Next named exclusive Trail Blazer in NEW 2024 Radicati DLP Market Quadrant Report Read the Report
Updated: Oct 25, 2023   |   Alan Brown

Harnessing the Power of Cybersecurity Frameworks

Go back
What are Cybersecurity Frameworks?

Securing an organization against cyberattacks from external threats and malicious insiders can be difficult. IT and security organizations can always benefit from guidance. Fortunately, plenty of help is available in the form of cybersecurity frameworks.

Cybersecurity frameworks are structured guidelines, best practices, and standards designed to help organizations improve their cybersecurity posture and protect their information and assets from cyber threats. Frameworks provide a systematic approach to managing cybersecurity risks and serve as a reference point for organizations to establish, implement, and maintain effective cybersecurity programs. 

As referenced by the National Institute for Science and Technology Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (NIST CSF), a framework “provides a common taxonomy and mechanism for organizations to: 

1)    Describe their current cybersecurity posture; 

2)    Describe their target state for cybersecurity; 

3)    Identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement within the context of a continuous and repeatable process; 

4)    Assess progress toward the target state; 

5)    Communicate among internal and external stakeholders about cybersecurity risk.”

NIST CSF Framework
NIST CSF Framework

Frameworks leverage the collective security expertise of dozens or hundreds of security professionals to analyze risks and recommend controls. Leading frameworks, like those described below, are internationally recognized as standards. This allows organizations to communicate more quickly to their Boards, customers, and partners the security controls they have to protect organizational assets, trade secrets, and regulated data.

What Frameworks Should Teams Consider?

A good cybersecurity framework will help you identify weaknesses in your defenses, controls to mitigate risk, and resources to help plan for responding to threats. Here are a few popular ones:

  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF): The NIST CSF provides a risk-based approach to managing cybersecurity. It consists of five core functions - Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover - which guide organizations in building resilience against cyber threats. The framework helps organizations align their cybersecurity practices with business objectives and risk tolerance. NIST helpfully includes resources for small and midsize businesses.
  • ISO/IEC 27001: ISO/IEC 27001 is an international standard for information security management systems (ISMS) published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). This framework systematically manages sensitive company information and data, ensuring its confidentiality, integrity, and availability. 
  • CIS Critical Security Controls: The Critical Security Controls are a set of cybersecurity best practices developed by the Center for Internet Security (CIS). They provide a prioritized set of actions to protect organizations from the most common and dangerous cyber threats.  The controls focus on foundational security measures that organizations of all sizes can implement to reduce their risk exposure effectively.
  • NIST SP 800-53: NIST Special Publication 800-53, "Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations," provides comprehensive security and privacy controls organizations can use to protect their information systems and sensitive data. The framework offers a risk-based approach, categorizing security controls into 20 families: awareness and training, access control, incident response, and system and information integrity.
Choosing the Right Cybersecurity Framework

There is no single “best” framework. Organizations have different risks, threats, vulnerabilities, and risk tolerances. Teams must also consider internal resources and skill sets. A good approach will consider the following steps:

  1. Identify Your Organization's Needs: Understand your organization's specific security requirements, risk profile, industry, and regulatory obligations. Determine the scope of your cybersecurity program and the assets you need to protect.
  2. Gain agreement on business goals. Security initiatives must support business goals. Attempting to start a program without executive-level sponsorship can doom a project. 
  3. Understand regulatory requirements. Privacy regulations like GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA impose specific requirements for protecting and handling personal data. Organizations should choose a framework that helps them comply with these regulations effectively.
  4. Research Frameworks Carefully: Review the objectives and goals of each framework. Some frameworks might focus on risk management, while others prioritize compliance or specific industry needs. Choose a framework that aligns with your organization's security objectives.
  5. Start with a Pilot Program: If you are unsure about the best fit, consider starting with a pilot program or conducting a trial implementation of the framework before fully committing to it. This can help you gauge its effectiveness and compatibility with your organization's needs.
Your Work Isn’t Done…

Once you have chosen a cybersecurity framework, regularly review its effectiveness and relevance. Frameworks provide general guidelines, but not all aspects may apply to every organization. It is essential to step back and review your goals and priorities at least annually. Be open to tailoring the framework to your organization's needs, risk profile, and business context.

Remember: Compliance ≠ Security

Complying with minimum guidelines does not guarantee security. Relying solely on a framework without proper risk assessments and continuous monitoring may create a false sense of security. Organizations should regularly assess their security posture and adapt their practices as necessary.

Reveal’s DLP and IRM capabilities can bolster your information security program regardless of your chosen framework. Watch a recorded demo of the platform here, or connect with us and get a live demo customized to your cybersecurity needs.


See how Next protects your employees and prevents data loss