What Is The Best Cyber Risk Management Framework My Organization Should Use?

Information stored in networks and the cloud must be kept organized and secure for an organization to function properly. In many industries, it is a legal requirement. Cyber Risk Management Frameworks allow companies to achieve information security frameworks. Below, you’ll learn more about the most effective frameworks.

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Among the most popular Cyber Risk Management Frameworks are the NIST model, SOC 2, and ISO 27001. These are implemented by government agencies and private organizations alike, although the most suitable framework for your organization depends on which industry you represent.

Are you unsure of what a Cyber Risk Management Framework Is? No worries, the sections below will cover what a framework is and how it can be implemented.

What Is A Cyber Risk Management Framework?

If you search the term Cyber Risk Management Framework into your internet browser, then you’ll end up with a bunch of explanations that sound like they come straight out of a textbook. You could almost say that they are more effective as a sleep aid rather than being informative pieces. So before diving too deeply into confusing details, let’s use an analogy.

At home, you have many potential security threats. To thwart potential attacks, you might assign “security roles” to members of your family and external organizations. 

  • Cyber security: You probably have invested in anti-virus protection, ad-blockers, or content blockers.
  • Door security: You ask everyone to lock the door at night.
  • Confidential information: You tell your children to never provide their social security number without asking you first.

In your family home, you and your significant other handle security issues. But in a large company or organization, many layers of management are needed to protect the local network. This article is all about determining which specific security framework will work best for your organization.

What Is The Best Cyber Risk Management Framework?

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There is not necessarily any one answer to which Cyber Risk Management Framework (RMF) is best for your organization. In the section below, three popular frameworks are examined.

  • NIST Model: Designed for federal agencies that can be implemented at private companies as well
  • SOC 2: Designed for service companies hosting customer data. May be required
  • ISO 27001: Designed for companies of any size seeking to organize information security. Often chosen by financial institutions

NIST Model

NIST stands for National Institute of Standards and Technology. They are a government agency that brainstormed an RMF to be used by government agencies, such as the Department of Defense. As such, the framework assigns roles to positions that may not exist in non-government agencies. However, the framework has been tested against many formidable threats and is certainly worth a look.

Experts at the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon Conveniently translated the NIST model to fit the organizational chart of the typical non-federal organization. There are 7 core steps in this framework.

Core StepTasksResponsible Parties May Include
PrepareIdentify potential risks, develop strategies for managing risks, assign responsible, examine current softwareSenior administration, IT directors
CategorizeDetermine the security risks of a system, categorize all components of the company’s IT resources by potential impact if a breach were to occurChief Information Officer/Administration 
SelectDetermine which protections are needed (i.e., security software, blocking access to some network drives, etc.)Administrative staff and IT director(s)
ImplementPerform tasks related to the rolling out of the selected security plan, including installationAn assigned information System Security Officer (ISSO) or System Owner
AssessThe selected security system must be tested so that any deficiencies may be addressed before the system is in full operationA team selected by administration, including a System Owner and IT staff
Authorize Results of testing are communicated between a system owner and administration System Owner
MonitorDaily monitoring of all IT resources, troubleshooting issues, making sure that software is routinely updatedIT department 
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SOC 2

System and Organizations Control For Service Organizations 2 (SOC 2) is a framework designed to safeguard customer and client data. SOC 2 is tailor-made for service organizations and was developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts (AICPA).

This framework is essential for any company or organization that hosts an application and manages customer access to the application. Examples include streaming services, product orders, delivery platforms, rideshare companies, and much more.

SOC 2 is split up into 5 “Trust Service Categories.” To successfully implement a SOC 2 framework, you must consider these:

Trust Service CategoryTasksResponsible Parties May Include
Security (Only Mandatory Category) Protect against unauthorized access and data breaches, Address security breaches as they occurChief Information Officer
Availability Ensure that all customers have access to the services you provideSOC 2 Project Manager
ConfidentialityConfidential information must be closely safeguarded. Information Security
Processing IntegritySystem processing must run smoothly, services provided must meet quality objectivesIT Auditor
PrivacyWhen customers request private information they have access to, that information must be disseminated securelyLegal, Information Security, Chief Information Officer

Auditing Procedures

Organizations adhering to SOC 2 may be required to undergo an SOC audit, which must always be prepared by a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Even if an audit is not required, this is a way for organizations to assure customers that confidential information is being protected.

If a third-party consultant is hired to oversee the implementation of technology services, they also may be required to undergo a SOC audit.

ISO 27001

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001 is a framework designed to fit companies of any size. This framework is designed for organizations that desire to organize security controls within the company network.

ISO 27001 is a bit more simplistic than the NIST and SOC frameworks. The standards are split into 3 main security objectives.

Security ObjectiveTasksResponsible Parties May Include
ConfidentialityAuthorizations are implemented, so that staff members are limited in which data/information they can accessChief Information Officer, System Owner
IntegrityInformation can only be changed by those authorized to make the changesIT Managers, Department Administration 
Availability Services and information must be accessible whenever needed.IT staff

Certification

Organizational credibility can be achieved via ISO certification. This is only performed by third-party certification bodies, which may or may not be accredited. You are encouraged to seek an accredited body, as they are required to use the relevant, up-to-date standards. You can find accredited bodies here.

Final Thoughts

Cyber Risk Management Frameworks (RMFs) provide a means for companies, organizations, and government agencies to secure information stored on company networks and clouds. Three of the most popular frameworks include the NIST model, SOC 2, and ISO 27001.

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