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Like the framework of a house, cybersecurity frameworks help provide structure for building an organization’s cybersecurity program. They consist of a sets of guidelines that provide organizations with a systematic approach to managing and improving their cybersecurity posture. These frameworks offer a structured way to implement cybersecurity controls, policies, and practices, to reduce risk within an organization. They offer a comprehensive set of best practices and guidelines that help organizations ensure there is a strategy in place to protect their digital assets and information.

Frameworks are made up of cybersecurity controls, also known as a security control or information security control. Controls are specific measure or safeguard that can be put in place to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of digital assets, systems, and data. They are designed to mitigate vulnerabilities, reduce the likelihood of successful attacks, and minimize the impact of potential breaches. Controls cover three main areas:

  1. Technical Controls: Technical controls involve using technology to implement security measures. Encryption, access controls, authentication mechanisms, and network segmentation are examples of technical controls.
  2. Administrative Controls: Administrative controls are policies, procedures, and guidelines that govern how an organization manages and enforces security. Security awareness training, risk assessments, and security policies are part of administrative controls.
  3. Physical Controls: Physical controls involve physical security measures to protect hardware, devices, and facilities. These may include surveillance systems, locks, biometric access controls, and secure facilities.

Several cybersecurity frameworks and their controls are widely recognized and used by organizations to enhance their security efforts. Some of the prominent frameworks include:

  1. NIST Frameworks: Developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), they have multiple frameworks that provide a risk-based approach to managing cybersecurity and include the:
  2. NIST Cybersecurity Framework: focuses on five core functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.
  3. NIST 800-53: focuses on providing guidelines and recommendations for establishing security and privacy controls for information systems and organizations.
  4. NIST 800-171: focuses on protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) in nonfederal systems and organizations.
  1. ISO/IEC 27001: This is an internationally recognized standard for information security management systems (ISMS). It provides a systematic approach to managing information security risks, including cybersecurity risks. It covers areas such as risk assessment, security controls, documentation, and continuous improvement.
  2. CIS Controls: Developed by the Center for Internet Security (CIS), these controls offer a prioritized set of actions to improve an organization’s cybersecurity posture. They are organized into three implementation groups based on an organization’s size and capabilities, making them suitable for a wide range of organizations.
  3. MITRE ATT&CK Framework: This framework focuses on providing information about the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that attackers use during various stages of a cyberattack. It helps organizations understand and defend against specific threat actors and attack methods.
  4. HITRUST (Health Information Trust) Common Security Framework: A certifiable framework to help healthcare organizations and their providers demonstrate their security and compliance in a consistent and streamlined manner. It provides organizations with a comprehensive, flexible, and efficient approach to regulatory compliance and risk management, while incorporating healthcare-specific security, privacy, and other regulatory requirements.

These frameworks provide structured approaches to addressing cybersecurity challenges and aligning security efforts with business goals. While some organizations may have to implement a specific framework to meet laws, directives, or regulations, others can often tailor these frameworks to their specific industry, size, and risk profile to create a robust cybersecurity strategy. They’re also a good tool to use to assess, evaluate, and identifying potential vulnerabilities and threats to make informed decisions about managing and mitigating those risks.

The CatchMark Technologies Cybersecurity Team specializes in implementing cybersecurity programs that align with the above frameworks. We work with organizations to gain a good understanding of their environment, provide assessments, and assist with recommending and selecting a framework to help meet their needs. If you are interested in implementing a program to protect against the cybersecurity threats we face today, contact us and we can provide more details.