6 Types of Cybersecurity Compliance Frameworks

cybersecurity compliance

It’s hard to overstate the long-term impacts of a cybersecurity breach. Revenue loss, downtime, legal fees, and other effects contribute to a global average cost of $4.35 million per breach.

That’s without mentioning the loss of trust from customers and shareholders!

Worse, the cost might be even higher if you aren’t following the right cybersecurity compliance framework.

These frameworks lay out guidelines for data protection and digital security. While some are optional best practices, many are mandatory for certain businesses and industries.

Los Angeles IT Support Helps Ensure Cybersecurity Compliance

If you want to protect your organization while avoiding fines for non-compliance, you’ll need to keep the right frameworks in mind. Let’s take a look at six key frameworks worth considering and their guidelines for ensuring cybersecurity compliance.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is one of the largest cybersecurity compliance frameworks in the U.S.

NIST is a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Its cybersecurity framework was first created in 2014 for U.S. defense contractors. Industry leaders, academics, and government experts were stakeholders in the decision-making process.

Today, the NIST framework is popular with private and government organizations around the world. The best practices of this framework help users manage their cybersecurity protocols and reduce their risk.

There are five areas of focus:

  • Identify: identify equipment, software, and data that need protection
  • Protect: create protections for your systems and data
  • Detect: check for and investigate unusual activities and unauthorized access
  • Respond: respond to and contain attacks
  • Recover: recover from attacks and restore systems

Considering these main functions helps businesses assess and protect themselves from potential threats.


The HIPPA framework focuses on protecting patient privacy. Data protection is crucial in the medical industry, especially with patient health information (PHI) on the line.

HIPPA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Developed in 1996, this framework covers the various protections that healthcare organizations need to better protect patients.

There are three main types of safeguards.

First are administrative safeguards. These are the administrative procedures and policies that protect PHI.

Next are physical safeguards. These are measures that keep unauthorized individuals from gaining physical access to things they shouldn’t. These policies protect buildings, computers, and physical equipment and tools.

Last are technical safeguards. These tech security best practices ensure that organizations manage data in secure ways. They can also reduce the risk of cyber attacks.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) protects data for citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). Even businesses located elsewhere must follow GDPR standards if they store any data from users who live in the EU or EEA.

The framework of GDPR covers many of the same standards as other frameworks. In addition, it lays out specific requirements for things like data breach notifications, the use of cookies, and user-friendly privacy notices.

The GDPR stands behind seven key principles of data protection:

  • Lawfulness: maintains fairness when processing personal data
  • Purpose limitation: allows users to understand what companies will do with their data
  • Data minimization: forces companies to collect the minimum amount of data
  • Accuracy: ensures the accuracy of collected data
  • Storage limitation: forces companies to delete data when it is no longer needed
  • Security: focuses on secure data processing
  • Accountability: makes businesses take responsibility for adhering to these principles

Fines for failing to comply can be expensive. The GDPR is often strict about enforcing its standards and penalizing companies who breach consumer rights.

4. ISO

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has created many industry standards. The ISO standards ensure that organizations follow standard tech security procedures. This includes compliance in terms of equipment, employees, and processes.

Companies can get ISO certification through a rigorous inspection process. ISO certification helps organizations show they are focused on the best practices for cyber risk management. This can be crucial for gaining customer and shareholder trust.

There are many different types of ISO certifications. ISO/IEC 27001 and 27002 are both ideal for cybersecurity.


PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. As the name suggests, the credit card industry developed these standards for the management of credit card data. The goal is to protect consumers from data breaches.

Annual compliance checks help protect cardholder data.

Failing to comply with PCI DSS isn’t illegal. However, organizations that don’t meet the framework’s standards may have to pay fines.

They may also be unable to keep their merchant license. This can put merchants at a higher risk of cyber attacks and make it impossible to process credit cards.

PCI DSS focuses on several key cybersecurity principles:

  • Build and maintain secure network controls
  • Focus on secure configuration for all systems
  • Protect stored cardholder data
  • Use strong passwords and cryptography
  • Protect systems from malware and cyberattacks
  • Develop secure apps and systems
  • Limit access to cardholder data to a need-to-know basis
  • Limit physical access to cardholder data
  • Monitor network and data access
  • Test security processes and systems
  • Develop a cybersecurity policy

Note that these requirements should not be “one-and-done” procedures. Organizations must show that they are constantly maintaining and updating their security practices.


Last, but not least, is the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). This framework protects federal agencies from cyber threats. It’s also necessary for contractors, vendors, and other parties who do work on behalf of the U.S. government.

FISMA outlines the minimum requirements for risk management and security maintenance. It calls for organizations to maintain and organize their digital systems, IT infrastructure, and sensitive information. It also requires regular cybersecurity risk assessments and security reviews.

Focus on Your Cybersecurity Compliance

Whether you’re hoping to protect user data or avoid the latest computer viruses, the right framework can help. The cybersecurity compliance frameworks above allow organizations to heighten their security and minimize their risk. Even better, adhering to these frameworks shows a commitment to data protection and superior security.

That’s where an experienced IT firm like Be Structured comes in. Complying with any required frameworks can be hard for small businesses, but our team can help. Get in touch with us today to learn what we can do.

About Chad Lauterbach

CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, Inc. a Los Angeles based provider of Managed IT Services for small business. I desire to help small businesses better utilize technology by assisting in high level planning to make sure that new systems will benefit them both operationally and financially. I am careful to implement and support systems using industry best practices.