Skip to content

Is CIS based on NIST?

Explore some of our latest AI related thought leadership and research

6clicks has been built for cyber risk and compliance professionals to automate and streamline security compliance, IT risk management, vendor risk management, incident management, and more.

Learn more about our Hub & Spoke architecture, Hailey AI engine and explore the other content in our platform here

Risk, threat and vulnerability - what's the difference?

Risk, threat and vulnerability - what's the difference?

What is the difference between NIST 800-53 and NIST CSF?

What is the difference between NIST 800-53 and NIST CSF?

The top 5 vendor risk assessment questionnaires for 2023

The top 5 vendor risk assessment questionnaires for 2023

What is a risk register and how to automate

What is a risk register and why is it important?

Top management's key responsibilities for ISO 27001 implementation

Top management's key responsibilities for ISO 27001 implementation

The founder’s story: How 6clicks was born and what’s behind the name

The founder’s story: How 6clicks was born and what’s behind the name


What is CIS?

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the cybersecurity posture of government agencies and private businesses. CIS provides comprehensive resources, guidelines, and best practices to help organizations enhance their security controls and defend against cyber threats. Their primary initiative, the CIS Controls, offers a set of prioritized actions designed to mitigate risk and protect critical assets. By aligning these controls with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, CIS ensures a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. Through their collaboration with industry experts, government agencies, and security professionals, CIS plays a crucial role in strengthening organizations' cybersecurity programs and fostering a more secure online environment. Let's delve deeper into how CIS utilizes the NIST cybersecurity framework to enhance cybersecurity efforts and achieve common cybersecurity goals.

What is NIST?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that develops and promotes standards, guidelines, and best practices to enhance the cybersecurity posture of organizations across various sectors. One of its key contributions in the field of cybersecurity is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF).

The NIST CSF is a voluntary framework that provides a risk-based approach to managing cybersecurity risk. It helps organizations identify, protect, detect, respond to, and recover from cyber threats. The framework consists of three main components: the Framework Core, the Framework Implementation Tiers, and the Framework Profiles.

The Framework Core is a set of cybersecurity activities, outcomes, and informative references organized into five functions - Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. These functions serve as the foundation for building a comprehensive cybersecurity program.

The Framework Implementation Tiers illustrate the level of an organization's cybersecurity risk management processes and the extent to which those processes are institutionalized and characterized by risk management practices. The tiers range from Partial, Risk Informed, Repeatable, and Adaptive, with increasing levels of cybersecurity maturity and effectiveness.

Lastly, the Framework Profiles enable organizations to align their cybersecurity efforts with their business requirements, risk tolerance, and available resources. Profiles allow organizations to establish a roadmap for improving their cybersecurity posture by identifying and prioritizing areas for improvement based on the Framework Core.

By utilizing the NIST CSF, organizations can enhance their cybersecurity controls, mitigate cyber risks, and align their cybersecurity programs with industry best practices. It is a valuable resource for government agencies, federal agencies, private businesses, and nonprofit organizations looking to elevate their level of security and strengthen their cybersecurity defenses.

Is CIS based on NIST?

While the CIS (Center for Internet Security) and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) are both well-known entities in the realm of cybersecurity, they have distinct purposes and functions. While there are similarities between CIS and NIST, it is important to note that CIS is not based on NIST, but rather, they have complementary goals and work towards enhancing cybersecurity in different ways.

NIST is a federal agency that develops and promotes standards, guidelines, and best practices for various sectors, including cybersecurity. Their most notable contribution to the cybersecurity community is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). It is a comprehensive framework that provides a risk-based approach to managing cybersecurity risk and is widely used by both public and private organizations.

On the other hand, CIS is a non-profit organization that focuses on improving the cybersecurity posture of organizations. They have developed the CIS Controls, a set of internationally recognized best practice guidelines for securing an organization's IT systems and data. The CIS Controls provide specific actions that organizations can take to protect against common cyber threats.

While there are similarities between the CIS Controls and the NIST CSF, such as their focus on risk management and the protection of critical assets, the CIS Controls are not based on the NIST framework. However, organizations can leverage components from both frameworks to enhance their overall cybersecurity strategy. Ultimately, CIS and NIST share common goals of promoting cybersecurity practices and mitigating cyber risks, but they do so through different frameworks and approaches.

Background information

NIST and CIS are two prominent entities in the field of cybersecurity, both aiming to enhance security measures and protect organizations from cyber threats. NIST, a federal agency, is renowned for its development and promotion of standards, guidelines, and best practices across various sectors, including cybersecurity. One of its significant contributions is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), which follows a risk-based approach to manage cybersecurity risks. This framework has been widely adopted by both public and private organizations, offering valuable insights and actionable strategies to bolster their security posture. On the other hand, CIS, a nonprofit organization, focuses solely on improving cybersecurity postures. Through the development of the CIS Controls, internationally recognized best practice guidelines, CIS assists organizations in safeguarding their IT systems and data. These controls provide organizations with specific actions and preventive measures to mitigate common cyber threats and vulnerabilities. With both NIST and CIS playing pivotal roles in proactively addressing cybersecurity challenges, organizations can better establish robust security measures and deliver enhanced protection against potential cyber risks.

Overview of the CIS controls

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) Controls is a set of guidelines designed to enhance the security posture of organizations. Developed by a nonprofit organization, the CIS Controls provide a framework for implementing a robust cybersecurity strategy and mitigating cyber threats. The controls are based on real-world cyber attacks and are continually updated to address emerging threats.

The CIS Controls consist of 20 categories, which cover various aspects of cybersecurity such as inventory and control of hardware and software assets, vulnerability management, secure configuration, and continuous monitoring. These controls are organized based on their priority and importance in reducing an organization's risk profile.

The purpose of the CIS Controls is to provide organizations with a prioritized and actionable approach to cybersecurity. By following the guidelines and recommended actions provided by the controls, organizations can establish a strong cybersecurity foundation and protect their critical assets effectively. The controls also help organizations in aligning their cybersecurity efforts with industry standards and best practices.

Prioritizing cybersecurity efforts is crucial for organizations with limited resources and expertise. The CIS Controls offer a practical and comprehensive framework that helps organizations identify and focus on the most critical security controls first, thus optimizing their cybersecurity programs. By implementing the CIS Controls, organizations can strengthen their security posture and minimize the risks posed by cyber threats.

Overview of the NIST cybersecurity framework (CSF)

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is a widely recognized and widely adopted framework that provides guidance for organizations to manage and improve their cybersecurity posture. It was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in response to an executive order in the United States, with the goal of enhancing the security and resilience of critical infrastructure.

The NIST CSF is organized into five core functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. Each function represents a distinct aspect of cybersecurity management, and together they provide a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.

The first function, Identify, focuses on understanding and managing cybersecurity risks to systems, assets, data, and capabilities. It involves activities such as asset management, risk assessment, and establishing a baseline of organizational requirements for cybersecurity.

The second function, Protect, involves implementing safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical infrastructure services. This includes activities such as access control, awareness and training, and implementing protective measures.

The third function, Detect, is focused on continuous monitoring and timely identification of cybersecurity events. It includes activities such as anomaly detection, security event monitoring, and incident response capabilities.

The fourth function, Respond, involves taking appropriate action to mitigate the impact of a cybersecurity event. This includes activities such as incident response planning, response coordination, and communication.

The fifth function, Recover, focuses on restoring the capabilities and services impacted by a cybersecurity event. It includes activities such as recovery planning, improvements based on lessons learned, and coordination with external stakeholders.

The NIST CSF provides a flexible and customizable framework that can be tailored to the specific needs of organizations in different industries and sectors. It provides a common language and a set of best practices to help organizations effectively manage and improve their cybersecurity posture.

Similarities between the CIS and NIST frameworks

The CIS (Center for Internet Security) and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) frameworks have several similarities in their approach to cybersecurity.

Firstly, both frameworks are comprehensive in nature, providing organizations with a structured set of guidelines and controls to enhance their cybersecurity posture. The CIS framework offers the CIS Controls, which are a prioritized set of security measures to defend against the most common cyber threats. Similarly, the NIST framework provides the Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), which offers a flexible, risk-based approach to managing cybersecurity risks.

Secondly, both organizations have been active in the cybersecurity space since the late 1990s. The CIS was formed in 2000 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources and tools to help organizations improve their cybersecurity. The NIST has been instrumental in developing standards and guidelines for various industries since the late 1990s, including the well-known NIST Special Publication 800-53.

Furthermore, both frameworks have a global reach, with organizations worldwide utilizing their resources. The CIS framework is utilized by companies in over 170 countries, demonstrating its widespread adoption. Similarly, the NIST's standards and guidelines are commonly used by organizations around the world, enabling a global understanding and approach to cybersecurity.

Differences between the CIS and NIST frameworks

The CIS and NIST frameworks differ in several key aspects, offering unique features and advantages to organizations seeking to improve their cybersecurity posture.

One distinctive feature of the NIST framework is its customizable nature. It provides organizations with a flexible, risk-based approach to managing cybersecurity risks, allowing them to tailor the framework to their specific needs and requirements. This customization ensures that organizations can prioritize and allocate resources effectively to address their individual cybersecurity challenges.

On the other hand, the CIS framework stands out for its prioritization approach. The CIS Controls offer a well-defined, prioritized set of security measures that organizations can implement to defend against the most common cyber threats. By focusing on the most critical security controls first, organizations can enhance their security posture and mitigate the highest risks more efficiently.

The CIS framework may be particularly attractive to organizations without a comprehensive security policy in place, as it provides a clear roadmap for improving cybersecurity. It offers a structured approach for organizations to follow, helping them establish a baseline of essential security measures and gradually strengthen their security defenses.

In contrast, the NIST framework is mandatory for federal agencies and government contractors, making it an essential requirement for organizations operating in these sectors. Compliance with the NIST framework ensures that these organizations meet the necessary security standards and guidelines established by the government.

Advantages of combining the two frameworks

Combining the NIST and CIS frameworks can offer organizations several advantages in managing their cybersecurity efforts. By integrating the customizable nature of the NIST framework with the prioritized approach of the CIS Controls, organizations can create a comprehensive and effective cybersecurity strategy.

Firstly, the customizable nature of the NIST framework allows organizations to tailor their cybersecurity efforts to their specific needs and requirements. This flexibility enables organizations to prioritize their critical assets and allocate resources accordingly, resulting in a more efficient and targeted cybersecurity program.

Secondly, the prioritized approach of the CIS Controls ensures that organizations address the most common and significant cyber threats first. By implementing the highest-priority security measures identified by the CIS Controls, organizations can enhance their security posture and mitigate the highest risks more effectively.

Furthermore, combining these two frameworks provides organizations with a structured roadmap for improving cybersecurity. The CIS Controls can serve as a starting point, offering a baseline of essential security measures, while the NIST framework can be utilized to customize and refine these controls to suit specific organizational needs.

Additionally, the NIST framework's mandatory requirement for federal agencies and government contractors makes it an essential consideration for organizations operating in these sectors. By combining the NIST framework with the prioritized approach of the CIS Controls, organizations can ensure compliance with government security standards while effectively defending against prevalent cyber threats.

Strengthening security posture with combined frameworks

Combining the CIS controls and the NIST cybersecurity framework can significantly strengthen an organization's security posture. The CIS controls provide a prioritized approach to addressing common cyber threats, while the NIST framework offers a customizable framework to tailor security efforts to specific organizational needs.

By integrating these frameworks, organizations can achieve a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. The CIS controls identify and prioritize security measures based on their effectiveness in mitigating risks, ensuring that organizations focus on the most critical threats first. On the other hand, the NIST framework allows organizations to customize their security program based on their unique requirements and priorities. This combined approach ensures that organizations address both common threats and specific vulnerabilities.

This marriage of frameworks also brings several advantages. Firstly, it provides a structured roadmap for improving cybersecurity, helping organizations identify and implement essential security measures. Secondly, it enhances risk management efforts by ensuring that organizations allocate resources and attention to the most critical areas. Additionally, it facilitates compliance with industry standards and regulations, as both frameworks align with widely recognized best practices.

Optimizing risk management strategies with combined frameworks

Combining the CIS and NIST frameworks can optimize risk management strategies in cybersecurity by providing a comprehensive approach to risk assessment, identification, and response.

The CIS controls prioritize security measures based on their effectiveness in mitigating risks. By integrating these controls with the NIST framework, organizations can customize their security program to address their unique requirements and priorities. This combined approach ensures that organizations focus on the most critical threats first while also addressing specific vulnerabilities.

Utilizing both frameworks brings several benefits. Firstly, it provides a structured roadmap for improving cybersecurity, helping organizations identify and implement essential security measures. This ensures that resources and attention are allocated to the most critical areas, enhancing risk management efforts.

Secondly, the combined frameworks enhance system security by addressing both common threats and specific vulnerabilities. By utilizing the CIS controls and the risk management approach provided by NIST, organizations can establish a robust security posture.

Furthermore, the frameworks enable better vulnerability identification by providing guidelines and benchmarks for evaluating current security postures. Organizations can identify any gaps or weaknesses in their security measures and take proactive steps to address them.

Lastly, utilizing both frameworks allows organizations to provide targeted security training for employees. By following the guidelines and controls outlined in the CIS and NIST frameworks, organizations can ensure that employees have the necessary knowledge and skills to mitigate cyber risks effectively.

Enhancing compliance efforts with combined frameworks

Combining the CIS and NIST frameworks offers organizations a powerful approach to enhancing compliance efforts in cybersecurity. By integrating these frameworks, organizations can benefit from a comprehensive set of guidelines and best practices to meet mandatory compliance standards.

Firstly, the combined frameworks provide a clear roadmap for organizations to follow in order to improve their cybersecurity posture and adhere to compliance requirements. The CIS controls prioritize security measures based on their effectiveness in mitigating risks, while the NIST framework provides a risk management approach. This combined approach ensures that organizations address the most critical threats and vulnerabilities, aligning their efforts with compliance mandates.

Secondly, the frameworks offer organizations flexibility in tailoring their cybersecurity initiatives to meet specific requirements. The CIS controls provide a flexible set of security measures that can be customized based on an organization's industry, size, and risk profile. The NIST framework, on the other hand, offers a holistic approach to cybersecurity with its comprehensive guidelines. By combining these frameworks, organizations can adapt their cybersecurity strategies to their unique needs while still meeting mandatory compliance standards.

Implementation considerations

When combining the CIS and NIST frameworks, there are several important implementation considerations to keep in mind.

Firstly, organizations need to prioritize controls based on their risk and impact. Both frameworks offer a wide range of cybersecurity controls, and it is essential to assess the specific risks and vulnerabilities faced by the organization. By determining the most critical threats, organizations can allocate resources and focus on implementing controls that effectively mitigate those risks.

Secondly, an incremental implementation approach is advisable. Rather than trying to implement all controls at once, organizations should prioritize and implement controls in phases. This allows for a more manageable implementation process, minimizing disruptions and ensuring that controls are properly integrated into existing systems and processes.

One of the benefits of combining these frameworks is the ability to leverage established frameworks. Both CIS and NIST frameworks have been developed and refined by cybersecurity professionals over time, making them reliable and trusted resources. By leveraging these established frameworks, organizations can benefit from best practices, industry standards, and proven methodologies, saving time and effort in developing their own frameworks from scratch.

Potential challenges in implementing both frameworks simultaneously

Implementing both the CIS and NIST frameworks simultaneously can present several potential challenges for organizations. One of the challenges is the complexity involved in understanding and implementing the vast number of controls provided by both frameworks. Each framework offers its own set of controls, and identifying the overlapping controls and determining which ones are applicable to the organization's specific needs can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

Additionally, there may be instances where the frameworks overlap or conflict with each other. These conflicts can arise from differences in terminology, scope, or implementation guidance. Organizations may face difficulties in reconciling conflicting guidance and may need to seek expert advice or conduct extensive analysis to ensure a harmonious integration of the frameworks.

Another challenge lies in the resource constraints that organizations may face. Implementing both frameworks requires a significant investment of time, money, and expertise. Many organizations, especially smaller ones or those with limited cybersecurity expertise, may struggle to allocate sufficient resources to effectively implement both frameworks simultaneously. This constraint can lead to a slower implementation process, potentially leaving critical assets and information exposed to cyber threats.

Therefore, it is crucial for organizations to balance the requirements of both frameworks to ensure effective implementation. This can be achieved by conducting a thorough risk assessment to prioritize controls, seeking guidance from cybersecurity professionals, and adopting a phased approach to implementation. By considering these challenges and balancing the requirements of both frameworks, organizations can enhance their cybersecurity posture and mitigate potential risks effectively.

General thought leadership and news

A little Chat about the future of Search in the world of AI-powered GRC

A little Chat about the future of Search in the world of AI-powered GRC

Hi everyone, Greg here to give you some early insights about how 6clicks is gearing up to redefine the future of search within our software platform....

AI's impact on cybersecurity

AI's impact on cybersecurity

Discover how artificial intelligence is transforming the field of cybersecurity and enhancing protection against cyber threats.

Unleashing the Potential of Augmented Generation for GRC

Unleashing the Potential of Augmented Generation for GRC

Discover how the implementation of Augmented Generation can revolutionize Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) strategies in businesses.

Press Release: Continuous control monitoring for automated security compliance

6clicks announces continuous control monitoring

6clicks, an AI-powered cyber Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) platform, is excited to announce that they are developing a new continuous control...

IRAP Assessed GRC Platform for Australian Government

An Overview of the IRAP Assessed GRC Platform for Australian Government

What is an IRAP Assessed GRC? An IRAP Assessed GRC platform, or Information Security Registered Assessor Program Assessed Governance, Risk, and...

Streamline compliance with 6clicks' authority gap assessment

Streamline compliance with 6clicks' authority gap assessment

Staying compliant with standards and frameworks relevant to your organization can be challenging in an ever-shifting regulatory environment. It...