Cyber Security Framework

Cyber security framework

On this page, we'll cover:

Key takeaways:

  • A cyber security framework is critical in protecting organisations from cyber attacks and reducing risks

  • Popular frameworks include NIST, ISO, CIS Controls, SOC2, PCI-DSS, COBIT, HITRUST, CCM, CMMC, and Cyber Essentials

  • Factors to consider when choosing a framework include industry compliance, budget, and specific security needs


Why are cyber security frameworks important for your organisation?

Cyber security frameworks can help your organisation prevent unauthorized access to information systems and allow you to effectively manage cyber risks. This structured approach offers you a systematic method to enhance security measures, mitigate risks, and adhere to industry standards and regulations.

By adhering to the guidelines and best practices outlined by cyber security frameworks, your organisation can strengthen its protection against external cyber threats. The implementation of cyber security frameworks not only safeguards sensitive data but also boosts overall operational resilience in the face of constantly evolving cyber threats.


Top cyber security frameworks to consider

Do you know which frameworks to look out for when trying to enhance your cyber security measures? We'll help you find some guidance by introducing ten important frameworks you should know about. This will enable you to make an informed decision about which framework is the right choice for your company. 

1. NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0 provides a comprehensive set of guidelines and controls to assist organisations in managing and reducing cyber security risk. The framework is structured around six core functions:

  • Govern: Incorporate information security governance into broader governance structures, ensuring that information security is strategically managed and aids in achieving long-term resilience

  • Identify: Develop an organisational understanding to effectively manage cyber security risk related to systems, assets, data, and capabilities

  • Protect: Implement safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical infrastructure services and limit the impact of potential cyber security incidents

  • Detect: Establish appropriate activities to identify the occurrence of a cyber security event promptly

  • Respond: Take action regarding a detected cyber security incident to contain its impact and mitigate its effects

  • Recover: Develop and implement plans for resilience and restoration of capabilities or services impaired due to an incident

2. ISO 27001

ISO 27001 is an internationally recognised standard for information security management systems (ISMS) developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Organisations seeking ISO 27001 certification must establish, implement, maintain, and continuously improve an ISMS. This process involves risk identification, the implementation of appropriate security controls, and regular assessments to review and update security measures.

Related: Building your ISMS: From legal compliance to risk maturity

3. CIS Controls

The Center for Internet Security's CIS Controls are a prioritised set of actions designed to mitigate the most prevalent cyber threats. These guidelines include essential measures such as inventorying authorised and unauthorised devices and software, as well as more advanced tactics like implementing continuous monitoring and secure configurations.

4. SOC2

The Service Organisation Control 2 framework assesses controls regarding data security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. An SOC2 audit involves a thorough examination of organisations' systems and processes to determine their adherence to specific criteria.


The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

The standard requires installing and maintaining a firewall, ensuring all stored data is encrypted, implementing access control measures, regularly monitoring and testing networks, and maintaining a security policy.


COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology) is an IT management and governance framework consisting of five main components, including framework, process descriptions, control objectives, maturity models, and management guidelines.

Organisations utilise these components to align their IT goals with business objectives, ensuring that IT investments contribute to business success. Ultimately, COBIT helps organisations enhance transparency, accountability, and performance in their IT efforts.


The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) is a certifiable framework that offers organisations a flexible approach to regulatory compliance and risk management. This framework incorporates controls and standards such as ISO, NIST, HIPAA, and GDPR, making it adaptable to various industries.

8. CCM

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) developed the Cloud Control Matrix (CCM) as a cloud-specific security controls framework. These controls are categorised into various domains, including governance, risk, and compliance, all of which help maintain the security and compliance of cloud services.

The CCM serves as a thorough reference for cloud service providers to establish robust security controls aligned with industry standards and best practices. Customers can leverage the CCM to gain insight into the security controls of the cloud services they use, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding their data security and compliance needs.

9. CMMC 2.0

The Department of Defence (DoD) created the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0 framework to enhance the cyber security posture of the Defence Industrial Base (DIB). The CMMC 2.0 framework outlines five levels of maturity, ranging from basic cyber hygiene practices at Level 1 to advanced cyber security capabilities at Level 5. Each level prescribes specific practices and processes that organisations must implement to attain that level of maturity.

Organisations seeking CMMC certification undergo assessments by certified third-party assessment organisations to verify their adherence to these practices. This certification process is essential for companies engaging with the DoD to ensure they meet the necessary cyber security standards for safeguarding sensitive information.

10. Cyber Essentials

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) created Cyber Essentials, a cyber security certification scheme aimed at helping organisations safeguard themselves against common cyber threats. The requirements for the certification entail implementing key controls such as securing internet connections, utilising firewalls, and ensuring software is kept up to date.


Choose the right cyber security framework for your organisation

Your organisation's selection of a cyber security framework is influenced by its compliance requirements, data protection needs, regulatory obligations, and the specific threats it encounters. To ensure comprehensive protection against cyber security threats, you should choose a framework that aligns with your business objectives, industry standards, and regulations.

You can enhance your organisation's cyber security readiness by selecting a framework that caters to its unique needs and objectives and showcases adherence to relevant standards. Conducting a thorough risk assessment is critical in identifying the most suitable framework to address your organisation's vulnerabilities and proactively mitigate potential threats.


Role of cyber security frameworks in reducing cyber risks

Cyber security frameworks help reduce cyber risks by offering structured guidelines and controls for organisations to safeguard their information systems. These frameworks encompass various facets of risk management, incorporating preventive controls to lower the likelihood of risk events.

Additionally, they outline incident response protocols with well-defined steps to enable organisations to respond promptly and efficiently to security breaches. Detailed recovery processes are included to lessen downtime and minimise data loss. Emphasis is also placed on continuous monitoring to identify anomalies and enhance responses to keep pace with the rapidly changing landscape of cyber threats.


How to implement and maintain a cyber security framework

After deciding which framework is most beneficial for your organisation, you now need to implement and maintain it to effectively secure your company. So, let's take the next step!

Establishing and upholding a cyber security framework is a systematic process that entails planning, execution, auditing, and ongoing enhancement to safeguard organisations against cyber risks effectively.

Following the planning and execution of the cyber security framework, you can assess its efficacy with regular audits by pinpointing weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and areas for enhancement. These audits enable your organisation to address emerging threats and align with cyber security standards proactively.

Implementing governance structures and protocols for regular updates will also help you to adapt to the evolving threat landscape and enhance your organisation's resilience.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main components of a cyber security framework?

The main components of a cyber security framework include: risk assessment, policy and procedure development, security controls implementation, monitoring and detection, incident response, and continuous improvement. These components work together to create a strong and resilient cyber security program.

How can a cyber security framework help protect my organisation against cyber threats?

A cyber security framework helps to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities within an organisation's systems and processes. By implementing the recommended guidelines and best practices, organisations can strengthen their defences and better protect against cyber threats such as data breaches, malware attacks, and phishing scams.

Is there a specific cyber security framework that organisations should follow?

There are several cyber security frameworks available, including the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, ISO 27001, and CIS Controls. The best approach for organisations is to research and understand the different frameworks and choose one that aligns with their specific needs and industry requirements.

How can a cyber security framework help with compliance?

A cyber security framework can help organisations ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards, such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS. By implementing the recommended guidelines and controls, organisations can demonstrate their commitment to cyber security and protect sensitive data from potential breaches or unauthorised access.