4 Reasons to Manage Cybersecurity Controls with a Metaframework

4 minute read

November 2021

The modern cybersecurity program faces more challenges today than ever before. New worldwide directives and increased cyberattacks put pressure on organizations to manage their cybersecurity controls effectively. CISOs must implement and prove the existence of a standardized program that addresses internal and external cybersecurity risks. Unfortunately, many programs jeopardize their organization’s viability by failing to develop a control library that can keep pace with the changes.  

Why? The answer is simple: CISOs lack the necessary visibility into key aspects of their organization – risks, controls, high-value assets and their third parties’ cybersecurity practices. Without a framework for standardizing their cybersecurity controls, CISOs cannot map and manage their risks at the scale demanded today.  

Even with a cybersecurity framework, organizations can struggle to identify compliance gaps. Programs often must map their data across multiple frameworks, regulations and standards, creating a tedious process that stifles program maturity. This manual process results in a duplication of controls, making it more time-consuming to assess control effectiveness across different regulations and standards. 

Cybersecurity programs that have struggled with these challenges find success in adopting a metaframework. A metaframework helps organizations consolidate their control library to eliminate duplication, identify security gaps and drive program efficiency. 

Cybersecurity: Standard Frameworks vs. A Metaframework

Common standard cybersecurity frameworks include NIST 800-53ISO 27002 and COBIT. These frameworks help programs to implement controls based on industry or government requirements.  NIST 800-53 focuses on information security; ISO 27002 focuses on privacy and confidentiality; COBIT focuses on IT Management. 

The benefit of a standard framework is that it is widely recognized for its validity; the downside is that it rarely provides control coverage beyond a single standard. Most cybersecurity programs end up pulling controls from multiple standard frameworks to meet their requirements. As a result, they end up with redundant or duplicate controls that can be assessed multiple time unnecessarily.  

A metaframework, or a “framework of frameworks,” addresses this issue by providing a centralized library of controls that are pre-mapped to industry regulations and standards, including NIST, ISO, GDPR, HIPAA and many more. Single controls are crosswalked to each regulation and standard that they apply to, eliminating control duplication while ensuring complete coverage. 

A metaframework such as the Secure Controls Framework (SCF) provides organizations with a comprehensive control set across multiple standard frameworks. The SCF includes over 999 controls related to privacy and information security. 

What’s more, these controls are pre-mapped across industry standards and regulations, helping to consolidate an organization’s control library. Instead of manually filling in the gaps between frameworks, programs can map one control to every regulation and standard that it applies. For example, the GOV-01 Security & Privacy Governance Program control from the SCF covers 13 provisions from 9 different regulations and standards associated with it: 

Secure Controls Framework Security Governance Program

Download our free cybersecurity frameworks guide to learn more about mapping your cybersecurity controls. 

Why You Should Standardize Your Cybersecurity Controls with a Metaframework

The beauty of a metaframework is that it can be tailored to the specific requirements of an organization. Organizations select the regulations and standards that apply to them and receive a library of associated controls. Once adopted, it serves as a point of origination for the entire cybersecurity program and helps:  

  1. Consolidate Cybersecurity Controls: The metaframework naturally eliminates control duplication by allowing one control to map to various standards and regulations. With a “map once, satisfy many” approach, CISOs clarify security gaps and easily prove compliance. Consolidation also streamlines upstream mapping of your controls to your business data.  
  2. Establish Cybersecurity Accountability: The metaframework enables seamless integration with an organization’s business data – third parties, risks, owners and requirements. By mapping business data to the metaframework, enterprise-wide accountability is established for cybersecurity objectives. CISOs gain direct visibility on everything influencing a control’s effectiveness rating.  
  3. Streamline Control Assessments: The metaframework creates a full picture of issue areas with much-needed visibility into the influences on a control. CISOs can raise remediation projects faster and keep cybersecurity objectives on track.  
  4. Mature Your Cybersecurity Program: The metaframework outlines a clear map of organization-wide cybersecurity efforts that can be used to determine program resource allocation and project prioritization. It can help prove compliance for executive-level and board reporting. Lastly, adopting a metaframework reduces the time and effort to achieve or renew certifications.  

Implement a Metaframework with ProcessUnity Cybersecurity Program Management

ProcessUnity Cybersecurity Program Management (CPM) leverages a metaframework to provide an out-of-the-box solution for centrally managing an organization’s entire cybersecurity program. ProcessUnity CPM enables the CISO to adopt a tailored control set that seamlessly maps business data for enterprise-wide visibility on cybersecurity. The self-configuring metaframework is built into the platform to ensure complete control coverage and help an organization prove compliance.  

To learn more about how your organization can adopt a metaframework with ProcessUnity Cybersecurity Program Management, request a demo today. 

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