Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP) NIST 800-53 | ISO 27002 | NIST CSF Version
Until now, developing a template to provide worthwhile cybersecurity procedures is somewhat of a "missing link" within the cybersecurity documentation industry. The good news is that ComplianceForge solved this issue with the Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP) product. We are the only provider to have an affordable and comprehensive procedures template! Our CSOP can save a business several hundred hours of work in developing control activities / procedure statements, so the CSOP is worth checking out!
Comprehensive Cybersecurity Procedures Template
We currently offer several versions of the CSOP.
- There is a Digital Security Program (DSP) version that is tailored for the DSP and the Secure Controls Framework.
- There are three Written Information Security Program (WISP) versions: ISO 27002, NIST 800-53 and NIST Cybersecurity Framework.
Identifying the right one is pretty straightforward, since if you purchase the DSP, you will want the DSP version. If you purchase a WISP, you just order the version of the CSOP that corresponds to the version of the WISP you purchased. The main differences are around content, where we tailor the content to meet the framework's coverage. If that is confusing, please give us a call and we can help explain the differences.
Procedures Operationalize Policies & Standards - This Is A Key Concept To Being Both Secure & Compliant
We leverage the Operationalizing Cybersecurity Planning Model in creating a practical view towards implementing cybersecurity requirements. Organizations are often not at a loss for a set of policies, but executing those requirements often fall short due to several reasons. Standardized Operating Procedures (SOPs) are where the rubber meets the road for Individual Contributors (ICs), since these key players need to know (1) how they fit into day-to-day operations, (2) what their priorities are and (3) what is expected from them in their duties. When looking at it from an auditability perspective, the evidence of due diligence and due care should match what the organization's cybersecurity business plan is attempting to achieve.
One of the most important things to keep in mind with procedures is that the "ownership" is different than that of policies and standards:
- Policies, standards and controls are designed to be centrally-managed at the corporate level (e.g., governance, risk & compliance team, CISO, etc.).
- Controls are assigned to stakeholders, based on applicable statutory, regulatory and contractual obligations.
- Procedures are by their very nature de-centralized, where control implementation at the team-level is defined to explain how the control is addressed (e.g., network team, desktop support, HR, procurement, etc.).
Given this approach to how documentation is structured, based on "ownership" of the documentation components:
- Policies, standards and controls are expected to be published for anyone within the organization to have access to, since it applies organization-wide. This may be centrally-managed by a GRC/IRM platform or published as a PDF on a file share, since they are relatively static with infrequent changes.
- Procedures are "living documents" that require frequent updates based on changes to technologies and staffing. Procedures are often documented in "team share" repositories, such as a wiki, SharePoint page, workflow management tool, etc.
The central focus of any procedures should be a Capability Maturity Model (CMM) target that provides quantifiable expectations for People, Processes and Technologies (PPT), since this helps prevent a “moving target” by establishing an attainable expectation for “what right looks like” in terms of PPT. Generally, cybersecurity business plans take a phased, multi-year approach to meet these CMM-based cybersecurity objectives. Those objectives, in conjunction with the business plan, demonstrate evidence of due diligence on behalf of the CISO and his/her leadership team. The objectives prioritize the organization’s service catalog through influencing procedures at the IC-level for how PPT are implemented at the tactical level. SOPs not only direct the workflow of staff personnel, but the output from those procedures provides evidence of due care.
The diagram below helps show the critical nature of documented cybersecurity procedures in keeping an organization both secure and compliant:
Product Example - WISP CSOP
Our customers choose the WISP Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP) because they:
Cost Savings Estimate - Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP)
When you look at the costs associated with either (1) hiring an external consultant to write cybersecurity documentation for you or (2) tasking your internal staff to write it, the cost comparisons paint a clear picture that buying from ComplianceForge is the logical option. Compared to hiring a consultant, you can save months of wait time and tens of thousands of dollars. Whereas, compared to writing your own documentation, you can potentially save hundreds of work hours and the associated cost of lost productivity. Purchasing the WISP CSOP from ComplianceForge offers these fundamental advantages when compared to the other options for obtaining quality cybersecurity documentation:
- For your internal staff to generate comparable documentation, it would take them an estimated 360 internal staff work hours, which equates to a cost of approximately $27,000 in staff-related expenses. This is about 3-6 months of development time where your staff would be diverted from other work.
- If you hire a consultant to generate this documentation, it would take them an estimated 300 consultant work hours, which equates to a cost of approximately $90,000. This is about 2-3 months of development time for a contractor to provide you with the deliverable.
- The WISP CSOP is approximately 4% of the cost for a consultant or 12% of the cost of your internal staff to generate equivalent documentation.
- We process most orders the same business day so you can potentially start working with the WISP CSOP the same day you place your order.
The process of writing cybersecurity documentation can take an internal team many months and it involves pulling your most senior and experienced cybersecurity experts away from operational duties to assist in the process, which is generally not the most efficient use of their time. In addition to the immense cost of hiring a cybersecurity consultant at $300/hr+ to write this documentation for you, the time to schedule a consultant, provide guidance and get the deliverable product can take months. Even when you bring in a consultant, this also requires involvement from your internal team for quality control and answering questions, so the impact is not limited to just the consultant's time being consumed.
Alignment With The NIST NICE Framework
One very special aspect of the WISP and DSP versions of the CSOP is that it leverages the NIST NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. NIST released the NICE framework in 2017 with purpose of streamlining cybersecurity roles and responsibilities. We adopted this in the CSOP framework since work roles have a direct impact procedures. By assigning work roles, the CSOP helps direct the work of employees and contractors to minimize assumptions about who is responsible for certain cybersecurity and privacy tasks.
The CSOP uses the work roles identified in the NIST NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework to help make assigning the tasks associated with procedures/control activities more efficient and manageable. Keep in mind these are merely recommendations and are fully editable for every organization – this is just a helpful point in the right direction!
The CSOP can serve as a foundational element in your organization's cybersecurity program. It can stand alone or be paired with other specialized products we offer.
At the heart of it, the CSOP provides an organization with clear cybersecurity procedures that can scale to meet the needs and complexity of any team. The procedures are mapped to leading frameworks, so it is straightforward to have procedures that directly link to requirements from NIST 800-171, ISO 27002, NIST 800-53 and many other common cybersecurity and privacy-related statutory, regulatory and contractual frameworks!
The value of the CSOP comes from having well-constructed procedure statements that can help you become audit ready in a fraction of the time and cost to do it yourself or hire a consultant to come on-site and write it for you. The entire concept of this cybersecurity procedures template is focused on two things:
What Is The Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP)?
Our products are one-time purchases with no software to install - you are buying Microsoft Office-based documentation templates that you can edit for your specific needs. If you can use Microsoft Office or OpenOffice, you can use this product! The WISP versions of the CSOP contains procedure statements in an editable Microsoft Word format:
- The CSOP addresses the “how?” questions in an audit, since procedures provide the means for how your organization's policies and standards are actually implemented.
- The CSOP provides the underlying cybersecurity procedures that must be documented, as many stipulated by statutory, regulatory and contractual requirements.
- The procedure statements in the CSOP can be cut & pasted into other tools (e.g., wiki page) or left in a single document. There is no wrong answer for how procedures are maintained, since every organization is unique in the tools used and the location of users.
What Problem Does The CSOP Solve?
- Lack of In House Security Experience - Writing cybersecurity procedures is a skill that most cybersecurity professionals simply are not proficient at and avoid the task at all cost. Tasking your security analysts and engineers to write comprehensive procedure documentation means you are actively taking them away from protecting and defending your network, which is not a wise use of their time. The CSOP is an efficient method to obtain comprehensive security procedures for your organization!
- Compliance Requirements - Nearly every organization, regardless of industry, is required to have formally-documented security procedures. Requirements range from PCI DSS to HIPAA to NIST 800-171. The DSP is designed with compliance in mind, since it focuses on leading security frameworks to address reasonably-expected security requirements.
- Audit Failures - Security documentation does not age gracefully like a fine wine. Outdated documentation leads to gaps that expose organizations to audit failures and system compromises. The CSOP's procedures provide mapping to leading security frameworks to show you exactly what is required to both stay secure and compliant.
- Vendor Requirements - It is very common for clients and partners to request evidence of a security program and this includes policies, standards and procedures.
How Does The CSOP Solve It?
- Clear Documentation - The CSOP provides a comprehensive template for your procedures to help prove that your security program exists. This equates to a time saving of hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars in staff and consultant expenses!
- Time Savings - The CSOP can provide your organization with a templated solution that requires minimal resources to fine tune for your organization's specific procedural needs.
- Alignment With Leading Practices - The CSOP is written to support over two dozen leading frameworks!
We've Done The Heavy Lifting For You!
Given the difficult nature of writing templated procedure statements, we aimed for approximately a "80% solution" since it is impossible to write a 100% complete cookie cutter procedure statement that can be equally applied across multiple organizations. What this means is ComplianceForge did the heavy lifting and you just need to fine-tune the procedure with the specifics that only you would know to make it applicable to your organization. It is pretty much filling in the blanks and following the helpful guidance that we provide to identify the who / what / when / where / why / how to make it complete.
Take a look at the example to see for yourself. We even provide a matrix to help identify the likely stakeholders for these procedures.
Standardized Process Criteria - Helps Identify The Who/What/Where/When/How For Procedures
Your customization will be to help "fill in the blanks" with specific process owners, process operators, where additional documentation can be found, applicable service obligations (e.g., SLAs), and what technology/tools your team has available. We've done the heavy lifting and you just need to fill in the blanks.
- Process Owner:
- This is name of the individual or team accountable for the procedure being performed.
- Example: Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) / Cybersecurity Director.
- Process Operator:
- This is the name of the individual or team responsible to perform the actual task.
- Example: SOC Analyst / Risk Analyst / Network Admin.
- This is the annual, semi-annual, quarterly, monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, daily, continuous or as needed cadence for how often the procedure needs to be performed.
- Example: Quarterly vulnerability scans / Monthly software patches / Annual risk assessments.
- Scope of Impact:
- This is the scope of the procedure:
- Purely internal processes;
- Purely external processes (e.g., outsourced vendor processes); or
- Scope covers both internal processes and external ones.
- It also that affects the potential impact from the process, which can be one or more of the following:
- Geographic region; or
- The entire company
- Location of Additional Documentation:
- This is where additional documentation is stored or can be found. You might want to reference a Wiki, SharePoint site, or other documentation repository.
- Performance Target:
- This addresses targeted timelines for the process to be completed (e.g., Service Level Agreements).
- Not all processes have SLAs or targeted timelines
- Technology in Use:
- This addresses the applications/systems/services that are available to perform the procedure.
- Splunk for a Security Incident Event Manager (SIEM) solution to collect logs;
- McAfee ePO for centralized antimalware management; or
- Tripwire Enterprise for File Integrity Monitoring (FIM).