Cybersecurity is an important aspect of business that organizations are beginning to pay attention to all over the world. Although organizations usually adopt their own strategic measures to handle and shield their networks from potential cyberattack, many of these measures are often inadequate. To guarantee maximum protection against shifting cyber threats, every organization needs to be abreast of cybersecurity best practices.
It isn’t enough to recruit the best team of cybersecurity experts. Companies are starting to enter into cybersecurity alliances and collaboration with one another as a result of their lack of trust in policy makers. Many companies believe policy makers don’t take dynamic measures in cybersecurity like they do with physical and social security.
One of the results of this community collaboration is the establishment of the Center for Internet Security (CIS) in 2000. CIS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that develops cybersecurity best practices for organizations and governments. One of these practices is the Critical Security Control (CSC). Looking to improve your cybersecurity posture? Start by implementing these best practices according to the Center for Internet Security’s Critical Security Controls (CIS CSC).
What are the Contributions of CIS CSC to Cybersecurity?
As cyberattackers continue to wax stronger in their methods and sophistications, corresponding cybersecurity measures also need to evolve on a regular basis.
When the internet became popularized in the early 90s, there was no specialized framework for protecting individual users and companies against the vicious onslaught of cybercriminals. The CIS was established in October, 2000 to address the alarming increase of cybercrime.
The CIS drafted a charter listing two major goals, namely;
- to identify and sustain best practice solutions for cybersecurity
- to build communities to enable an environment of safety and trust in cyberspace.
Its driving mission is to make the internet more secure for every user through joint collaboration and innovation in devising new cybersecurity measures and evolving old ones.
Since its core idea is rooted in collaboration, the CIS works with a vast network of government agencies, large corporations and other private stakeholders represented by top-of-the-line IT security professionals.
Apart from critical security controls (CSC), the CIS also runs other trademarked cybersecurity services and initiatives. Some of the other major functions of the CIS are listed below.
- CIS Benchmarks™
- Hardened Images®
- Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center® (MS-ISAC®)
- Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center® (EI-ISAC®)
- CIS SecureSuite®
- Network Monitoring – Albert
- CIS CyberMarket®
What are the CIS Critical Security Controls(CSC)?
The major focus of the CIS is to fill the huge void caused by the hesitation or failure of policy makers in government to formulate, regulate, and consolidate the best measures for the protection of internet users against cyberattacks.
While the CIS CSC isn’t strictly a regulatory compliance framework or agency for internet or cyber-related activities, it’s evolved its own effective framework that addresses the security concerns of any organization.
Failure to comply with the CIS CSC may not cause any substantial legal problems, but you may be undermining your organization’s cybersecurity.
The CIS CSC is an exhaustive compilation of cybersecurity best practices. As a response to the unprecedented wave of cyberattacks and the accompanying damage from security breach suffered by organizations in the US defense industrial base, the SANS Institute (also known as Escal Institute of Advanced Technologies) commenced a project focused on data security in 2008.
In 2015, the CIS took over ownership of the SANS Institute after a brief administration by Council on Cyber Security (CCS) 2 years earlier. This compilation was formerly known as the Consensus Audit Guidelines. It’s been regularly updated and is currently on its seventh version to match the growth in cybersecurity challenge.
The CIS CSC total 20 in number and are essential to the safety of any organization’s network systems. A knowledge of these critical security controls will help you to adopt the best cybersecurity practices for your organization and ultimately improve your cybersecurity posture.
The 20 CIS Controls & Resources
The 20 CIS CSC are categorized into three tiers. While you’re advised to adopt all 20 controls, you should begin with the first five controls under the Basic CIS Controls if you’re just starting out.
A. Basic CIS Controls
This list contains the following standard practices:
- Inventory and control of hardware assets
- Inventory and control of software assets
- Continuous vulnerability management
- Controlled use of administrative privileges
- Secure configuration for hardware and software on mobile devices, laptops, workstations, and servers
- Maintenance, monitoring and analysis of audit logs
B. Foundational CIS Controls
- Email and web browser protections
- Malware defense
- Limitation and control of network ports, protocols, and services
- Data recovery capability
- Secure configuration for network devices, such as firewalls, routers, and switches
- Boundary defense
- Data protection
- Controlled access based on a need to know
- Wireless access control
- Account monitoring and control
C. Organizational Controls
- Implement a security awareness and training program
- Application software security
- Incident response and management
- Penetration tests and red team exercises
Why You Should Adopt the CIS CSC
Many organizations applying the aforementioned practices usually experience a substantial improvement in their cybersecurity performance. It’s like the Bible of cybersecurity, proven to offer between 85 percent and 97 percent protection against cyberattacks depending on the extent of adoption.
Moreover, it’s frequently updated to reflect changes in the pattern and evolution of cyberattacks. It also simplifies the tool usage in clear terms and can be easily implemented by newcomers without sacrificing the quality of the resources.
By having access to the latest information on the cybersecurity patterns and trends that the CIS CSC offers and implementing them dutifully, you can never be caught by surprise. Whether you’re trying to close the worrying skill gap in your company’s IT Cybersecurity Department or simply improve your cybersecurity posture, adopting these best practices according to CIS CSC will benefit you tremendously.
In the world of cybersecurity, it’s very difficult or nearly impossible to fight off cyberattacks alone. You can’t rely solely on the IT department in your organization to protect your network from any potential cyberattack or even neutralize an active one. Just as the threat of cyberattack is inevitable, collaboration has become inevitable.
The CIS CSC is your first point of action to safeguard your organization from the hazards of security breach. But there may be some other concerns that may not be addressed by simply adopting the CIS CSC especially if you don’t have enough expertise. RSI Security will walk you through the entire cybersecurity apparatus and help you improve your cybersecurity posture.
Our experts at RSI Security have a duty to help you achieve a safe and secure cyber environment. Book a free consultation today and let’s strengthen your cybersecurity architecture together.
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