Should I Use CIS or NIST? choosing the Best Cybersecurity Framework for Your Business

Should I Use CIS or NIST? choosing the Best Cybersecurity Framework for Your Business

Cybersecurity threats have become a major concern for businesses of all sizes. According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, the global cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. As such, it's critical for businesses to have a strong cybersecurity framework in place to protect their sensitive information and assets.

But with so many cybersecurity frameworks available, it can be difficult to determine which one is the best fit for your business. In this article, we'll explore two popular frameworks, CIS and NIST, and help you decide which one to use.

CIS (Center for Internet Security):

CIS is a non-profit organization that provides cybersecurity guidance and best practices for businesses. Their cybersecurity framework, CIS Controls, is a set of 20 specific recommendations for improving cybersecurity. These controls are broken down into three categories: basic, foundational, and organizational. The basic controls are essential and should be implemented first, while the foundational and organizational controls build on the basic ones.

Here are some of the benefits of using CIS:

  • The framework is regularly updated to keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats.
  • The controls are easy to implement and can be customized to fit the specific needs of your business.
  • CIS provides free tools and resources to help businesses implement their framework.

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology):

NIST is a government agency that provides guidance on a variety of topics, including cybersecurity. Their cybersecurity framework, NIST CSF, is a set of guidelines and best practices for businesses to manage and reduce cybersecurity risks. The framework is broken down into five functions: identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover.

Here are some of the benefits of using NIST:

  • The framework is widely recognized and accepted as a standard for cybersecurity.
  • NIST provides a comprehensive and flexible approach to cybersecurity, allowing businesses to tailor the framework to their specific needs.
  • The framework is regularly updated to keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats.

CIS or NIST: Which one should you use?

The decision of whether to use CIS or NIST ultimately depends on the needs and resources of your business. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Size of your business: CIS Controls may be more suitable for small to medium-sized businesses, while NIST may be better for larger enterprises.
  • Budget: CIS is generally more cost-effective than NIST.
  • Industry compliance: NIST is often required by government agencies and may be necessary for businesses in highly regulated industries.
  • Complexity of cybersecurity risks: If your business faces complex cybersecurity risks, NIST may provide a more comprehensive and flexible approach.


Q: Are CIS and NIST mutually exclusive? Can I use both? A: Yes, CIS and NIST can be used together. In fact, some businesses choose to implement both frameworks to enhance their cybersecurity posture.

Q: How often do CIS and NIST update their frameworks? A: CIS updates their framework annually, while NIST updates their framework every few years.

Q: How do I know which controls to implement first? A: Both CIS and NIST provide guidance on which controls to implement first. CIS recommends starting with their basic controls, while NIST recommends starting with the "identify" function.

Choosing the right cybersecurity framework for your business is an important decision. While both CIS and NIST provide valuable guidance on how to improve your cybersecurity posture, the choice ultimately depends on the specific needs and resources of your business. By considering factors