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NIST 800-53 vs. ISO 27001

Both NIST 800-53 and ISO 27001 are widely used information security standards. They provide guidance on how organisations can enhance their cybersecurity protocols and practices to protect their digital assets.

Despite their similarities, there are also some key differences between NIST 800-53 and ISO 27001. For instance, ISO 27001 is an international standard that provides a framework for developing an Information Security Management System. NIST 800-53, on the other hand, is a US government-issued standard that provides security and privacy controls for federal agencies and contractors that work with the government.

Continue reading to learn more about both NIST 800-53 and ISO 27001, how they are similar, and how the two security standards differ.

What is ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 is an international standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that provides organisations with a framework for creating Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). The standard provides a set of requirements for organisations to create, implement, maintain, and update an effective ISMS.

ISO 27001 is applicable to organisations of all sizes and in any industry. It is intended to help them identify, respond to, and manage cybersecurity risks by ensuring their procedures and policies are effective. Organisations that implement ISO 27001 can demonstrate that they are dedicated to information security.

NIST SP 800-53

NIST SP 800-53 is a security standard developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It provides security and privacy guidance for the federal agencies and their contractors that work with the US government. While NIST SP 800-53 adherence is mandatory for these agencies, it can also prove useful for other organisations that wish to bolster their cybersecurity practices and protocols.

The NIST SP 800-53 publication includes a catalogue of security and privacy controls in addition to guidance on implementing them. While not every control applies to every organisation, the controls catalogued within NIST SP 800-53 aim to provide an assessment of the effectiveness of security and privacy protocols and policies, as well as recommendations on responding to security and privacy concerns.

NIST SP 800-53 vs. ISO 27001 similarities

As mentioned, both NIST 800-53 and ISO 27001 provide organisations with a framework for implementing effective information security policies and procedures. In addition to this, their main similarities include:

  • Both use a risk management approach to information and cybersecurity.
  • Both provide security controls and best practices.
  • Both are recognised internationally.
  • Both provide information security procedures and policy guidance.
  • Both provide guidance on the implementation of security measures.
  • Both provide guidance on detecting, responding to, and assessing cybersecurity incidents.
  • Both provide guidance on auditing security controls.

Differences between NIST 800-53 and ISO 27001

The primary differences between NIST 800-53 and ISO 27001 include:

  • NIST 800-53 is a US government standard for cybersecurity and privacy controls, while ISO 27001 is an international standard for developing and implementing ISMS.
  • NIST 800-53 primarily focuses on technical security controls, while ISO 27001 concerns the management of information security.
  • NIST 800-53 is a mandatory standard for any federal agency or third-party contractor that works with the US government, while ISO 27001 is a voluntary standard intended to display a commitment to information security best practices.

Learn more about NIST 800-53 compliance

To learn more about NIST 800-53 and NIST 800-53 compliance, please visit our information hub. Find everything you need to know about NIST 800-53, including the specific control families and best practices for implementing them into your security framework.