Why Creating A Cybersecurity Framework Is Essential

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With good reason, cybercrime is arguably the biggest threat businesses face today. The frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks seem to be increasing by the day. It is expected that damages resulting from cybercrime will rise to $ 6 trillion annually by 2021.

Other than the financial implications, data breaches can ruin a brand’s reputation and expose sensitive strategic information. As such threats increase and evolve, institutions must take a proactive approach to cybersecurity matters. This involves bolstering IT security departments, adopting proper cybersecurity practices, and using a cybersecurity framework.


What Is A Cybersecurity Framework?

A cybersecurity framework is a set of policies and procedures to guide, assess, and manage all the elements required to achieve data security in an organization. Leading cybersecurity institutions develop such frameworks. They are often designed to address enterprise network vulnerabilities and misconfigurations within specific industries.

In simple terms, a cybersecurity framework the road map upon which your enterprise will implement effective cybersecurity protocols.

Why Are Cybersecurity Frameworks Important For Institutions?

There are a lot of elements that come into play when it comes to cybersecurity. A cybersecurity framework provides a baseline for standards and best practices to help institutions manage risk. With it in place, you will gain repeatable yet flexible processes for securing data and your organization. More importantly, cybersecurity frameworks allow organizations to implement cybersecurity procedures cost-effectively.

Even if you have existing cybersecurity protocols, a CSF will add new layers and help you gauge the state of your security and improve it.

Organizations within the same sector may have varying security needs. To address such concerns, CSFs are designed for different scenarios and extensively tested to guarantee reliable support. Five main processes guide cybersecurity frameworks: identity, protect, detect, respond, and recover.

  • Identify: This process involves identifying and assessing the security protocols already in place within an institution. These can range from information, IT assets, and resources, among others.
  • Protect:  This is the proactive stage of cybersecurity. It involves setting up corporate access control and conducting implementing cybersecurity protocols within the business environment.
  • Detect: During this phase, logs are assessed to determine if there has been a security breach. Intrusion detection protocols for the network and devices are also set up.
  • Respond: Any attempted or successful breaches need to be resolved with haste. Such responses involve understanding the breach and addressing vulnerabilities.
  • Recover:  After the breaches have been stopped, and vulnerabilities are resolved, there may be lost data or compromised systems. At this stage, systems will be restored, and data recovered from back up plans.

Popular Cybersecurity Frameworks

Even after realizing the benefits of a cybersecurity framework, it can be challenging to determine which one best suits your business. This is especially so for large companies. Some of the Cybersecurity frameworks that you can use include:

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a federal agency within the Department of Commerce. Some of their members, along with private industry experts, collaborated to develop the NIST CSF. This framework was developed after former US President Barrack Obama signed an executive order in 2014 due to the need for an established framework for guiding cybersecurity measures.

NIST CSF outlines steps that private institutions should use to identify, detect, and respond to cyberthreats. By following the five key processes of a cybersecurity framework, NIST CSF is a suitable framework for almost all organizations.

Adopting the NIST framework has been mandatory for federal institutions since 2017, highlighting how reliable it is. Though private institutions are not required to implement it, thousands of companies in 30 countries have adopted NIST CSF.

NIST CSF has plenty of resources available for users and has varying iterations suitable for organizations with different needs. For instance, with the NIST SP 800-53, you will be able to prioritize risks ranging from low to high impact. On the other hand, with NIST SP 800-30, you will identify vulnerabilities within your system.

It is such variations that make it a suitable option for companies with little cybersecurity experience.

ISO 27001/27002 Cybersecurity Framework

Also known as the ISO 27K, the ISO 27001/27002 is a cybersecurity framework recognized across the world. It was developed by the International Organization for Standardization along with the International Electrotechnical Commission.

Its purpose is to help organizations cybersecurity into their risk-management protocols. Just like NIST, it offers multiple variations to help organizations address varying needs. When implementing the ISO 27001, you will be required to set up and implement clear and comprehensive information security (infosec) controls to control risks.

The Role Of Cybersecurity Frameworks In The Future

Cybersecurity is not an event but a process. Cyberthreats are continuously evolving, all while new ones emerge. Even after implementing robust procedures and protocols, organizations need to watch out for new threats. A cybersecurity framework will help you prepare for unforeseen cyber threats that would otherwise have a devastating impact.