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The Most Influential Security Frameworks of All Time

Security frameworks have several components that guide companies when they develop their IT security policies and procedures. While security standards offer insight into recommended controls and guidelines go over the security measures that are ideally put in place on a network and are mandatory for compliance in some cases, a framework has security best practices that companies should follow to get the best results for implementing a successful program.

The security framework's primary goal is reducing the risk that common cybersecurity threats will impact the organization. Here are some of what I feel are the most influential security frameworks of all time.

HIPAA
The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act dictates the way that healthcare organizations and those working with protected health information must secure their systems to ensure the confidentiality of that information. HIPAA's framework goes over the necessary security controls that companies must have in place to remain in compliance with the regulations. A failure to comply with these regulations can lead to fines and other consequences.

HIPAA's security standards provide a vastly important security framework for an industry that is incredibly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

PCI DSS
The Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standard framework covers companies that handle credit card information in one of four ways: accepting credit cards, processing the transactions, storing this data or transmitting credit card data. By putting this security framework in place, PCI has improved the security of the complete payment process.

Payment processors are essential to modern commerce and attract countless attackers. This strict security framework makes it possible for businesses to safely handle payment information and reduce the opportunities for identity theft and fraudulent transactions.

NIST SP 800-53
The National Institute of Standards and Technology established the NIST SP 800-53 requirements for most federal information systems. This publication covers the necessary controls to put in place for all entities that use or support these systems. A substantial amount of sensitive government data moves through these networks, so having clear cybersecurity measures to follow improves the security of federal agencies and the contractors that work with them.

Federal agencies and contractors handle information that impacts the national security of the United States. Lax cybersecurity measures could have disastrous consequences, whether it's compromising military safety or allowing a hostile country to access plans for weapons. NIST SP 800-53 makes it far more difficult for state-funded actors to achieve their goals.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework
The National Institute of Standards and Technology also put together a general-use framework for any entity interested in strengthening their cybersecurity. It's designed to be cost-effective and flexible so that it's usable in many industries. It has a five-step process for addressing cybersecurity risks and maintaining a secure system: identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover. The primary components consist of the Core, Profiles, and Implementation Tiers.

The Core offers guidance to organizations wanting to get better protection for their information systems. It uses straightforward language so the business doesn't need a specialist to understand exactly what to do. The Profiles cover the company's priorities when it comes to its cybersecurity measures. It brings together the requirements, level of risk and security resources to evaluate the controls in place. The Implementation Tier helps companies establish a risk appetite and determine a budget for any cybersecurity changes that are necessary.

This security framework helps elevate cybersecurity standards for many entities that are uncertain where they should start with their cyber protection. This publication is clear on the controls that should be in place and how they benefit companies that implement them.

HITRUST
The Health Information Trust Alliance developed the Common Security Framework for healthcare organizations. These guidelines cover any information systems that work with protected health information, whether it's at rest or in transit. Many healthcare IT systems are fragmented and cybersecurity measures are not always implemented or maintained properly.

By providing concrete guidance on what to do to protect the healthcare business, more organizations can protect themselves against the constant threat of ransomware and other malware. This framework provides another way for healthcare organizations to protect themselves against attackers.

ISO 27000 Series
The International Organization of Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission published this standard for information security management systems. The primary focus of this set of standards is to put managers in control of the cybersecurity measures that are in place. 

The audience for this set of security standards is the private sector, and this framework has several special publications available, including 800-12, 800-14, 800-26, 800-37, and 800-53. Everything from the specific security controls to guidelines on how to effectively manage IT are included in these documents.

NERC 1300
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation created a set of security standards for Bulk Power System companies. Since the power infrastructure is so important to modern society, this security framework is put in a particularly influential position.

A few of the measures that it covers include staying on top of new patches, ensuring proper network security administration practices, and maintaining continuity of these systems.

NERC 1300 is one of the latest versions of this cybersecurity measure, which gets revisited to see whether it still applies to the modern cybersecurity landscape or if additional protections should be put in place. Losing power has a substantial impact on the public's quality of life. This framework protects these critical systems.

ANSI/ISA 62443
The International Society for Automation and the American National Standards Institute developed this security framework for Industrial Automation and Control Systems. Industrial automation is transforming many operations, especially as the Internet of Things continues to grow.

The framework consists of four categories: general, component, system, and policies and procedures. The International Security Compliance Institute helps organizations see whether they are properly adhering to this framework. They created the conformity assessment program, which offers certification for IoT equipment, Commercial Off-the-shelf products, and the systems that control them.

Industrial automation and control systems provide many efficient and productive systems for companies investing in tech-forward solutions. This framework allows forward-thinking companies to create security measures that accommodate a variety of connected devices in the industrial environment.

Security frameworks make it possible for organizations to speed up the adoption of strong cybersecurity measures. They don't need to start from scratch when working on their security practices within their company. Some of these frameworks are mandated by the industry that they operate in, while others are voluntary to offer a security foundation.

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