How to choose the right cybersecurity framework for your organization
It's imperative that organizations choose the right cybersecurity framework. With the dramatic rise in ransomware attacks, all organizations are at risk regardless of size. With everyone a target, organizations must consider what a cybersecurity framework is, as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This can help set the bar for measuring cybersecurity effectiveness.
Step 1: Start by setting goals for your cybersecurity program that align with your overall business needs. Stakeholders from across the organization should be involved in the initial risk assessment process and in selecting a risk tolerance level for what your organization is willing to accept.
Step 2: Identify the type of data your organization is responsible for storing and determine if you're properly protecting the data to the highest degree possible. This is imperative for your customers' benefit.
Step 3: Establish measures to detect, respond, and recover from any type of cybersecurity event. This includes compliance with NIST 800-53 and Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS). Both outline security and privacy controls covering aspects of policy, oversight, manual processes, and automated mechanisms implemented by systems or individuals. These measures apply to both federal and private sectors.
Step 4: Cybersecurity is a business decision. Choosing the right framework will help your organization set up for long-term success. Here are a few examples of important measures:
Policy development – Has your organization created policies sufficient for your business needs and company mission?
Certification readiness – Can your organization demonstrate full compliance with standards like ISO 27001, NIST 800-53, NIST-800-171, FIPS140-2, HIPAA, and CMMC, just to name a few.
If you are a cybersecurity company handling federal information and data contained within information systems, the CMMC (Cyber security Maturity Model Certification) is a prescriptive framework with step-by-step instructions. These are for implementation with the overall objective of increasing security, reducing risk, and furthering security management.
If your organization doesn't have personnel with the skill set to handle CMMC certification requirements, it's highly advisable that you hire or employ a third-party vendor to oversee this aspect of your cybersecurity needs.
These are the critical questions:
How important is it to your company to protect your customers' data?
Have you performed a gap analysis to determine where your inefficiencies are regarding the policies and security standards your company has implemented? This is imperative to protect your organization against advanced cybersecurity threats.
Has your company performed a risk assessment to determine any areas in non-compliance regarding various cybersecurity standards?
Have you identified a baseline set of controls and prioritized their implementation? You must develop an initial roadmap for your security team to protect the company's data.
Have you built a comprehensive security program?
It's imperative to have an action plan for how your company will tackle these situations should the risks arise. It only takes one cybersecurity attack to expose your weakness. Have you provided security awareness training to all individuals within your organization? Have you hired a third-party organization to perform an internal audit of where you stand today in compliance with cyber security standards? Are you comfortable that your organization can defend itself should an independent auditor identify a problem your organization exposes? Can you then defend yourself to that auditor? These are vital and extremely important questions to ask your stakeholders; they must be prepared to handle these variables.
Hackers never take a day off; they're always looking for the weakest link. Sooner or later, your organization's vulnerabilities will be exposed. The over-arching question to address is whether you're prepared for the next cyberattack. If not, what are you willing to do about it? The value you place on your customers' data that you store determines what you'll do to ensure your company is in proper compliance.