Explaining IT Security Frameworks

Protecting critical data online is no doubt important, but when it comes to understanding IT security frameworks, what should you know? Find out here.

Explaining IT Security Frameworks


Security frameworks are in place to ensure that organizations are storing and using sensitive data in a secure way. The data of your clients needs to be protected, and ensuring that you remain within the guidelines of one or more IT security frameworks is part and parcel of running a modern business.


Understanding just what those security frameworks are how they differ is very important. While some are targeted specifically at certain industries and business sectors, others are more holistic in their approach.


While their purposes may differ, they all have the same goal:

effectively protecting the data that you store.

Failing to understand the compliance essentials of security frameworks means that you could be leaving yourself open to vulnerability. That’s why you need to understand the need for the right security frameworks, and identify which one is right for you.


Security Framework Challenges


It can be a complicated role to install and run the right security framework. You will need to have a chief information security officer (CISO) in place, and that person is going to be responsible for:


  • Access management
  • Identity confirmations
  • Data loss prevention
  • Overall online security
  • Governance
  • Ongoing risk assessment
  • Ensuring regulatory compliance


Most businesses will benefit from using a hybrid security framework, and your CISO is going to need to be up to date on the necessities of each single-use framework that you make use of. Your CISO can help you to define your security policies and customize the ways that you control implementation and security management.


Most Common Security Frameworks


Understanding the basics of IT security frameworks will mean that you have a better awareness of the most popular options, and how their construction can be tailored to your needs.


  • NIST SP 800-53 – As a security framework that has been in existence since 1990, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-53 (more commonly referred to as NIST SP 800-53) is used to help US Federal Government compliance with the Federal Information Processing Standard guidelines. This framework is not just used by the government, however, and the private sector have also adopted it on a large scale. NIST SP 800-53 is considered by many to include the majority of essentials for best online practices. As a holistic framework, it is highly adaptable.


  • Cobit – This is the Control Objectives for Information Related Technology, which was created by the ISACA in 1996. It has a firm focus on risk reduction for those organizations trading in the financial sector. This security framework allows for a lot of flexibility, and can even be used to help identify and align technology functions within business processes.


  • ISO 27000 Series – This a diverse security framework with a variety of real-world applications. This framework is focused primarily on the required standards of privacy, best practices, and confidentiality issues. As such it is able to help businesses and organizations to make more thorough risk assessments, as well as highlight methods of improving those already in place. Used across a variety of sectors, this is most commonly seen in the healthcare industry.


  • CISQ – The Consortium for IT Software Quality is very self-explanatory. This framework has been designed to act as a development standard when it comes to the measurement of software size, as well as its structural standards. This security framework was designed explicitly as a result of exploited threats, and is most commonly utilized by businesses that forecast issues with application and software security.


Hybrid Security Frameworks


Organizations hoping to fully optimize their security framework are increasingly opting to make use of hybrid combinations. This allows those organizations to cherry pick from a variety of sources and remain compliant with the necessary industry requirements. This can help to reduce the impact of outdated factors.

There are a variety of real-world examples of hybrid security frameworks, including:


  • The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)
  • The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Service Organization Control (SOC)


Framework Alignment


It’s important that you understand your industry requirements, as well as the best practices for protecting your clients. The fact is there are a number of common factors between the most common security frameworks, making it much easier to align your business needs with the available framework options. Creating a reference map that highlights the key compliance necessities with the best integration options for your organization is the key to a more robust and secure framework.


Selecting the right framework will ensure that your business is protected, as well as your clients and suppliers.


Taking the time to ensure that your organization is able to understand the relevant security assurance objectives of each potential framework is the key to making certain that you integrate the correct option for your business model.


Moving Forward


Due to the fact that each security framework is intended for a different purpose, this changes the options that you have to address your security measures. You can no longer use a one-size-fits-all mentality when it comes to security. As each organization is different, so too will the demands on your security. That’s why it’s so important that you have a good level of awareness in regards to the benefits of information security management. Do your research and make sure that you strike the right balance between the pros and cons of each framework, and create a hybrid framework if required. This will be more important for more complex organizations.


Flexibility is your priority when it comes to establishing your IT security framework of choice. While some sectors will have no choice but to integrate a set framework into their IT security measures, hybrid functionality is becoming the new normal.


Threat landscapes are in a constant state of evolution, and there are new threats to be aware of every day.


Make sure that you have a comprehensive security strategy in place at all times, and refocus your online protection for maximum protection. Having the right IT security framework in place may not be an all-powerful tool that will prevent exposure to online attacks, but it can help to minimize exposure time or limit the potential fallout of such attacks.