In terms of which framework is better, the answer depends on your business model and industry. For example, if you’re a contractor for critical infrastructure then CSF will help you align your cybersecurity program in a way that makes sure you are speaking the same language as the government. It’s easy for government agencies to understand what you’re doing with your cybersecurity program since it relates back to NIST standards, which the government extensively uses.
If you’re a non-government contractor, CIS could be a better option. That’s because of its flexibility and specific guidance. For example, if you’re a small business and don’t have a lot of resources, you could establish your cybersecurity program by implanting controls for CIS Implementation Group 1 (IG1). There’s no guesswork about what you need to do, you just use the checklist to apply the requirements. As your needs grow, you can transition from IG1 to IG2 and eventually IG3, the top tier of the CIS framework.
Some organizations may see the benefits of both frameworks and may not be sure which is a better fit. So, could you use both? The answer is yes.
Implementing both NIST CSF and CIS V8 for your organization may help you identify and remediate gaps that one framework misses but are covered by the other. This is another way to improve your cybersecurity program’s maturity and effectiveness.
The reality is that no framework can be counted on to provide 100% coverage for every risk. Thankfully, the frameworks are not exclusive and can be integrated with each other for added security confidence.
Cybersecurity Framework – Where to begin?
If you don’t have a cybersecurity framework in place and aren’t sure which is the best for your organization, it’s helpful to start with a closer look at your business strategy and objectives.
From there, develop a cybersecurity strategy that aligns your IT goals with your organizational goals, one that helps identify exactly what you want to accomplish. With this insight, you can better choose a framework that aligns with those common goals.
Remember, it’s rare to find a framework that meets all your objectives. At the same time, not all objectives can align with a framework. When this happens, your beginning may very well just be establishing the foundation of your program. From there, you can work with the frameworks to apply additional controls and fill identified gaps.
Another important step to get you off the ground in adopting and implementing a cybersecurity program is the understanding across your organization that cybersecurity is no longer an IT-only issue. It’s a business issue with actual business impact. That impact isn’t just in terms of finances, but also may affect your organization’s ability to operate. It can affect how you function, so you need to adopt a framework that supports your critical operations now and as you scale.
Unfortunately, many organizations don’t have the time or resources to do this. Cybersecurity and IT isn’t what your organization does best – that’s providing the service your company provides. That’s why it may be helpful to work with a third party like CBM Technology that can help you work through this critical process.
Contact us today for a consultation if you think the NIST CSF or CIS v8 cybersecurity framework might be right for your organization, and we will help you implement the right cybersecurity plan for your needs.