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NIST Cybesecurity Framework: What Works and Differences with ISO 27001

NIST Cybesecurity Framework: What Works and Differences with ISO 27001

Digitalization has come to be associated with commercial success in a worldwide society. But what are the expenses and dangers of going digital?

By converting from labor-intensive manual procedures to digital ones, businesses may stay competitive and find new development prospects. Due to this, most businesses are speeding up their digital transformation by implementing cutting-edge ICT solutions like cloud computing, Big Data, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The vast development of technology encourages organizations to adopt massive improvements to their processes, shifting from manual processes to fully automated processes. Where a huge improvement established, the potential risks against the business enviroment also doubled.

According to Global Threat Intelligence Report in 2022, COVID-19 and digital transformation are the main cause of a major shift across the threat landscape. Many organizations faced geo-political tensions and cyberattacks in the technology, telecommunications, transport, and distribution sectors.

Considering on the costs of implementing mature cybersecurity program, how can organizations strike a compromise between the expense of implementing cybersecurity measures and the rising danger of cyberattacks as the threat surface expands?

The sooner the better!

It turned out that early prevention is better than late protections. Businesses should take cybersecurity into account while developing innovations and workforce environment. Early security considerations in a product's lifecycle are more cost-effective than late-stage fixes. Threat and risk assessments should be carried out by security professionals throughout the product's lifecycle to identify and reduce potential risks.

What is NIST?

Organization can start utilizing cybersecurity program and improve its processes with the help of the NIST cybersecurity framework. NIST is a set of rules and best practices to assist businesses in developing and enhancing their cybersecurity posture. The framework offers a set of standards and suggestions that help companies be better equipped to recognize and stop cyberattacks. It also offers instructions on how to respond to, stop, and recover from cyber disasters.

NIST is described as a collection of cybersecurity initiatives, objectives, and helpful resources that are applicable to all critical infrastructure sectors. NIST’s core includes industry standards, regulations, and best practices that enable cross-organizational communication of cybersecurity activities and mission objectives from the executive level to high-level implementation and operations. The NIST cybersecurity framework categories, or fundamental functions, aid in creating a solid business foundation and in determining the legal and regulatory requirements for cybersecurity.

Before successfully managing emerging cybersecurity threats at many levels, including data, systems, and assets, organizations must first have a complete understanding of their current environment. The NIST cybersecurity framework can be used to determine risks in the organizations. NIST cybersecurity deliver 5 (five) main domains to guide organizations to start buiding a thorough cybersecurity processes and evaluate the current condition of their organizational workflow.

According to NIST, the 5 main domains necessary to build a strong cybersecurity are:

1. Identify

This domain assists organization in developing holistic understanding of cybersecurity risk that covers roles and responsibilities for employees with access to sensitive data and actions needed to protect against an attack and limit the damage when incident occurs.

2. Protect

This domain defines the necessary safeguards to ensure the quality of cybersecurity strategies and implementations. The Protect domain focuses on several critical categories of protection to deal with the effects of cyber threats including access control, training and awareness, data security, information protection procedures and processes, and protective technology.

3. Detect

This domain defines the essential parts of early detection function that requires the formulation and application of particular activities. The domain mainly focuses on conduct continuous monitoring and threat hunting to identify any unusual activity or anomalies so that organizations can take immediate action that must be pursued.

4. Respond

This domain defines critical procedures needed to take in the event of a threat being detected. Once a threat or abnormality has been identified, a specific reaction must be established to resolve them. In this way, cyber activities can be assessed before and after the threats to gain detailed reports that must be pursued later.

5. Recover

This domain manages strategic plans to repair and secure the data that has been harmed or lost due to a breach or attack. The organizations need to ensure that the recovery planning procedures has been implemented accordingly to restore systems and conduct improvements based on lessons learned of existing strategies.

The objectives of these 5 main domains are to deliver strategic cybersecurity planning for businesses to take cybersecurity risks as seriously as they do In financial, operational, industrial, and other risks. Building a robust cybersecurity framework is an ongoing process and organizations need to give the adequate focus to make it sustainable.

What are the Difference between NIST cybersecurity and ISO 27001?

When it comes to cybersecurity, organization needs proven standards to benchmark against industry best practices. The NIST cybersecurity framework and ISO 27001 are frequently used as compliance frameworks to help prioritize, guide, and improve cybersecurity implementation.

However, in order to implement these frameworks, organization needs to understand the purpose of the implemented cybersecurity and acknowledge how it works in the organizational structure. Moreover, the implemented cybersecurity framework should be able to support organization’s main business goals and performances.

NIST cybersecurity framework is a non-regulatory cybersecurity framework specifically designed to help organizations develop and manage their cybersecurity framework, while ISO 27001 is the internationally-recognized standard for information security management (ISMS) approach that support organizations to build comprehensive information security program.

The differences are listed as follows:

  • 1. NIST cybersecurity framework consists of five domains to customize cybersecurity controls, ISO 27001 consists of ten clauses to guide organizations to implement their ISMS.
  • 2. NIST cybersecurity framework consists of three key components (the core, implementation tiers, and profiles) that fulfill overall functions, whereas ISO 27001 is less technical and focuses more on risk-based management to improve the ISMS.
  • 3. NIST cybersecurity framework is suitable for organizations who are in the first stage in developing cybersecurity framework and ISO 27001 is suitable for mature organizations seeking certification to standardize their ISMS implementation.
  • 4. NIST cybersecurity framework is available free of charge and doesn’t require certification while ISO 27001 offers globally certification via third-party audit that can enhance organization’s reputation and build stakeholders’ trusts.

NIST CSF vs. ISO 27001: Which One is Right for My Organization?

These two frameworks are complementing each other in enhancing cybersecurity frameworks, however, the implementation also depend on specific management, maturity, and goals that organization wants to achieve. For starter, conducting NIST cybersecurity framework can give an overview of cybersecurity measures needed to prepare organization to obtain ISO 27001 certification.

It can be difficult to maintain cybersecurity based on the NIST cybersecurity framework. No matter how difficult it might be, it will be worthwhile. The Framework enables companies to build on a solid foundation and add to it as necessary to ensure compliance with new requirements as they emerge since it is based on outcomes rather than specific controls. The fundamental tasks of identifying, protecting, detecting, responding, and recovering help businesses quickly identify, manage, and respond to cybersecurity events. The NIST control framework will facilitate communication between stakeholders on the technical and business sides and enable continual compliance.


Koza, Efran. (2022). Semantic Analysis of ISO/IEC 27000 Standard Series and NIST Cybersecurity Framework to Outline Differences and Consistencies in the Context of Operational and Strategic Information Security. Medicon Engineering Themes 2.3 (2022): 26-39

Ouahab, Abdel. Ikram B.; Bouhorma, Mohammed; El Aachak, Lotfi; Boudhir, Anouar Abdelhakim. (2022). Recent Advances in Computer Science and Communications. Volume 15, Number 8, 2022, pp. 1026-1042(17). DOI: https://doi.org/10.2174/2666255813999201117093512

Taherdoost, Hamed. (2022). Understanding Cybersecurity Frameworks and Information Security Standards—A Review and Comprehensive Overview. Special Issue Emerging Applications of Information Security Technology in Digital Environment. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11142181.

White, Gregory. B, Natalie Sjelin. (2022). The NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Research Anthology on Business Aspects of Cybersecurity. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3698-1.ch003.

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