A security framework is a compilation of state-mandated and international cybersecurity policies and processes to protect critical infrastructure. It includes precise instructions for companies to handle the personal information stored in systems to ensure their decreased vulnerability to security-related risks.

Since a security framework has proven useful to entire industries, many, if not all, organizations strive to adhere to their mandates when crafting security guidelines for their networks.

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In the U.S., as much as 84% of enterprises tackle cybersecurity issues through adopting several security frameworks according to the Trends in Security Framework Adoption Survey.

4 Most-Adopted Security Frameworks to Ensure Cybersecurity

The primary goal of every security framework is to diminish the number of threats that can negatively affect an organization and its stakeholders. Here are the most widely implemented security frameworks across various industries:

1. Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

All healthcare organizations in the U.S. are required to abide by HIPAA as a means to protect patients’ vital and confidential information from all kinds of threats. These threats include physical and virtual loss or theft. In the virtual realm, HIPAA outlines the security measures that healthcare service providers must implement to prevent the loss or theft of electronic health records (EHRs) due to cyber attacks.

HIPAA’s counterparts include the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) in Canada. In Europe and Asia-Pacific, the general data privacy protection rules apply to the healthcare sector as well.

2. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework

The NIST also compiled security measures that would strengthen any enterprise’s cybersecurity posture in the U.S. It involves a five-step process that helps organizations address risks and maintain security systems, including identification, protection, detection, response, and recovery. It comprises the Core, Profiles, and Implementation Tiers.

The Core Tier offers basic guidelines to protect information systems. Profiles, on the other hand, address organizational priorities for cybersecurity, including the evaluation of basic controls for the IT department. Finally, the Implementation Tier zeroes in on determining the amount of cybersecurity budget required to carry out identified security measures.

3. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Framework

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets the guidelines that cover the collection and processing of the personal information of all individuals holding European Union (EU) citizenship. It is a mandatory framework that must be implemented by all organizations that transact business with European customers, operate within EU member countries, or employ European citizens.

These days, most countries or regions have their own data privacy protection laws that apply to all companies that operate within their jurisdiction or their respective citizens.

4. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)

Following the directives of PCI-DSS is a must for all organizations that deal with credit card details, including those that accept credit card payments, process transactions, and transmit related information. We all know that the financial sector is a highly favored cybercriminal target, making compliance to PCI-DSS vital for companies that don’t want to pay fines in case of a breach.

These four security frameworks ensure that organizations from different sectors enhance their cybersecurity posture for the protection of not just their assets but also their customers. Security frameworks serve as the baseline for security best practices. While adhering to some of them is voluntary, others such as the GDPR are part of the law.

Key Takeaways

  • A security framework contains instructions about a company’s cybersecurity processes that conform to national and international policies.
  • The goal of using a security framework is to decrease an organization’s vulnerability to cyber attacks.
  • Some of the most-adopted security frameworks are HIPAA, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, GDPR, and PCI-DSS.
  • The GDPR covers EU citizens, so all companies doing business with European customers, employing European citizens, and operating within EU member countries must implement the framework.
  • HIPAA covers U.S.-based medical organizations, ensuring that patients’ sensitive data remains protected.
  • PIPEDA is similar to HIPAA, but it covers Canadian organizations.
  • Some security frameworks require voluntary compliance but others are mandated by law.