Comparing ISO 27001 Standard and NIST Security Framework

Comparing ISO 27001 Standard and NIST Security Framework

Both the NIST security framework and the ISO 27001 standard deal with information security controls. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) mentions that ISO 27001 provides guidelines for the establishment of an information security management system (ISMS). Digital Guardian informs us that the NIST security framework is designed to shore up inefficiencies in a business’s information security plans. 

It’s immediately apparent that both of these methodologies share a common goal. However, they’re not interchangeable. This article delves into the similarities and differences between the NIST’s framework and ISO 27001.

The Structure of the ISO 27001

The ISO 27001 standard has ten (10) clauses that outline the critical information for applicants. The first three (3) clauses go over references, terms, and a basic understanding of the standard. The seven that follow are instrumental in helping businesses develop and finalize their ISMS. They define the business’s organizational context and probe whether the company’s leadership is committed to ensuring the standard’s success. 

Other steps ask about the business’s ability to anticipate information  security threats (cybersecurity and IT security) and manage its information security risk. The ISO standard examines the company’s established support network and suggests ways to improve and develop it. It then makes suggestions on the operation of the business’s ISMS. 

As with all ISO standards, there is a built-in system for self-improvement. The final clauses of the ISO 27001 document focus on evaluating the established system’s performance and how to improve those processes. Implementing this standard can bring benefits to businesses in several ways. We covered previously how the ISO 27001 standard can work in concert with project management.

ISO 27001 Annex A has 14 Domains with 114 controls. NIST covers 110 of these controls. 

Understanding the NIST Security Framework

Since both the ISO 27001 standard and the NIST framework have similar goals, it’s evident that there will be overlap between their implementations. However, while the ISO 27001 standard was designed for a specific purpose, the NIST framework is more open-ended. As such, any business that uses information technology stands to benefit from this framework. The NIST security framework relies on five overarching principles:

  • Identify: This step determines the risks that exist within the organization from a cybersecurity perspective. It’s similar to the fourth clause of ISO 27001.
  • Protect: Businesses that have cybersecurity risks need to protect the organization’s data and infrastructure from them. This protection either stops threats from occurring or minimizes the impact of those threats if they enter the system.
  • Detect: The longer a threat remains undetected on a system, the more havoc it can cause. This step allows businesses to find threats faster and neutralize them.
  • Respond: This step creates an organized response so that all parties know what they have to do. In a cybersecurity breach, time is crucial to success. Having everything planned out beforehand speeds up deployment and engagement.
  • Recover: This stage focuses on getting the business’s systems back online and working as usual. It addresses factors such as backup and restore times, and allows the company some recovery time to get back on track after an attack.

Similar Yet Different

There are distinct similarities in how these methodologies approach the problem of information security. The NIST framework is heavily flexible, which gives it a lot of room for application. However, this flexibility leaves the interpretation of the framework to the business implementing it. The ISO standard, on the other hand, is more focused on what it provides to companies. The defined, cyclical nature of the standard makes it ideal for a specific situation. Unfortunately, it’s not very flexible in application. Despite this, we’ve covered several ways how the ISO 27001 standard can benefit businesses.

If you’ve got questions about ISO 27001 or the NIST security framework, Contact Sync Resource. Let our experts help you to understand what each offers your business and which one is right for you.


How the DOD Cyber Security Program Impacts Contractors

How the DOD Cyber Security Program Impacts Contractors

Military contractors are usually poised at the cutting edge of DOD cybersecurity programs. Their contributions help the US maintain the most impressive standing army in the world. Because of their position, they have always needed to have top-notch cybersecurity.

Before now, the US Government hasn’t had to put guidelines in place to enforce robust cybersecurity. That changed in June 2020, with the Cyber Security Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). According to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD(A&S)), the CMMC combined several security standards and industry best practices to reduce the risk of threats to contractor systems.

The implementation of this certification has changed the way contractors do business. In this article, we’ll look at the measures that the DOD has implemented to ensure governmental data safety when working with contractors. We’ll also delve into how contractors can figure out if they comply with current standards.

No Longer an Honor-Based System

In the past, contractors needed to sign a document that stated that they followed industry best-practices regarding their Cyber Security. Unfortunately, recent events have forced the government to reconsider its stance. In March 2019, NBC News reported that Iranian-backed hackers gained access to contractor systems, acquiring sensitive data on government-funded projects. Because of the potential fallout associated with sensitive information, the Pentagon decided to take action. The CMMC resulted from consultation, which was designed to ensure that contractors complied with the security standards the government has come to expect from its contractors.

The Cyber Security Obligations for Contractors

The DOD Cyber Security program focuses on one specific clause. The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) clause 252.204-70122, also known as the “7012 clause.” It has also been referred to as the Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting clause. It’s an addition that puts the onus for identifying sensitive information on the contractor. Additionally, the contractor is responsible for ensuring the data they’ve deemed as sensitive remains secure.

Contractors need to be aware of the information they will receive. Typically, the 7012 clause deals with “covered defense information” (CDI). CDIs include unclassified controlled technical data and any information inside the controlled classified information registry. If interaction with a CDI is contained within the contract, the company needs to verify that its practices meet the demands of the DOD Cyber Security program recommendations.

DOD Cyber Security Program Guidelines

Among the guidelines that the DOD suggests for contractors are:

  • Security Standards: At a minimum, contractors should implement the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-171 (“NIST SP 800-171”). This implementation includes putting together a system security plan and an action plan. Both of these plans must be approved by DOD personnel.
  • Rapid Incident Reporting: After an incident occurs, contractors have up to seventy-two (72) hours to submit a report. Reportable incidents have an expansive definition. All accounts must be made to the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) portal and require contractors to have a DOD-approved Medium Assurance Certificate. Because of how tiny the reporting window is, contractors should apply for this certificate in advance.
  • Cloud Computing Standards: The DOD Cyber Security program has its own recommendations for cloud-based solutions. If the business has its own in-house cloud solution, it must implement the NIST SP 800-171. For those using third-party cloud suppliers, the vendors must align with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (“FedRAMP”) Moderate baseline. Vendors must also comply with all obligations related to forensic analysis, media preservation, malicious software, and incident reporting, and damage assessment.

Relying On Your Business Practices

Contractors already have their own standards for operation regarding their cybersecurity departments. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a fallback position. Sync Resource has an understanding of the NIST cybersecurity framework that both the CMMC and the standard DOD cyber security program obligations require. If you’d like a third-party audit of your systems or just advice on how to improve them, give us a call. We’ll be glad to ensure that you’re fully compliant with the DOD Cyber Security standards.

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ISO 27001 Risk Management Methodology

ISO 27001 Risk Management Methodology

Overview of ISO 27001 Risk Management

ISO 27001 risk management is an internationally recognized standardized management system and its core is Information Security Management System (ISMS) under which Information Security Risk Assessment will be executed.

The core purpose of ISO 27001 is to ensure data security, company’s confidentiality and grants you an ability to bring customers in your trust that their information is completely secured with you with a process based approach along with fulfillment of all the requirements of information Security Management System (ISMS).

As far as Information Security Risk Assessment is concerned, it is defined as a process where an assessor will try to identify any risk existing in your current management system that may cause harm to the system, your products/ services or to your information confidentiality that may put your clients to potential risk.

Best Practices of ISO 27001 Risk Management 

The framework of ISO 27001 risk management highlights following best practices of system security and risk management:

  • Protection of Employee’s and Client’s information
  • Effective risk management by managing system’s security
  • To become 100% compliant with regulations and standards such European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR)
  • Company and Brand image protection

 ISO 27001 Risk Management:  Section 6.1.2 

The section 6.1.2 of ISO 27001 states clauses about risk management procedure for security of information:

  • Establishment of Risk management criteria and identification of potential risks to the security management system.
  • Establishment of periodic risk assessments in order to accomplish consistency in quality of deliverable.
  • Identification of potential risks that can threaten security of information security management system.
  • Evaluation of information security system, recording and analysis of the results according to risks identification criteria.

Rock Solid Seven Foundation Steps to Effective ISO 27001 Risk Management

  • Design Risk Management Methodology

ISO 27001 risk management methodology should be based on concrete security criteria, scale of risk, scenario and asset based risk assessment.

  • Company’s Information Asset Listing

Valuable company’s information asset includes confidential information in the form of hard copy , soft copy, external provider, people and so on. Make an existing list of Company’s informational assets. If the list already exists then do a verification check if the list is updated with all the assets or not.

  • Identification of Potential Threats and Risks

After identification of company’s information asset, the next significant step is to highlight all the possible potential risks that can be applied to each company’s information asset.

  • Measure the Extent of Risk

Build a risk matrix in which list down all the risks involved, predict its likelihood, occurrence and severity. Assess the risk to confidentiality, integrity and availability of these assets.

  • Risks Mitigation

Classify all the predicted risks into High, Medium and low priority. Devise a plan to mitigate, eliminate or substitute those risks with optimum solutions.

  • Risks Reports Compilation

Compile the risks reports in which risk matrix with risks mitigation plans has been mentioned.

  • Review and Monitoring of Plan

The basic requirement of ISO 27001 is to update (if needed), review and monitor the risk management plan from time to time in order to monitor the risks and its mitigation plan performance with rapid changing environment.

Other ISO standards for Risk Management

Following enlisted are the ISO standards that supports ISO 27001 in risk management approach:

  • ISO 27005:2011 – Guidelines for risk management for information security
  • ISO 31000:2009 – Basic Principles about Risk Management
  • ISO 31010:2009 – Methodologies and Standardized Approach about Risk Assessment and its Techniques

Want to consult an ISO advisor? Tap us for ISO consultancy today.

Top Key Benefits of ISO 27001 Implementation

 Among numerous benefits of ISO 27001 implementation, here comes some top key benefits of ISO 27001:

  • Competitive Marketing Edge

Having ISO 27001 being deeply embedded in your management system gives you a unique selling point (USP) to represent to clients. Plus it will help you to be different to your competitors when it comes to tender winning race. Your marketing team will definitely get an edge over marketplace competitors hence giving you more chances to enter to new business opportunities.

  • Cost Effective Solution

A common myth exists in market that putting information security in your system gives you no financial gain which is totally wrong. Think of the financial loss that you may face due to leakage of confidential information of your business or about your clients’ business giving your brand reputation a smashing hit that is nearly impossible to get recovered.

Take this fact the other way around. Imagine the amount of money you could have saved if you could have somehow was able to prevent the confidential information compromise/leakage incident. Hence, prevention is better than cure.

  • Better Business Management

ISO 27001 is a proven tool to get your business in the order just as you always wanted to have. But How? The guidelines of ISO 27001 helps in great extent to define and divide the roles and responsibilities among the team ensuring employees’ engagement to the next level making your journey towards success more systematic.

  • Fulfillment of Quality Compliance

Want to have something which can give you quick “Return on Investment” then ISO 27001 compliance is just the right thing to do. Be it data protection, privacy and IT security, ISO 27001 caters to all the factors of compliance which makes you ultimately more trustworthy among customers, suppliers and vendors.

  • Awareness on Risk Management Among Employees

Through various training and refresher sessions, the awareness level on risk management can ensure employees’ focus on better risk management. With focus on social engineering and tests to ensure employees have good understanding of ISO 27001, Management have been able to minimize the risk to the entire organization.

Looking to get ISO 27001 certification for your business?

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ISO 27001 Certification Benefits

ISO 27001 Certification Benefits

Why should you get ISO 27001 certified? One empirical reason is for security. In a data-concentric and modern economy, protecting your data is a regulatory and legislative requirement. ISO 27001 certification helps you better meet customer needs, legal requirements and protect critical corporate data. Your company’s sensitive information is always under a barrage of threats.

You must prevent attacks every way possible. Creating a security system for the management of information, such as (ISMS) must have compliance with the ISO certificate.

More reasons to get ISO 27001 Certification

Security of data is essential for businesses in almost every industry. By securing data, you can avoid the cost of data gaps. Financial losses, adverse effects on reputation and penalties may be costly for every company that suffers a breach. Become more security savvy by adhering to and implementing ISO 27001 compliance within your organization.

Getting ISO 27001 Certification Improves Your Reputation

Getting ISO 27001 certification proves that you are enthusiastic to protect the data of your customers and collaborates. You will be able to meet the higher security demands of customers. Both customers and businesses are becoming security savvy so you should consider their security to win their trust.

Compliance with Global, State and Local Security Laws

Some legislation like NIS of European Union requires appropriate protection for data. After seeking certification, you can ensure that you are ready for business around the world. A 27001 ISO certification can be obtained by having a system and control independent audit. The audit will demonstrate that your data is secured and practice is sound.

Put ISO 2700 Certificate in Action

Implementation of information security management system ISMS project involves some critical step. Every juncture allows you to work systematically to address and identify the threats that can cost your business. While the needs and systems of each organization can be different; you can distill down this step as per the following procedures.

Perform a Risk Analysis

If you want to create an ideal system, you can start with the assessment of current risk and current practices. Pay attention to the gaps between present information and procedures that need ISO 27001 certification. You must assess the resources and capabilities to decrease the jeopardy and bridge the gap.

Choose the Scope of ISMS

In your protection plan, you must determine the assets that need protection. There is no particular answer when you define ISMS. You must ensure that you will not leave the valuable assets susceptible to unanticipated risks.

Create a Security Policy

You should have a strong policy to protect valuable information. The policy must have the flexibility to permit all participants to choose work as per their convenience. You have to work across different departments to ensure that each person understands the causes for policies and its requirements for appropriate implementation. A system may not work for all participants.

Choose the Controls to Decrease Your Risk

Once you determine the risk, you have to find out the ways to mitigate this risk and control it. These controls must efficiently cut the hazard of incursions. In ISO 27001, it is essential to compare controls that you may put in place with a list of best practices. While pursuing certification, you have to make SoA (Statement of Applicability) that addresses particular controls to apply and exclude or include it from plans.

Create a Plan for Risk Treatment

The plan addresses the way to address the risks that you classify during risk assessment. It works as a blueprint to decrease risk and address issues as they arise. You must create the necessary documentation and interconnect these documentations to your staff. It is an integral part of your business. Train your staff and create clear documentation on appropriate procedures to keep your business safe.

Adjust Regular Testing

The organizations need consistent change as they grow. You have to test your controls and system to ensure that you remain protected and safe. It will need efficient ISMS for ongoing nurturing and must bring some changes in systems, clientele, and personnel to change the security needs of your company. You can address the needs and move forward.

ISO 27001 Certified Associates to Dedicated Hosting and Cloud Environments

Extensive guidelines of ISO 27001 make it all-encompassing for information technology systems that may include cloud and dedicated hosting environments and your data centers.

ISO 27001 is a part of a widely recognized ISO 27000 series. The series is extensively documented and use particular standards related to the ICT security systems. The CSCC (cloud standards (principles) customer council) notes two main standards like 27001 & 27002. The ISO 27001 is flexible for different types of companies to satisfy their security needs. This flexibility is excellent because the parameters remain pragmatic and reasonable.

The element that you may have to consider while looking at hosts is the method in which these elements are involved with ISMS procedures. It can be a challenge for many organizations to implement these standards. You have to focus on core procedures sourced from the information of the company. These are important to offer the real value to users.

Getting ISO 27001 certified is helpful to describe and shape the goals of your company and goals. You have to focus on supporting procedures. These procedures don’t have value for users and customers. These procedures are tasked with monitoring and administration for support of core and management procedures. For example, human resources, financial management, and IT management.

The compliance may be confusing and stressful, but you will get its vast benefits from a dedicated or cloud host. With ISO 27001, you can review IT systems of your organization. To increase the trust of your company among customers, you will need different compliance certifications and ISO 27001 is one of them.

Looking to get ISO 27001 certification for your business?

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ISO 27001 Information Security In Project Management

ISO 27001 Information Security In Project Management

ISO 27001 Information Security ensures security in any project. Project Managers are certainly not expected to be experts in information security, however by including and integrating ISO 27001 Information Security within different phases, procedures and processes of each project, most importantly in project initiation and planning, project communication and project deliverable Project Managers can avail a secured opportunity and platform to deliver more secure and safe systems.

Considering the latest edition ISO 27001:2013, the inclusion of information security is a totally new feature which aims to integrate within different Project Management processes and procedures. Get further information and understanding of ISO 27001 (ISMS) Information Security Management System to grasp the in-depth understanding of its procedures. ISO 27001 integration and implementation of security needs within Project Management irrespective of the type and size of a project as per Annex A.6.1.5 – Information Security in Project Management.

What is needed to establish ISO 27001 Information Security in Project Management?

All projects whether internal or external needs resources, activities to progress and estimated time for completion of each project as per assigned milestones. Information Security can be integrated and implementation in different Project Management activities such as:

  • Include and properly integrate information security within project objectives and deliverables. It is important to set measurable security objectives in order to have a well-secured plan with minimal lope holes for security breach or threat. Specific deliverables will indicate as measurable. Having measurable objectives such as; the company aims to decrease the information security threats, breaches and incidents by 50% at the end of 2018. This is a specific goal, where the project manager understands what is required and when is it required.
  • Implementation of risk assessment in the initial stages of the project. Risk Assessment is considered as the most difficult yet very important part of any Information Security Project. If you have the standard tools, resources and clear objectives of what is needed than having a clear and extensive risk assessment at the start of the project can reduce the chances of failure in the project. The main aim of information security in project management is to minimize the occurrence of incidents by assessing risks throughout the project baseline. As a project manager, you also need to categorize those risks on the basis of their severity and importance so that each risk can be handled as per its importance to the project.
  • Identify and apply treatment for the identified risks during the initiation phase and make sure to implement required security measures for each identified risk.
  • Make sure to make the information security policy an obligatory part of all the phases and stages of a project.

Please note that it is crucially important to include and integrate ISO 27001 information security management in different project activities, especially of those projects which directly deals with sensitive information and target confidentiality and integrity.

What are the benefits of ISO 27001 Information Security in Project Management?

If you follow and implement information security within your organization it will always stay a part of your management and thus will be implemented in all of your projects. Thus, the organization will also be accountable to and comply with all the clauses and requirements set forward by ISO 27001.

This immediate control will also help to provide required significance and presence to the information security within the organization, which works as a positive set point for any project.

Since it isn’t viewed as a basic necessity of a standard, however as a basic parameter in addressing to and executing any project within the organization. Some prominent benefits of Information Security in Project Management are:

  • It helps the project managers secure the information available in any form within the project including, the company secured documents, digital database, data and information devices and cloud servers etc.
  • It increases resilience to different security threats, including data breaches and cyber-attacks.
  • ISO 27001 provides a single platform or database to manage information security of all projects under one roof while keeping the sensitive information of your organization safe.
  • By implementing ISO 27001 Information Security Management System within the projects especially through the initiation phase, organizations can detect and identify potential risks and respond accordingly. Thus, provides a more secure way to reduce threats of reoccurring risks.


Generally, it is accentuated that information security is a process and not a separate project. However, it is important to understand that each part or component of information security should be taken as a project and must be treated and applied accordingly within the organization and its projects.

The establishment of information security must be taken as a core pillar or basic foundation of any organization and must be integrated seamlessly into the project objectives, activities, and deliverable. Establishment of a successful and secured development policy should be taken as a basic pillar for a secure service.

Looking to get ISO 27001 certification for your business?

What questions do you have and how can we help?

ISO 27001 Information Security In Project Management