Cybersecurity Framework: How It Works and Why It’s Important

IDC's "2021 Ransomware Study" reveals that about 37% of worldwide organizations say they were a victim of a ransomware attack in the year 2021.

When will the cyber threats stop? Well, probably never, which is why your company needs to always be one step ahead of the criminals.

A proper cybersecurity framework, along with a good cybersecurity plan, is a great place to start with taking proactive measures to reduce your company's chances of falling prey to a cyber-attack. Data breaches are scary, so you need an excellent defense system.

Are you ready to defend your network? Then you want to know more about what a cybersecurity framework is and why it's important. Here are the details.

What is a Cybersecurity Framework?

Put simply, it is a blueprint that IT departments will use to enrich security.

A cybersecurity framework is a set of pre-defined procedures and policies coming from leading cybersecurity organizations. They enhance the cybersecurity strategies that an enterprise environment has. Experts document it practically, with implementation procedures and theoretical knowledge.

Sometimes, the frameworks are for a particular industry. They build them to decrease misconfiguration and unknown vulnerabilities that exist in a network in an enterprise organization.

Why Cybersecurity Frameworks are Important

Recent statistics reveal that 6.4 billion fake emails are sent daily across the globe. In the past year, 76% of global organizations experienced a phishing attack. Further, 75% of businesses say they have incurred a material disruption to their business processes because of a data breach.

Cybersecurity frameworks provide a solution for how your business can upgrade its existing security protocols. Also, it will bring in new layers of security in case there is not one existing already. They help businesses to better understand their security standards, where they are at, and what they should be.

It is a way for IT departments to identify where they can make improvements. Companies can rely on these frameworks because they are not only well-designed but also tested in various situations.

Any cybersecurity network works based upon five key processes, which are as follows.

1. Identify

With the first process, an IT department can identify current cyber touch points that are inside a business environment. This includes resources, information, and IT assets.

2. Protect

Next, this process handles data security, corporate access control, and maintenance. It takes care of cybersecurity within and around the enterprise environment. Typically, this is a proactive phase.

3. Detect

This is where a company can identify potential data breaches. It will monitor the logs. Plus, it will take care of intrusion protection procedures at both the device and network levels.

4. Respond

If it detects a data breach, IT must handle the response procedure. This includes understanding what the breach is, fixing a vulnerability, and moving forward with the recovery. At this stage, response planning, mitigation, and improvements go into play.

5. Recover

As a part of the cybersecurity plan, you need recovery planning procedures, just like a backup plan and disaster recovery system. The cybersecurity framework strategy takes care of this.

Statistics suggest cybercriminals could penetrate 93% of company networks. With these five processes, companies have the upper hand compared to a hacker. Cybersecurity frameworks have a key role in sustaining a future without data breaches.

Cybersecurity Framework Types

You can split them into the following three categories.

1. Control Frameworks

The first category helps to develop a critical strategy for the IT and security team, providing a baseline control set. It will evaluate the current technical state and prioritize control implementation.

2. Program Frameworks

This category assesses the security program's state, building a comprehensive security program. It can measure the program's security and make a competitive analysis. Further, it simplifies communication for business leaders with their security team.

3. Risk Frameworks

Finally, this category will define key steps in the process to manage and assess risk. It will structure a program specifically for risk management. This includes identifying, measuring, and quantifying risk, as well as prioritizing risks.

Popular Frameworks

There are many cybersecurity frameworks out there. These specifically dominate today's market.

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework

Otherwise called by its longer name of "NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity," you would use this framework for what the name suggests. They intend to protect crucial infrastructure. This could be a system for a dam or a power plant, for instance, protecting them from cyber threats.

Meanwhile, the principles of this framework can apply to any business wanting better security, as it is one of the multiple NIST standards covering cybersecurity. It is broad and complex in scope.

There is a basic document that details the framework, and it is 41 pages long. Implementing it can mean hundreds of pages of documentation, however, including procedures, controls, etc. It also needs thousands of human hours for implementation.

That does not mean that it is complicated. In fact, it is quite the contrary, and easy to understand.

It follows the five basic patterns that are previously covered (identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover). This framework gives a mechanism that is organized for identifying assets and risks requiring protection.

CIS Framework

In the late 2000s, a volunteer-expert coalition set out to create a framework now known as the CIS framework, protecting organizations from cybersecurity threats. It comprises twenty controls.

Experts from all fields will regularly update them (academia, government, etc.). This means that it is always modern. If there is a cybersecurity threat, this framework is on top of it.

For a company looking to make small steps in their cybersecurity framework and not ready for full throttle, CIS works well. That is because the process for CIS has three groups:

  1. Basics
  2. Foundational
  3. Organizational

If you are looking for a framework that can work with additional frameworks, like the NIST, then CIS is also for your organization. Plus, CIS works with benchmarks for commonly used standards. It maps out security standards so that it can help businesses with compliance and offer basic configurations for security, in case your company does not need to be concerned about compliance.

Benchmarks have two levels.

  1. Recommendations for necessary security configurations that do not affect services in performance.

  2. More advanced benchmark levels offer a higher level of recommendations for security configuration.

The second level has a dramatic performance cost.

ISO 27001/27002

This is a standard of cybersecurity that is internationally recognized, also referred to as ISO 27K. It assumes that a company will possess an ISMS, or Information Security Management System.

IT departments must systematically manage information security risks as this framework requires. They will need to consider vulnerabilities and cyber threats.

When adopting the ISO 27K framework, a requirement is that the business will implement and design InfoSec (or information security) comprehensive controls. The controls have a goal of mitigating identified risks.

This framework has a suggestion when adopting it. They highly recommended that the company also adopt a process for ongoing risk management.

Benefits of Cybersecurity Framework

An enormous benefit is the amount of time that is saved. It provides you logical structure, enabling IT departments to take immediate action. It is much easier to map your journey and identify gaps.

Having clear, practical items makes the job of preventing cyber threats tremendously easier.

Universally Acceptable

Typically, the content in a framework is universal, so no matter your industry, you can benefit. For instance, if the framework takes specific actions for sensitive data, this can help many industries like banking and medical.

Learn From Others

The community that contributes to the framework can help you with their experiences and collective guidance. A framework is something that is developed through multiple people in a partnership. They have various backgrounds, from different industries and roles globally.

Such experts discuss, contribute, debate, and then agree on what they will publish in the first version of the framework, and future versions too. You are gaining protection from a group of experts, so that is something to celebrate!

Consistency

When there is no framework, this leaves security needs across the organization open to interpretation. If various team members have varying interpretations of requirements, this can cause errors, even gaps, in the execution. You can create security measures built on your own, potentially with miscommunication and lack of knowledge, unfortunately.

Common Language

If members of your staff are not well versed in security, the language gets confusing. A cybersecurity framework is an excellent tool for explaining security in common terms.

A Partner in Your Success

At NETdepot, we desire long-term partnerships with our clients. This is why we carefully discuss your needs and provide solutions that work for your business. It is our job to ensure that your IT environment is easier to manage by automating tasks, quickly remediating cyber threats, reducing downtime, and consolidating tools.

If you have been researching the right cybersecurity framework, we can help you determine what would work best for your needs. Let's talk and find the right solution for your unique business. Contact us today.

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