NIST vs. ISO: What’s the Difference?

Published November 11, 2019 • < 1 min read

Both the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have industry-leading approaches to information security. Most commonly, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is compared to ISO 27001: the specification for an information security management system (ISMS). 

NIST 800-53 is more security control driven with a wide variety of groups to facilitate best practices related to federal information systems. 

ISO 27001, on the other hand, is less technical and more risk focused for organizations of all shapes and sizes. 

A common misconception is that an organization must choose between NIST or ISO and that one is better than the other. In fact, they can both be used in an organization and have many synergies. Both are useful for data security, risk assessments, and security programs. 

Many organizations are turning to Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) as a means of managing the multiple frameworks available. COBIT helps organizations bring standards, governance, and process to cybersecurity. The ultimate goal is to provide actionable risk management to an organization’s critical infrastructure.

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