Leverage published cybersecurity frameworks to build or boost your digital risk protections and controls.
Whether you are building a cybersecurity program from scratch or looking for ways to optimize existing operations and internal controls, referencing an established cybersecurity framework is a good place to start.
The size and scope of your business operations designate your regulatory obligations. Privacy regulations, for instance, regulate how you process certain types of data, specifically personal or consumer data. But, regardless of the scope of your general compliance requirements, every business has a digital component and should be prepared to protect your business data, your most valuable asset.
Leading Digital Risk Frameworks
There are various standards and frameworks to choose from published by reputable organizations. Two of the leading global publishers include The International Organization for Standardized (ISO) / International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST. ISO offers several leading standards across security and business best practices with a comprehensive catalog of controls to reference. The ISO standards span across security for both digital and physical protection for your IT and general risk management program. While NIST, specifically NIST CSF, offers a straightforward and practical approach to following a cybersecurity program .
There are several additional cybersecurity frameworks with more specialized perspectives such as,
- CSA CAIQ, Cloud Security Alliance’s Consensus Assessments Initiative Questionnaire
- ITIL: Information Technology Infrastructure Library
But for this article, we will focus on ISO and NIST as most businesses leverage these models to build and establish best practices in their Information Security Management System (ISMS).
ISO has been a leader in the cybersecurity space, as they provide one of the most robust control libraries available. ISO outlines a framework to align your IT, audit and compliance departments to combat traditional, digital as well as emerging risk.
NIST is one of the most widely adopted frameworks based on its contents and format. Because NIST is written in a plain, non-technical language, stakeholders at any level within an organization (and at various points in a supply chain) can easily understand their organization’s cybersecurity risks. Regardless of program maturity, organizations can adapt NIST practices across their policies and procedures to help protect their organizations from digital risk.
Both of these standards can be licensed directly from their publishers or accessed out-of-the-box from the software providers sponsoring the content as a part of their license agreement. Relying on a single cybersecurity framework may make sense for the scope of your business. As your business grows, and your compliance requirements expand, you may want to validate your risk management initiatives against a few different control frameworks. Most organizations include ISO, NIST as foundational requirements when taking this approach as many niche frameworks mirror their practices as well. From there, your business may layer on other published frameworks or potential custom controls unique to your operations.
Having a system to map controls across cybersecurity frameworks, laws, and regulations can help you optimize your control management program. So that you can, in effect, measure practices, and procedures in place with a single instance and then measure against several compliance standards to evaluate your program performance and compliance standing.