Top 17 Cybersecurity Frameworks and Standards for Business in 2024

With cyberthreats rising, organizations are turning to advanced AI security solutions to defend their networks and sensitive data.

Spending thousands of dollars on shiny new solutions with all the bells and whistles is one way to strengthen your defenses. Still, unless you know what to protect, what vulnerabilities you have, what regulations you must adhere to, and how to prioritize your security efforts, you may not be getting the most out of your investment.

This is where cybersecurity frameworks and standards come into play.

These frameworks help businesses assess security measures, rectify vulnerabilities, and boost cybersecurity capabilities effectively. Organizations using cybersecurity frameworks such as the Cyber Essentials Plus can reduce their risk of cyber attack by up to 80%.

Developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is one of the most widely recognized. It offers essential industry best practices to mitigate cybersecurity risks and enhance organizational security defenses.

In this article, we explore the top security frameworks for enhancing an organization’s security defenses.

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Key Takeaways

  • Cybersecurity frameworks are crucial for organizations to enhance security, manage risks, and comply with regulations.
  • Cybersecurity and IT security frameworks guide organizations to bolster security. While cybersecurity frameworks focus on best practices and controls, IT security frameworks concentrate on safeguarding IT systems.
  • Implementing cybersecurity frameworks like SOC 2, ISO 27001, and NIST Cybersecurity Framework can significantly reduce the likelihood of data breaches.
  • IT security frameworks, such as NIST, ISO, CIS, and COBIT, provide tailored approaches to protect IT systems and assets.
  • Understanding the difference between cybersecurity standards and frameworks is essential for effective security management.
  • By aligning with cybersecurity standards and frameworks, organizations can elevate their security posture, manage risks, and ensure compliance.

Top Cybersecurity Frameworks to Consider

A cybersecurity framework includes policies, practices, and procedures that help organizations build a strong security foundation to protect assets from cyber threats through risk assessment and management.

It aids in creating a customized security strategy by assessing current practices, identifying gaps, and implementing needed safeguards.

The following frameworks protect large and small businesses and significantly defend critical national infrastructures (CNI).

Cybersecurity Frameworks List

# Framework Industry
1 SOC 2 Service providers such as data centers, SaaS companies, managed service providers, cloud computing providers
2 ISO 27001 Finance, healthcare, IT, government sectors
3 NIST Framework Critical infrastructure sectors like energy, healthcare, finance, transportation
4 HIPAA Healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses
5 PCI DSS Merchants, financial institutions, payment processors
6 GDPR Businesses, government agencies, non-profits
7 HITRUST CSF Healthcare organizations and business associates
8 COBIT Organizations of all sizes and industries
9 NERC-CIP Electric utilities, power generation companies
10 FISMA U.S. federal government agencies and contractors
11 NIST Special Publication 800-53 U.S. federal agencies and organizations
12 NIST Special Publication 800-171 Non-federal organizations handling controlled unclassified information for the U.S. government
13 IAB CCPA Businesses collecting personal information from California residents
14 CIS Controls Organizations of all sizes and sectors
15 UK Telecoms (Security) Act 2021 Telecommunication companies operating in the United Kingdom
16 CISA Telecoms Framework Telecom providers operating in the United States
17 Cyber Essentials Plus UK companies and businesses in various industries

1. SOC 2 – System and Organization Controls

SOC 2 reports on controls at a service organization relevant to data security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

The framework is relevant for service providers such as data centers, SaaS companies, managed service providers, and cloud computing companies.

Use Cases: Ensuring service organizations securely manage data to meet their clients’ security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy needs.

2. ISO 27001

ISO 27001 provides requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system.

It is relevant for any industry that handles sensitive information, including finance, healthcare, IT, and government sectors.

Use Case: Establishing and maintaining an effective information security management system to protect information assets’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

3. NIST Cybersecurity Framework

NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides a computer security guidance policy framework for private sector organizations in the United States.

NIST framework is widely applicable across all industries, particularly critical infrastructure sectors like energy, healthcare, finance, and transportation.

Use Case: Provide organizations with industry standards and best practices to help them assess and improve their ability to prevent, detect, and respond to cyberattacks.

4. HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

HIPAA ensures the healthcare industry’s security and privacy of protected health information (PHI).

This framework is applicable to healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates that handle PHI.

Use Case: Protecting individuals’ health information’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability and ensuring compliance with privacy and security rules.

5. PCI DSS – Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

PCI DSS ensures the secure handling of credit card information to prevent fraud.

It is necessary for merchants, financial institutions, payment processors, and any organization that processes, stores or transmits credit card data.

Use Case: Protecting cardholder data through security controls to prevent data breaches and secure payment card transactions.

6. GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation

GDPR protects individuals’ data and privacy within the European Union.

The framework is applicable to any organization that processes the personal data of EU residents, including businesses, government agencies, and non-profits.

Use Case: Safeguarding individuals’ personal data rights, ensuring transparency in data processing, and imposing strict obligations on data controllers and processors.

7. HITRUST CSF – Health Information Trust Alliance Common Security Framework

HITRUST CSF is a certifiable framework that provides organizations with a comprehensive approach to regulatory compliance and risk management.

It is relevant for healthcare organizations and their business associates seeking to streamline compliance with multiple regulations.

Use Case: Harmonizing various security and privacy requirements to protect sensitive healthcare information and manage associated risks effectively.

8. COBIT – Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies

COBIT is a framework for the governance and management of enterprise IT.

Organizations of all sizes and industries looking to align IT activities with business objectives use the framework to enhance their defenses.

Use Case: Providing a governance and management framework to ensure efficient IT processes, risk management, and regulation compliance.

9. NERC-CIP – North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection

NERC-CIP ensures the security of the North American power grid.

It is used by Electric utilities, power generation companies, and other entities operating the electric grid.

Use Case: Protecting critical infrastructure assets, systems, and networks from cyberthreats is essential to maintaining the reliability and security of the power grid.

10. FISMA – Federal Information Security Management Act

FISMA defines cybersecurity guidelines for federal agencies.

It is aimed at the U.S. federal government agencies and contractors handling federal information systems.

Use Case: Establishing a risk-based approach to cybersecurity, implementing security controls, and ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of federal information systems.

11. NIST Special Publication 800-53

NIST SP 800-53 provides a catalog of security and privacy controls for federal information systems and organizations.

This framework is applicable to the U.S. federal agencies and organizations that are subject to federal information security requirements.

Use Case: Offering comprehensive security controls to protect federal information systems and data from various threats and vulnerabilities.

12. NIST Special Publication 800-171

NIST SP 800-171 provides requirements for protecting the confidentiality of сontrolled unclassified information (CUI) in non-federal systems and organizations.

The framework is important for Non-federal organizations that handle CUI for or on behalf of the U.S. government.

Use Case: Safeguard sensitive information shared with or generated by non-federal entities to protect CUI from unauthorized access and disclosure.

13. IAB CCPA – Internet Architecture Board California Consumer Privacy Act

IAB CCPA focuses on the privacy rights of California residents.

The framework is aimed at businesses that collect personal information from California residents, regardless of physical location.

Use Case: Enhancing consumer privacy rights, transparency in data collection practices, and accountability for businesses handling personal information under the California Consumer Privacy Act.

14. CIS Controls – Center for Internet Security Controls

CIS Controls are a set of best practices for cybersecurity to help organizations prioritize and implement essential security measures effectively.

The framework applies to organizations of all sizes and sectors looking to improve their cybersecurity posture.

Use Case: Providing a prioritized set of security controls and safeguards to protect against common cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks.

15. UK Telecoms (Security) Act 2021

The UK Telecoms (Security) Act 2021 aims to strengthen the security and resilience of the UK’s telecommunications networks by establishing a comprehensive framework of specific requirements and obligations for telecoms providers to adhere to.

This framework is designed to protect against potential cyber threats and safeguard the country’s critical infrastructure.

Use Case: The framework requires telecom providers to adhere to specific technical requirements covering network architecture, data protection, supply chain management, access control, and testing.

16. The CISA Telecoms Framework

Telecom providers operating in the United States are subject to the CISA Telecoms Framework, which outlines guidelines for ensuring the security and resilience of telecommunications networks to protect against cyber threats and safeguard critical infrastructure.

Use Case: The framework encompasses five functional areas: identifying, protecting, detecting, responding, and recovering from cybersecurity incidents.

17. Cyber Essentials Plus

Cyber Essentials Plus is a framework that includes a certification for organizations to showcase their commitment to cybersecurity best practices through an independent assessment of security controls.

By following the Cyber Essentials Plus framework and achieving certification, organizations can improve their overall cybersecurity posture and reduce the risk of cyber incidents.

The framework is aimed at UK companies and businesses in various industries seeking to enhance their cybersecurity measures.

Use Case: The main focus is on improving overall cybersecurity posture, reducing the risk of cyber incidents, and instilling trust in customers by demonstrating dedication to protecting sensitive information.

How to Choose the Cybersecurity Framework for Your Business

Key Factors to Consider

Organizations must assess industry-specific threats, compliance mandates, company size, and unique security demands when choosing a cybersecurity framework.

Opting for the appropriate cybersecurity framework is pivotal for safeguarding your organization. Follow these steps to ensure you make a well-informed decision:

  1. Assess Your Organizational Requirements:
    • Understand your organization’s unique needs, risk tolerance, and security goals.
    • Consider company size, industry regulations, and existing security practices.
  2. Evaluate Framework Applicability:
    • Look at various frameworks and assess how well they align with your organization’s context.
    • Consider whether the framework covers the specific areas you need to address.
  3. Scalability and Flexibility:
    • Choose a framework that can grow with your organization.
    • Ensure it is adaptable to changes in technology, business processes, and threat landscapes.
  4. Budget Considerations:
    • Some frameworks may require significant time, resources, and training investment.
    • Evaluate the costs associated with implementing and maintaining the chosen framework.
  5. Seek External Support:
    • Consider seeking guidance from cybersecurity experts or consultants.
    • They can help you navigate the complexities of different frameworks and tailor them to your organization’s needs.

A cybersecurity framework is a fundamental blueprint for organizing and enhancing security measures. It provides a structured set of guidelines, standards, and best practices to address and mitigate security risks proactively.

By aligning your security strategies with a well-chosen framework, you can substantially reduce the chances of security incidents and build a durable security infrastructure for the future.

Merging Cybersecurity Standards and Frameworks

Understanding the difference between cybersecurity standards and frameworks is crucial for organizations looking to enhance their security measures.

While standards provide specific requirements and guidelines for implementing security controls, frameworks offer a more adaptable and comprehensive approach to managing cybersecurity risks effectively.

Widely recognized standards such as ISO/IEC 27001, NIST SP 800-53, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and GDPR establish industry-specific security requirements to ensure compliance and elevate cybersecurity posture.

By merging standards and frameworks, organizations can harmonize their security strategies with regulatory mandates and industry best practices.

This alignment promotes a holistic cybersecurity approach, concentrating on compliance adherence, effective risk management, and achieving security objectives.

Organizations that strategically blend cybersecurity standards and frameworks are better equipped to mitigate risk and safeguard against cyber threats effectively.

The Bottom Line

Choosing a cybersecurity framework tailored to your organization’s needs is vital in strengthening security measures, minimizing risks, and building robust defenses.

Industry-specific threats, regulatory compliance, scalability, and goal alignment require careful consideration. This informed decision-making enhances cybersecurity resilience, showcases proactive risk management, and highlights adherence to industry standards.

Viewing cybersecurity frameworks as customizable tools rather than rigid mandates can empower organizations to navigate the complex cybersecurity landscape with clarity and purpose.

FAQs

What is the most popular cybersecurity framework?

What is NIST CSF 2.0?

What’s the difference between CIS and NIST?

What is the difference between NIST and ISO 27001?

Is OWASP a framework?

What are the key components of a cybersecurity framework?

References

  1. Cyber Essentials Plus (Capitalnetworks.co)
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John Meah
Cybersecurity Expert

John is a skilled freelance writer who combines his writing talent with his cybersecurity expertise. He holds an equivalent level 7 master's degree in cybersecurity and a number of prestigious industry certifications, such as PCIP, CISSP, MCIIS, and CCSK. He has spent over two decades working in IT and information security within the finance and logistics business sectors. This experience has given John a profound understanding of cybersecurity practices, making his tech coverage on Techopedia particularly insightful and valuable. He has honed his writing skills through courses from renowned institutions like the Guardian and Writers Bureau UK.