ISO 27001 and NIST both involve establishing information security controls, but the scope for each varies on how they approach information security.
What is ISO 27001?
ISO 27001 is the international standard for creating a best-practice information security management system (ISMS). It is a rigorous and comprehensive specification for protecting and preserving your information under the principles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
The standard offers a set of best-practice controls that can be applied to your organization based on the risks you face and implemented in a structured manner to achieve externally assessed and certified compliance.
What is NIST and the NIST CSF (Cybersecurity Framework)?
NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) is a non-regulatory agency that promotes and maintains standards of measurement to enhance economic security and business performance.
The NIST CSF (Cybersecurity Framework) is a voluntary framework primarily intended to manage and mitigate cybersecurity risk for critical infrastructure organizations based on existing standards, guidelines, and practices. However, the CSF has proven to be flexible enough to also be implemented by non-US and non-critical infrastructure organizations. The CSF is a living document – it recognizes that continual improvement is necessary to adapt to changing industry needs.
NIST RMF (Risk Management Framework)
Any company that has a heavy reliance on technology can benefit from implementing the NIST Cyber Security Framework (CSF) guidelines. The NIST CSF uses five overarching functions to allow companies to customize their cybersecurity measures to best meet their goals and the unique challenges that they face.
NIST SPs (Special Publications) 800-53 and 800-171
NIST SP 800-53 “Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations” recommends controls for all US federal information systems (excluding those in national security).
As NIST SP 800-53 contains a tremendous set of 272 recommended controls, NIST created SP 800-171, a simplified version with just 114 controls, serving as a more approachable framework for contractors to implement.
NIST SP 800-37 develops the next-generation Risk Management Framework (RMF) for information systems, organizations, and individuals. It was issued in response to executive branch orders to strengthen the cybersecurity of federal networks and assets, and it is the first NIST publication to address both security and privacy risk management. The RMF relies on the control catalog in NIST SP 800-53.