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Top Five Cybersecurity Frameworks

June 22, 2021
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A cybersecurity framework should be a critical element of any company’s IT security strategy, particularly organizations in finance and technology. These well-structured and detailed platforms provide all the necessary guidance required for an organization to meet its regulatory and compliance needs, both locally and internationally. In a world where hacks and data breaches are becoming an almost daily occurrence, the importance of these frameworks cannot be overstated.

Cybersecurity frameworks offer a range of best practices, policy processes, security protocols and other necessary tools to secure an organization’s business operations. However, depending on the industry, frameworks provide different types of information and security, so it's important to ensure the correct one is implemented. In some cases, a business may even need to select more than one cybersecurity framework to cover all its needs.

Learn about some of the leading frameworks in use today, and start building the cybersecurity skills necessary to implement them in your organization.

The Five Best Cybersecurity Frameworks Today

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

Developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), this cybersecurity framework was released in 2014 to meet the needs of an executive order calling for enhanced security infrastructure. NIST worked in conjunction with the private sector to build existing standards and industry best practices into a cybersecurity framework.1

The NIST cybersecurity framework highlights five main functions pertaining to high-quality data security. These are: identify, protect, detect, respond and recover. The identify function covers how a business assesses risk, the detect function outlines threat detection and protect defines security controls. The response and recovery functions provide mitigation procedures and guidelines for dealing with the aftermath of an attack.2

The NIST cybersecurity framework is highly flexible and can be integrated into existing security procedures, suiting the needs of medium to large organizations across a broad range of industries, particularly the government, energy and transportation sectors.

ISO/IEC 27001

Since 1947, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has led the charge in developing comprehensive policies and frameworks for industrial and commercial applications. ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 are two of the most widely recognized cybersecurity frameworks available, covering 114 controls across 14 different categories.

These include a range of policies for IT security about human resources, staff responsibilities and information controls. ISO 27002 expands these policies into the management of information security systems, IT asset inventory and user access controls.

The ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 frameworks cover a broad generalized range of security procedures, making them suitable for almost any kind of company or industry. However, companies with specialized needs may need to adopt additional cybersecurity frameworks to operate in conjunction with the ISO frameworks.3

CIS Controls v8

The Center for Information Security (CIS) developed the CIS framework series to meet the demand for tiered cybersecurity solutions. CIS version 8 provides three implementations of its framework, covering businesses with almost no security experience, businesses with moderate experience and businesses that already have advanced cybersecurity resources in place.4

This is particularly important for smaller organizations that have a limited IT security budget and only need the resources specific to their needs. CIS v8 consists of 18 controls with 153 safeguards, prioritized into three implementation groups. This makes the CIS Controls framework popular amongst smaller businesses, schools, hospitals and nonprofits.5


The SOC 2 framework was developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to ensure personal customer information can be collected and stored safely by service organizations. In addition to its cloud security solutions and third-party policies, it also provides guidelines for software as a service (SaaS) companies to help reduce the risks of a data breach.6

The framework, now in its second version, details 61 compliance procedures. They cover everything from internal communications and the proper disposal of sensitive information to security monitoring and breach response tactics. All organizations working in the service industry should implement the AICPA's SOC 2 framework to ensure they meet regulatory compliance.7


The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) was developed by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD(A&S)) in partnership with several government organizations to create a standardized cybersecurity model for the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). The certification lists five 'maturity levels' that define how an organization should process and store Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) data.8

Levels 1 and 2 cover basic and intermediate cyber hygiene, level 3 looks at CUI protections, level 4 examines the reduction of advanced persistent threats (APT) and level 5 establishes advanced practices. Any organization that works with the Department of Defense (DoD) is required to implement the CMMC protocols. Each level requires an increasing number of practices to be implemented, from only 17 on Maturity Level 1 to 173 on Maturity Level 5.9

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