Managing and implementing a robust cybersecurity program is a very complex process. Cybersecurity frameworks help organizations tackle this challenge with a standardized, process-driven approach. For enterprises, a cybersecurity framework acts as a blueprint for managing all aspects of their cybersecurity program.
Apart from strategy and implementation guidelines, cybersecurity frameworks also include processes and procedures to help audit your defenses. These maturity assessments are crucial in understanding your current level of preparedness in thwarting cyber threats. Maturity assessments provide a comprehensive view of your existing defenses and help understand and remediate any potential weaknesses. In an ever-changing cyber landscape, regular maturity assessment is crucial.
Choosing the correct cybersecurity maturity assessment framework for your organization can be challenging. Generally, these frameworks are of two types. First, there are broad, comprehensive cybersecurity frameworks that can be applied to all organizations. Then, there are the more specialized, focused frameworks mandated by governments or industry bodies. For most organizations, a hybrid approach may be the best approach to meet their organizational needs and also comply with regulations.
The NIST cybersecurity maturity assessment framework is a flexible, comprehensive framework developed by the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
NIST frameworks and maturity models are among the best and most widely used in enterprise cybersecurity, especially in the US. The federal government backing adds an additional layer of assurance to its users. NIST initially developed this framework in conjunction with private players to protect critical industries. But, its scope has since expanded widely.
The framework consists of five core functions - identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover. Due to the inherent flexibility, it's applied in information technology (IT), industrial control systems (ICS), cyber-physical systems (CPS), and even IoT-connected devices.
The ISO series is an internationally recognized maturity assessment standard suitable for organizations of all sizes and types. For organizations that operate in the European Union or internationally, the ISO maturity assessment framework can be an ideal choice to ensure comprehensive risk assessment and reduction. But unlike NIST and COBIT, the ISO frameworks come with a cost to bear.
Apart from cybersecurity maturity assessment, it contains an extensive set of standards to manage privacy, confidentiality and technical aspects.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) developed the ISO framework.
The Control Objectives for Information Related Technology (COBIT) framework was initially developed in 1996 by ISACA for information technology (IT) management and IT governance. The framework has seen several improvements since its inception.
The COBIT maturity assessment framework is a simpler alternative when compared to NIST and ISO. For smaller organizations, the COBIT framework is more accessible and easier to implement. It does also offer better integration of enterprise business goals along with IT goals.
In addition to maturity assessment, it can also help organizations comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
The CIS framework, also known as CIS 20, was developed by the Center for Internet Security. It consists of 20 main guidelines to ensure digital resilience. CIS 20 directly helps organizations improve their cybersecurity by implementing best-practice technical measures. Unlike other frameworks, CIS 20 provides direct, actionable information. Thus, making it a popular choice for many organizations.
The CIS framework also provides a self-assessment tool to help organizations assess and track their implementation of the CIS Controls.
The General Data Protection Regulation is one of the most important regulations that organizations must pay heed to. Compliance with the GDPR is necessary for any organization that handles EU citizens' data. The general ambit of GDPR is to improve privacy by mandating better security and data management systems.
The HIPAA or the Health Portability Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a US regulation designed to regulate data privacy, management and security in the healthcare industry. The HIPAA applies to any organization in the US that stores or uses patient information.
The Payment Card Industry Security Standard council mandates PCI DSS compliance for any organization that handles credit card or debit card transactions. The PCI DSS is needed to minimize threat exposure and protect sensitive financial information in this critical industry.