Posted on September 1, 2021.

No matter what industry you conduct business in, cybersecurity is always a concern. To ensure that your company is well-protected, Sanity Solutions recommends you conduct a security gap analysis.

Whether it be in the private or public sector, the United States is dependent on a network infrastructure where critical information is secure. Breaches in security are not only bad for your company’s bottom line, but they can also do some real damage to society. Importantly, your business can conduct a security gap analysis to lay out a foundation that will help avoid any costly cyber attacks. 

Security Gap Analysis is Essential for Strategic Planning 

All organizations should have some type of cybersecurity program in place. The most surefire way to establish a functional cybersecurity program is to create clarity around your organization’s security posture, and identify any gaps within that program. 

What is a Security Gap Assessment?  

According to the website TechGenix, the goal of any security gap assessment is “to continually improve and move closer to the desired security position, and to transition security from its current state to its future improved state.” As such, a security gap analysis is best thought of as a process you develop to continually refine and advance your cybersecurity protocol. 

In cybersecurity, an assessment refers to a very specific type of engagement with a security framework. There are several different types of security frameworks in gap assessments – these vary with the type of operation and subsequent security requirements. 

What is a Cybersecurity Framework? 

As part of the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (CEA) of 2014, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed cybersecurity frameworks that can be utilized as means for organizations to protect sensitive data. These frameworks are cybersecurity blueprints that have been created for different types of organizations. To illustrate, two private defense contractors will likely utilize the same type of framework. Conversely, government agencies will use different frameworks than private companies. 

All cybersecurity frameworks have the same constituent parts

  1. Framework Core
  2. Implementation Tiers
  3. Framework Profiles 

Choosing the Right Framework for Your Security Gap Analysis 

NIST has put together several frameworks to be used for security gap analyses. The type of operation you are running will dictate which framework will work best for your needs. 

NIST CSF provides a flexible framework that any organization can use for creating and maintaining an effective cybersecurity program. The NIST CSF framework is a common choice for businesses interested in protecting their data. 

NIST 800-53 is most commonly used by government agencies. The NIST 800-53 framework aids federal agencies and entities doing business with them on compliance issues as per the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA). 

NIST 800-171 is generally used for private defense organizations, as opposed to government organizations. This framework provides direction for protecting data that is considered sensitive but not classified. 

ISO/IEC can be used by organizations of all sizes, but makes the most financial sense for larger operations. This framework was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It is a comprehensive framework intended to maintain best practices in cybersecurity. 

The Security Gap Analysis Process 

Once you have decided on a cybersecurity framework, you can begin rolling out your security gap analysis. 

Your security gap analysis will begin with a thorough audit of your cybersecurity controls, processes, and procedures. Using a 3rd party auditor, you will gather critical data about the IT environment, hardware, software and application inventory, as well as security controls and policies. 

Once you have assessed the data from the audit, you should present the information to key stakeholders. Importantly, you should explain potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities and offer practical solutions. 

At this point, stakeholders will need to develop a budget for addressing security gaps, and risk based on reported weaknesses and future objectives. Next, you will need to determine timelines and figure out what exactly is needed to address these gaps.

Finally, you will prioritize the projects that need the most immediate attention and get started. It’s also a good idea to revise your cybersecurity plan on a regular basis. 

Let Sanity Solutions Conduct Your Gap Assessment 

Breaches in security are not only financially burdensome, but they can have wide-ranging impacts across society. As such, it’s critical that your organization take the appropriate steps to protect sensitive data. The most surefire way to insulate your operation from cyber attacks is by implementing a functional security gap analysis program. 

Once operational, your security plan must evolve to stay ahead of newly emerging cyber threats. Some organizations are best served by a 3rd party business such as Sanity Solutions. This notion is particularly true for operations that must maintain compliance with specific industry standards or regulations (GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, PCI, etc.). 
Contact Sanity Solutions today for more information on the importance of a gap assessment for your organization.

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