Introduction to Security Standards

A security standard is a framework that an organization can use to improve their cybersecurity posture. Each set of standards outlines techniques for protecting the cybersecurity environment of a user or organization, including networks, devices, software, processes, information in storage or transit, applications, services, and systems that can be connected directly or indirectly to networks. The purpose of IT security standards is to reduce risk by preventing or mitigating cyber-attacks. Whichever standard you choose to follow will include policies, procedures, training, and tasks to better protect your networks, systems, and data.

Many US organizations build their security policies to align with the NIST 800-53 cybersecurity standard and compliance framework developed by the National Institute of Standards in Technology. Additionally, many industry-specific compliance certifications and cybersecurity frameworks align with NIST 800-53 standards. Some of the most common include:

CIS 18 - The Center for Internet Security (CIS)’s critical security controls (aka CIS Controls V8, and known as CIS 20 until 2021), a prioritized set of cybersecurity best practices that can help protect enterprises from the most pervasive and dangerous attacks, based on information the CIA found most relevant to curb common attacks. 

CMMC - Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. A certification program created by the Department of Defense (DoD) to assess the cybersecurity postures of organizations. All DoD suppliers have to be certified to the appropriate CMMC level in order to continue doing business with DoD under the mandated CMMC requirements.

HITRUST CSF - The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) is Common Security Framework (CSF) of data protection standards that help organizations safeguard sensitive information, manage information risk, and reach compliance goals, primarily in the healthcare or health-tech space. The current version of HITRUST CSF is v11, released in January 2023.

ISO 27001 - An international standard to manage information security, set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). 

FedRAMP - The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a US federal government-wide framework providing a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. Any organization providing cloud services (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) to federal government organizations might achieve FedRAMP certification.

SOC 2 - A report which provides assurance over a vendor’s cybersecurity controls, based on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)’s five Trust Service Criteria: confidentiality, availability, security, processing integrity, and privacy. The SOC 2 allows a vendor to demonstrate the robustness of its processes, vendor management effectiveness, and dedication to protecting the data of customers and partners.

SPIO will help your organization comply with the most common standards through its easy-to-implement and editable policies, procedures, and training. All of SPIO’s policies adhere to NIST 800-53 standards. Additionally, SPIO has cross-referenced program activities to other standards, including SOC 2, ISO 27001, NIST CSF, CIS 18, and CMMC to make sure you get credit for the work you do with customers and your management team. SPIO is easy-to-implement and covers all areas of cybersecurity, including: 

With powerful automated tools, SPIO has automated complicated security activities so you can focus on your business. SPIO provides network scans, user audits, risk management, and security questionnaires. And SPIO will help you keep track of what you need to do to comply with NIST standards by helping you to assign tasks, set due dates, keep running notes, and attach evidence.

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