integrating nist csf with it governance frameworks

Project #1: Integrating NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework with Information Technology Governance Frameworks


You have been assigned to your company’s newly established Risk Management Advisory Services team. This team will provide information, analysis, and recommendations to clients who need assistance with various aspects of IT Risk Management.

Your first task is to prepare a 3 to 4 page research paper which provides an analysis of the IT Governance, IT Management, and Risk Management issues and problems that might be encountered by an e-Commerce company (e.g. Amazon, e-Bay, PayPal, etc.). Your paper should also include information about governance and management frameworks that can be used to address these issues. The specific frameworks that your team leader has asked you to address are:

  • ISO/IEC 27000 Family of Standards for Information Security Management Systems
  • ISACA’s Control Objectives for Information Technology (COBIT) version 5
  • NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework (also referred to as the “Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Security”)

The Risk Management Advisory team has performed some initial research and determined that using these three frameworks together can help e-Commerce companies ensure that they have processes in place to enable identification and management of information security related risks particularly those associated with the IT infrastructure supporting online sales, payment, and order fulfillment operations. (This research is presented in the Background section below.) Your research paper will be used to extend the team’s initial research and provide additional information about the frameworks and how each one supports a company’s risk management objectives (reducing the risks arising from cyber threats and cyberattacks against information, information systems, and information infrastructures). Your research should also investigate and report on efforts to date to promote the use both frameworks at the same time.

Your audience will be members of the Risk Management Services team. These individuals are familiar with risk management processes and the e-Commerce industry. Your readers will NOT have in-depth knowledge of either framework. For this reason, your team leader has asked you to make sure that you include a basic overview of these frameworks at the beginning of your paper for the benefit of those readers who are not familiar with CSF and COBIT.



Security controls are actions which are taken to “control” or manage risk. Security controls are sometimes called “countermeasures” or “safeguards.” For this assignment, it is important to understand that it is not enough to pick or select controls and then buy or implement technologies which implement those controls. A structure is required to keep track of the controls and their status — implemented (effective, not effective) and not implemented. The overarching structure used to manage controls is the Information Security Management System.


An Information Security Management System is the set of policies, processes, procedures, and activities used to structure the organizational unit which is responsible for managing the cybersecurity or information security program in a business. Companies can and do design their own structure for this program including: scope, responsibilities, and resources. Many companies, however, choose to use a defined standard to provide guidance for the structure and functions assigned to this organization. The ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards is one of the most frequently adopted and is comprised of best practices for the implementation of an information security program. The ISO/IEC 27001 standard specifies the requirements for and structure of the overall Information Security Management System and ISMS program. The ISO/IEC 27002 standard provides a catalog of security controls which can/should be implemented by the ISMS program. For additional information about the standards, please see this blog

Note: there are a number of free resources which describe the contents and purposes of the ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards. For your work in this course, you do not need access to the official standards documents (which are not freely available).


COBIT is a framework that defines governance and management principles, processes, and organizational structures for enterprise Information Technology. COBIT includes a requirement for implementation of an Information Security Management System and is compatible with the ISO/IEC 27000 series of standards for ISMS implementation.

COBIT 5 has five process areas which are specified for the Governance and Management of enterprise IT. These areas are:

  • Evaluate, Direct, and Monitor (EDM)
  • Align, Plan, and Organize (APO)
  • Build, Acquire, and Implement (BAI)
  • Deliver, Service, and Support (DSS)
  • Monitor, Evaluate, and Assess (MEA)

Beginning with version 5, COBIT has incorporated Information Security as part of the framework. Three COBIT 5 processes specifically address information security: APO 13 “Manage Security,” DSS04 “Manage Continuity,” and DSS05 “Manage Security Services.”[1]


The NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Security, commonly referred to as the Cybersecurity Framework or CSF, was developed in collaboration with industry, government, and academia to provide a common language and common frame of reference for describing the activities required to manage cyber-related risks and, in so doing, protect and defend against cyber attacks. Unlike many NIST guidance documents, the CSF was designed specifically for businesses – to meet their needs and support attainment of business objectives. Originally designed for companies operating in the 16 critical infrastructure sectors, the CSF is now being required of federal government agencies and departments and their contractors. The Executive Summary of the NIST CSF version 1.1 provides additional background and supporting information about the purposes, goals, and objectives of the CSF.

The Cybersecurity Framework is presented in three parts:

  • Core Functions (Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, Recover)
  • Implementation Tiers (risk management processes and practices)
  • Profiles (specific to a business or industry – goals and desired outcomes)


There are a number of common elements between the information security frameworks defined in the ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards, the COBIT standard, and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Each of these frameworks addresses risks that must be addressed by businesses that depend upon digital forms of information, information systems, and information infrastructures. Each framework presents structured lists of IT Governance and IT Management activities (processes and practices) which must be adopted and implemented in order to effectively manage risk and protect digital assets from harm or loss. Each framework also provides a list or catalog security. Each framework also provides lists of goals or objectives which must be met in order to assure the effectiveness of controls implemented to defend against cyber threats and attacks. Finally, these frameworks provide

The ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and COBIT 5 controls and process areas have been cross referenced to the NIST Cybersecurity Framework Functions, Categories, and Subcategories in the NIST CSF document.[2] Table 1 below shows examples of the mapping between COBIT 5 and NIST CSF as provided in Table 2: Framework Core: Informative References in the NIST CSF document.

Table 1. Example Mappings from ISO/IEC 27001 to COBIT 5 Processes to NIST CSF Functions

ISO/IEC 27001:2013[3]

COBIT 5 Process

NIST CSF Function

NIST CSF Category

NIST CSF Subcategory


APO 13.01


Governance (ID.GV)



DSS 04.02


Risk Assessment (ID.RA)


A.6.1.1, A.7.2.1, A.15.

DSS 05.04


Governance (ID.GV)


A.12.6.1, A.18.2.3

DSS 05.01, DSS 05.02


Risk Assessment (ID.RA)



A 2016 survey conducted by Dimensional Research for Tenable[4] found that over 80% of the responding organizations used an IT security or cybersecurity frameworks to structure their IT security management program. This finding was similar across all sizes of companies and across industries. Over 40% of the respondents used multiple frameworks. The NIST CSF was utilized by over 40% of the respondents – approximately the same number who adopted the ISO/IEC 27000 standards. One notable finding was that in some cases the NIST CSF adoption was required by a business partner or a federal contract.


Read the following analyses and articles about COBIT 5 and its information security related functions

[1] Source:

[2] Source:

[3] Names for many of the ISO/IEC 27001 controls can be found here:

[4] Source: