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An IT pro’s guide to the most widely used IT frameworks and standards


Regulated industries are principally required to make use of one or perhaps a number of compliance schemes that often embrace frameworks and requirements of their area of enterprise. (Frameworks and requirements are sometimes confused. We touched on that in a earlier story right here at TechGenix.) Some are industry particular and others are extra common. Because of the magnitude of practices obtainable to information and help, it may be overwhelming for IT professionals to seek out what’s greatest suited to their firm’s wants. By contemplating a few of the most universally adopted schemes, you possibly can slender the search to assist ease the decision-making course of.

Frameworks maintain worth

By following a framework, a corporation can make the most of a versatile construction that permits it to handle a technique, develop and doc processes, and implement controls to align IT and enterprise and handle and scale back danger. Totally different frameworks and requirements are wanted relying on what the group needs to perform. If the surroundings dynamics change over time or different points come up totally different frameworks and requirements might turn out to be extra essential, that maybe weren’t related earlier than. Frameworks maintain nice worth. They don’t solely present construction. They encourage effectivity, present a option to measure effectiveness and permit for enchancment. They provide the group a method to comply with checklists, prioritize, determine elementary obligations, assign duties and transfer in the direction of the top objective, one step at a time — all in a managed method.

Frameworks are particularly essential in IT to assist handle the complicated methods and environments appropriately. Not solely is the construction that frameworks present advantageous for IT, nevertheless it additionally permits organizations to effectively adapt to modifications. Be it compliance modifications, modifications pushed by legal guidelines and laws, or enterprise operations. That is elementary, particularly as laws across the safety of data is now a precedence for many industries and as setting dynamics change and applied sciences evolve, so will the dangers in addition to the laws. Frameworks may help organizations to get a deal with on this.

Incorporating frameworks


For IT governance, a main aim is ascertaining direct controls within the group. Relying on the group’s degree of maturity, it might have already got some controls in place, however enhancements can nonetheless be made. Every framework has its strengths and weaknesses, however a corporation can leverage a number of frameworks and requirements to perform its objective. Primarily, it must know its current state of affairs and the place it want to be. By doing this, weaknesses may be found and frameworks and requirements can be utilized to information the group to the place it must get. Then any further controls may be utilized as required to make enhancements to IT governance.

Universally used frameworks and requirements

An enormous variety of frameworks and requirements are relevant to a mess of industries and sectors. Every has its place and performance, be it in a division or a whole industry. Having stated that, there are some which might be universally used and most undoubtedly extra prevalent than others. Under are a number of of the frameworks/requirements that stand out globally. They are often categorized for: IT governance, administration and management, info safety and danger, in addition to service supply. There are some which have extra particular necessities and handle industry-related points.

The extra basic ones for IT governance, administration, and management

COBIT, or Management Aims for Info and Associated Applied sciences, is a number one framework utilized by giant enterprises. It has a broad scope. It helps organizations handle info and their infrastructure. It offers a way to navigate the complexities related to this by using controls, processes buildings, goals, and administration tips to align IT objectives with enterprise objectives.

Through the use of COBIT, a corporation can determine essential points and tailor practices to help the alignment of enterprise and IT. It additionally maps on to ITIL, for instance, and the ISO 27000 collection of requirements.

It’s a voluntary framework however can profit a corporation by serving to it to broaden the power of its defenses and thereby scale back its general safety danger.

The Nationwide Institute of Requirements and Know-how, NIST Framework, encompasses a mess of data safety requirements and greatest practices. On account of its degree of maturity and scale, giant enterprises undertake it to enhance crucial infrastructure. Nevertheless, it may be simply tailored to smaller companies too. As NIST is extensively used, it’s a great way to offer reassurance to exterior events on the subject of how you use your enterprise, because it’s doubtless that the majority are at the very least accustomed to it.

This framework is voluntary until the group is contractually obligated to conform, however the advantages it supplies are nice because it encourages knowledge and infrastructure safety via straightforward to comply with steerage, greatest practices and requirements to assist enhance cybersecurity and handle cybersecurity danger.

Two fashionable NIST Frameworks embrace the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF) to assist advance cybersecurity and resilience in companies and at a wider degree. One other extensively used one is the NIST Danger Administration Framework (NIST RMF), it hyperlinks to system degree settings. It’s based mostly on the NIST Particular Publication 800-53 commonplace. Some entities (like governments) require organizations that cope with them to adjust to this normal.

Info safety

IT Infrastructure Certifications

The Worldwide Requirements Group 27000 collection (ISO27000) for info safety administration is likely one of the most generally and globally adopted and has a broad scope. It provides a scientific strategy to handle delicate info and covers the danger related to individuals, processes and know-how. Because the scope is so huge, inside the collection requirements exist for quite a lot of methods to maintain info belongings safe. Some could also be extra industry-specific or higher suited to sure kinds of operations, nevertheless, principally the collection is beneficial all through all industries, regardless of their sort or measurement.

Though the advantages it affords are nice, the path to certification could be fairly labor intensive — particularly for smaller companies. Subsequently, ISO certification is usually pursued by principally bigger enterprises. However smaller organizations that maybe don’t need to take the certification route can nonetheless undertake most of the suggestions as it’s a useful solution to start structuring a safety framework.

ISO 27001 might be probably the most prevalent of the collection — also known as the pillar of the household. It formally specifies a administration system for info safety. Our bodies might be accredited to certify organizations as ISO 27001 compliant once they meet the necessities of the usual and are capable of reveal this.

The usual specifies the necessities for auditing info safety administration techniques (ISMS). So, by way of utilizing applicable know-how, testing and auditing, coaching and consciousness for individuals, and higher processes, organizations can higher safe their info.

Service supply

This framework is extensively adopted for IT service administration globally and incorporates worldwide greatest practices. Info Know-how Infrastructure Library (ITIL) goals to align IT providers with enterprise objectives by way of service technique, service design, service transition, service operation, and repair enchancment. This creates a basis for a strong IT governance construction to help the necessities and intricacies of data safety in an ever-changing setting.

It accommodates trendy know-how, software program, and instruments. It isn’t industry-specific and might be tailored to go well with any group.

ITIL not solely helps a corporation to construct a secure IT infrastructure that permits flexibility in altering surroundings dynamics but in addition helps with danger administration and improves customer-client relationships.

Many IT operational managers swear by its advantages and wouldn’t be with out it!

The not so common ones

Under are some industry-specific frameworks /requirements which will require nearer consideration. It consists of some which might be voluntary and others which are legally enforced. Implementing a number of of the extra common frameworks famous above will help to cowl a few of the necessities of those as nicely, however won’t instantly match all the necessities — so additional controls could also be wanted to exhibit compliance with these extra particular ones.

  • PCI DSS (for cost card dealing with)

The International Cost Card Knowledge Safety Commonplace is restricted to controlling the storage, transmission, and processing of cardholder knowledge that organizations deal with. It goals to guard this delicate info, guarantee organizations are utilizing safe practices and to scale back card fraud.

It’s administered by the cardboard suppliers themselves. It isn’t a authorized requirement, however relatively a type of industry self-governance. It guides companies that course of any card info to take action in a safe method in order that this delicate knowledge is all the time protected.

It is very important word that card knowledge can also be private knowledge so can be ruled by different authorized compliance laws just like the GDPR and different knowledge safety laws globally which are enforced by regulation.

  • HIPAA (for well being/medical info within the US)

The U.S. Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) units numerous requirements and necessities for well being knowledge, amongst different issues. It consists of the HIPAA Safety Rule which considerations cybersecurity professionals and IT particularly. Anybody who handles and maintains well being info should comply. It’s enforced by regulation and is a regularity compliance framework, so in the event you deal with well being knowledge and use your infrastructure to take action, be sure you adhere to practices for securing and processing well being knowledge in ways in which adjust to HIPAA.

  • GDPR (Knowledge Safety within the EU)


The Common Knowledge Safety Regulation (GDPR) is comparatively new (enforced in 2018) EU regulation. It’s a regulatory compliance framework and anybody, globally, processing the private info of any EU citizen should adjust to this knowledge privateness regulation. The framework has a broad scope and lays out the necessities of the regulation.

Different frameworks and requirements together with NIST supply controls based mostly on comparable necessities, so organizations might discover that different frameworks might help a number of the GDPR necessities as nicely (just like the requirement for a Privateness Impression Evaluation) and could possibly map this to an present framework they could already use, if they’ve appropriate ones in place.

A whole lot exist, these are merely a notable few

A whole lot of frameworks and requirements exist. The frameworks and requirements that you simply select to undertake and combine finally rely upon what you need to obtain and its success depends upon the group’s capacity to encourage change. Chances are you’ll select to make use of a number of frameworks to align enterprise and IT and to satisfy desired and regulatory compliance objectives, as every might shine in several areas. Frameworks principally permit the pliability to do that. So, in case you are solely starting the journey contemplate the generally used ones. There shall be overlap between them, however when you align your corporation with appropriate frameworks on your wants will probably be simpler to map others to it in order that your small business can profit from one of the best that every offers.

Lastly, keep in mind that the extra basic ones might not all the time cowl all the necessities of the extra particular ones. There shall be some overlap, however you shouldn’t rely solely on these to adjust to extra industry-specific frameworks and requirements, particularly these which might be a authorized requirement.

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