and improve their chances of passing audits. As a result, implementing a cybersecurity framework should be a top priority for any organization that wants to protect its data and ensure its long-term success.
Security requirements often overlap, which results in "crosswalks" or a mapping exercise that can be used to demonstrate compliance with different regulatory standards.
Using a common framework, such as ISO 27002, an organization can establish crosswalks to demonstrate compliance with multiple regulations, including HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI DSS and Graham-Leach-Bliley.
How to choose an IT security framework
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to choose an IT security framework. The best approach for your organization will depend on a number of factors, including your industry, business size, and risk tolerance. However, there are a few general considerations that can help you narrow down your options. First, think about what benefits you hope to gain from implementing a security framework. Do you want to improve your compliance posture? Strengthen your incident response capabilities? Reduce costs? Once you have a clear idea of your objectives, you can start evaluating different frameworks to see which ones are best suited to meeting your needs. Another important consideration is whether the framework is flexible enough to accommodate future changes in your business environment. After all, an inflexible security framework is of little use if it can't keep up with the evolving threats you face. With these factors in mind, you should be able to narrow down your options and choose an IT security framework that will help you minimize risk and protect your business.
The type of industry or compliance requirements could be deciding factors. Publicly traded companies, for example, may wish to use COBIT to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley, while the healthcare sector may consider HITRUST. The ISO 27000 Series of information security frameworks, on the other hand, is applicable in public and private sectors.
While ISO standards are often time-consuming to implement, they are helpful when an organization needs to demonstrate its information security capabilities via ISO 27000 certification. While NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-53 is the standard required by U.S. federal agencies, it can be used by any organization to build a technology-specific information security plan.
These frameworks help security professionals organize and manage an information security program. The only bad choice among these frameworks is not choosing any of them.
Examples of IT security standards:
1. ISO/IEC 27001
ISO/IEC 27001 is the international standard that specifies the requirements for an information security management system (ISMS). An ISMS is a framework of policies and processes that helps organizations to keep their confidential information secure. ISO/IEC 27001 was first published in 2013, and it is based on the previous standard, ISO/IEC 17799. The standard is designed to be adaptable to any organization, regardless of size or sector. It can be used by businesses of all types, including manufacturers, retailers, banks, and government agencies. To be certified to ISO/IEC 27001, organizations must undergo an audit by an accredited certification body. Once certified, they are required to maintain their compliance with the standard through regular audits. By implementing ISO/IEC 27001, organizations can benefit from improved security and decreased risk of data breaches. In addition, the certification can help to demonstrate compliance with laws and regulations, as well as providing a competitive advantage.
The benefits of ISO/IEC 27001 certification include improved information security, greater customer confidence, reduced risk of data breaches and greater efficiency. The standard provides a framework for businesses to follow when implementing and maintaining their information security management system (ISMS). The 2013 revision updated the standard to reflect the latest changes in technology and data security. ISO/IEC 27001 certification can help businesses to improve their information security and protect their data from breaches. It can also give customers confidence in the business, as well as reducing the risk of data breaches and making the business more efficient.
Organizations that implement ISO/IEC 27001 can benefit from improved security posture, reduced risk of data breaches, and increased customer confidence. The standard provides a framework for managing information security and can be applied to any type of organization, regardless of size or industry. Implementing ISO/IEC 27001 can help organizations to protect their data and systems from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. The standard can also help organizations to meet their compliance obligations. By implementing the controls and procedures detailed in ISO/IEC 27001, organizations can benefit from an enhanced security posture and a reduced risk of data breaches.
2. NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF)
The National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF) is a set of voluntary guidelines that provides a high-level taxonomy of cybersecurity outcomes and a methodology to assess and manage those outcomes. It is intended to help private sector organizations that provide critical infrastructure with guidance on how to protect it, along with relevant protections for privacy and civil liberties. The NIST CSF has many benefits, including the fact that it is technology agnostic, which means it can be implemented regardless of an organization's technological choices; it is also scalable, so it can be tailored to meet the specific needs of any organization; and, perhaps most importantly, it provides a common language for discussing cybersecurity, which can help to facilitate communication and collaboration between different organizations. Ultimately, the NIST CSF can help to improve the cybersecurity posture of any organization that chooses to implement it. In addition, the NIST CSF can help organizations meet their regulatory obligations and demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity.
The framework was created in response to the growing threat of cyberattacks and provides a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. It includes three main components: identify, protect, and detect. The first step, identify, helps businesses to identify their assets and vulnerabilities. The second step, protect, helps businesses to implement security controls to protect their assets. Finally, the third step, detect, helps businesses to detect and respond to cyber incidents. By following the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, businesses can improve their cybersecurity posture and better defend themselves against attacks.
3. PCI DSS
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is an information security standard for organizations that handle branded credit cards from the major card schemes. The PCI Standard is mandated by the card brands but administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The standard was created to increase controls around cardholder data to reduce credit card fraud.
The PCI Standard is mandated by the card brands but administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The standard was created to increase controls around cardholder data. Implementing the PCI DSS can be a benefit to organizations by decreasing the chance of a data breach, and thus reducing the amount of damages that could be associated with such an incident. In addition, being PCI DSS compliant may also help to improve an organization's reputation. Organizations that handle credit cards are expected to comply with the PCI DSS, and those that do not may face penalties from the card brands. Thus, taking steps to become compliant can help to protect an organization's bottom line.
PCI DSS compliance is beneficial because it helps to ensure that sensitive data is well-protected and can help businesses avoid costly fines and penalties. In addition, PCI DSS compliance can help to build customer trust and confidence in a business, leading to increased sales and repeat business. For these reasons, businesses that handle credit cards should make sure that they are in compliance with the PCI DSS.
COBIT was developed in the mid-1990s by ISACA, an independent organization of IT governance professionals. ISACA offers the well-known Certified Information Systems Auditor and Certified Information Security Manager certifications.
COBIT originally focused on reducing IT risks. COBIT 5, released in 2012, included new technology and business trends to help organizations balance IT and business goals. The current version is COBIT 2019. It's the most used framework to achieve Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. Numerous publications and professional certifications address COBIT requirements.
The COBIT framework provides a common language for organizations to discuss and measure the benefit of IT investments. It also provides a comprehensive approach to address control objectives, supporting processes, and practices. In short, COBIT is a tool that can be used by organizations to improve their governance of IT. As such, it is considered an essential part of any effective IT governance program.
It is designed to help organizations manage their IT resources in a way that aligns with their business objectives. One of the benefits of using COBIT is that it can help organizations to ensure compliance with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA. In addition, COBIT can help organizations to improve their overall performance by providing a clear and concise set of guidelines for managing IT resources.
The framework is also constantly updated to keep up with the latest best practices. In addition, benefit from being an ISACA member is that you have access to a wealth of resources, including templates, white papers and tools. You also benefit from discounts on conferences and training courses. As a result, benefit from COBIT framework can be very valuable for both individuals and organizations.
5. CIS 18
The Center for Internet Security (CIS) Critical Security Controls, Version 8 -- formerly the SANS Top 20 -- lists technical security and operational controls that can be applied to any environment. It does not address risk analysis or risk management like NIST CSF; rather, it is solely focused on reducing risk and increasing resilience for technical infrastructures.
The Center for Internet Security (CIS) Critical Security Controls are a set of best practices for cybersecurity. Version 8 was released in January 2020 and includes updates for handling cloud computing and IoT devices. The controls are designed to help organizations protect their data and systems from cyber attacks.
There are 18 total CIS controls, divided into three categories: basic, foundational, and organizational. The basic controls are the most essential and should be implemented first. The foundational controls build on the basic controls and should be implemented next. The organizational controls are the most comprehensive and should be implemented as resources allow.
The CIS controls can benefit any organization, but they are particularly well-suited for small businesses that may not have the same resources as larger organizations. Implementing the CIS controls can help small businesses protect their data and systems from cyber attacks.
CIS Controls link with existing risk management frameworks to help remediate identified risks. They're useful resources for IT departments lacking technical information security experience.
The controls are designed to be implemented in a phased approach, with each successive phase providing additional protection. The benefits of implementing the CIS Critical Security Controls include improved security posture, reduced risk of data breaches, and compliance with regulatory requirements. In addition, the controls can help organizations to quickly identify and respond to security incidents. As a result, the CIS Critical Security Controls are an essential part of any security program.
6. HITRUST Common Security Framework
The HITRUST Common Security Framework includes risk analysis and risk management frameworks, along with operational requirements. The framework has 14 different control categories and can be applied to almost any organization, including healthcare.
HITRUST is a massive undertaking for any organization due to the heavy weight given to documentation and processes. As a result, many organizations end up scoping smaller areas of focus for HITRUST. The costs of obtaining and maintaining HITRUST certification adds to the level of effort required to adopt this framework. The certification is audited by a third party, which adds a level of validity.
The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) is a widely-adopted security framework that provides organizations with a comprehensive approach to managing risk. The CSF includes both a risk analysis and risk management framework, as well as operational requirements. This makes it an ideal tool for organizations of all sizes who are looking to improve their security posture. One of the benefits of the CSF is that it helps organizations to holistically manage risk. By identifying and assessing risks across all departments and functions, the CSF provides a comprehensive view of an organization's risks. This helps organizations to develop more effective and efficient risk management strategies. Additionally, the CSF's operational requirements provide guidance on how to implement security controls and procedures. This helps organizations to ensure that their security controls are effective and meet industry best practices. Overall, the HITRUST CSF is a valuable tool for any organization looking to improve its security posture.
The CSF also includes operational requirements designed to help organizations reduce their cybersecurity risks. HITRUST's CSF has been recognized by the US Department of Homeland Security as a benefit to the country's cybersecurity posture. The CSF is also being used by healthcare organizations around the world to improve their cybersecurity programs. Implementing the CSF can help organizations in any industry reduce their cybersecurity risks and improve their overall security posture.
In addition, the CSF can help organizations effectively manage cybersecurity risks on an ongoing basis. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, the need for robust cybersecurity solutions will only continue to grow. The HITRUST CSF is a proven and effective way to address these challenges.
7. OWASP Top 10
OWASP is a non-profit organization that regularly publishes the Top 10 security issues of the web application, mobile, web services, etc. Most security auditing organizations follow these Top 10 security issues to categorize security vulnerabilities.
Every few years, OWASP releases an updated list of the Top 10 security risks, which helps security auditing organizations to categorize and prioritize security vulnerabilities. The benefit of using OWASP's Top 10 list is that it provides a common language for discussing and ranking security risks. In addition, it helps to raise awareness of these risks among developers and application owners. As a result, the Top 10 list is an important tool for any organization that wants to improve the security of its web applications.
The OWASP Top 10 is a benefit to society because it helps organizations to keep up with the latest security risks and vulnerabilities. In addition, OWASP also provides guidance on how to remediate these vulnerabilities. As a result, organizations are able to benefit from OWASP's work in terms of both understanding the risks and taking steps to mitigate them.
8. SOC 2
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) developed the SOC 2 framework. The framework’s purpose to enable organizations that collect and store personal customer information in cloud services to maintain proper security.
The framework also provides SaaS companies with guidelines and requirements for mitigating data breach risks and strengthening their cybersecurity postures. Also, the SOC 2 framework details the security requirements to which vendors and third parties must conform. The requirements guide them in conducting both external and internal threat analyses to identify potential cybersecurity threats.
SOC 2 contains 61 compliance requirements, which makes it among the most challenging frameworks to implement. The requirements include guidelines for destroying confidential information, monitoring systems for security anomalies, procedures for responding to security events, internal communication guidelines, among others.
The benefit of the SOC 2 framework is that it enables organizations to maintain proper security of personal customer information in cloud services. The framework provides SaaS companies with guidelines and requirements for mitigating data breach risks and strengthening their cybersecurity postures. As a result, organizations that adopt the SOC 2 framework can benefit from increased security of their customer data.
The framework helps to ensure that companies that use cloud services have proper security measures in place to prevent data breaches. In addition, the AICPA SOC 2 framework can help SaaS companies strengthen their cybersecurity postures. By following the guidelines and requirements set forth in the framework, SaaS companies can help to mitigate the risks of data breaches and protect their customers' information.
FedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program) is a framework designed for government agencies. The framework provides standardized guidelines that can enable federal agencies to evaluate cyber threats and risks to the different infrastructure platforms and cloud-based services and software solutions.
Furthermore, the framework permits the reuse of existing security packages and assessments across various governmental agencies.
The framework is also based on the continuous monitoring of IT infrastructure and cloud products to facilitate a real-time cybersecurity program. More importantly, FedRAMP focuses on shifting from tedious, tethered, and insecure IT to more secure mobile and quick IT. The aim is to ensure federal agencies have access to modern and reliable technologies without compromising their security.
To achieve the desired security levels, FedRAMP collaborates with cloud and cybersecurity experts to maintain other security frameworks. These include NSA, DoD, NIST, GSA, OMB, and other private sector groups.
The main goals of FedRAMP are to accelerate cloud migrations by reusing authorizations and assessments, enhance confidence in cloud security, ensure that federal agencies consistently apply recommended security practices, and increase automation for continuous monitoring.
The benefit of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is that it provides a standardized approach to security assessment and authorization for cloud products and services. This program streamlines the process for agencies seeking to use cloud services by providing a single set of security requirements that are valid across all federal agencies. In addition, the program requires continuous monitoring of cloud service providers, which helps to ensure that security risks are identified and addressed in a timely manner. As a result, FedRAMP provides a more efficient and effective way for agencies to use cloud services while still maintaining strong security standards.
By doing so, it allows government agencies to more easily and accurately compare the security of different cloud service providers. In addition, FedRAMP also provides a forum for industry and government to share best practices for cloud security. As a result, the program can help to ensure that cloud services are used in a secure and efficient manner. This benefit allows for agencies to have more confidence in the security of their cloud products and services, knowing that they have been assessed against a common baseline. In addition, the benefit also allows for greater collaboration between agencies when it comes to sharing security best practices and developing new standards. Ultimately, the benefit of FedRAMP is that it helps to improve the overall security posture of the federal government.
10. Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS)
The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) is a set of regulations that govern the acquisition of goods and services by the United States Department of Defense (DOD). The regulations are promulgated by the DOD and are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations at Title 48, Chapter 1. They implement the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which is the primary regulation governing the acquisition of goods and services by all executive branch agencies. The DFARS provides specific requirements for the acquisition of goods and services by the DOD, including requirements for contracting with small businesses and for the use of commercial items. The DFARS also prescribes methods for acquiring supplies and services that support the national defense.
The DFARS also establishes minimum standards for security, health, and safety. In addition, the DFARS requires contractors to comply with federal law and regulations, including those pertaining to labor and employment law. The DFARS is enforced by the DOD Acquisition Regulations System (DARS). Contractors who fail to comply with the DFARS may be subjected to civil or criminal penalties.
The benefits of DFARS include the fact that it helps improve the security of defense information and systems. It does this by establishing standards for contractors and other entities who access or handle defense information. The DFARS also requires contractors to report any cyber incidents, so that the government can properly investigate and address them. In addition, the DFARS prohibits the use of certain types of software on defense systems, which can help to prevent malware infections. Overall, the DFARS cyber benefits help to improve the security of defense information and systems.
Applying a cybersecurity framework is the next step for your organization. In order to improve your cybersecurity posture, you'll need to take a comprehensive approach that encompasses people, process, and technology. By identifying cyber risks and implementing controls to mitigate them, you can make your organization more resilient to attacks. The benefits of using a cybersecurity framework include improved threat detection and response, reduced exposure to vulnerabilities, and enhanced data protection. As you consider which framework is right for your organization, keep in mind its specific needs and objectives. With the right framework in place, you can build a strong foundation for protecting your data and safeguarding your business.