CSC | 20 Critical Security Controls for Cyber Defense | Overview | Policies & Procedures

The Twenty (20) Critical Security Controls for Cyber Defense – also known as the Consensus Audit Guidelines (CAG) are a culmination of exhaustive research and development of information security initiatives that advocate a “offense must inform defense approach”, as noted by the SANS institute. Additionally, unlike many other benchmarks, standards, and frameworks – many which are directed at regulatory compliance provisions, the Twenty (20) Critical Security Controls represents essential safeguards and best practices for ultimately ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of an organization’s critical systems resources.

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The framework – which included input from literally dozens of agencies, think tanks, and other leading organizations – consists of the following:

  • Critical Control 1: Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Devices
  • Critical Control 2: Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Software
  • Critical Control 3: Secure Configurations for Hardware and Software on Mobile Devices, Laptops, Workstations, and Servers
  • Critical Control 4: Continuous Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation
  • Critical Control 5: Malware Defenses
  • Critical Control 6: Application Software Security
  • Critical Control 7: Wireless Device Control
  • Critical Control 8: Data Recovery Capability
  • Critical Control 9: Security Skills Assessment and Appropriate Training to Fill Gaps
  • Critical Control 10: Secure Configurations for Network Devices such as Firewalls, Routers, and Switches
  • Critical Control 11: Limitation and Control of Network Ports, Protocols, and Services
  • Critical Control 12: Controlled Use of Administrative Privileges
  • Critical Control 13: Boundary Defense
  • Critical Control 14: Maintenance, Monitoring, and Analysis of Audit Logs
  • Critical Control 15: Controlled Access Based on the Need to Know
  • Critical Control 16: Account Monitoring and Control
  • Critical Control 17: Data Loss Prevention
  • Critical Control 18: Incident Response and Management
  • Critical Control 19: Secure Network Engineering
  • Critical Control 20: Penetration Tests and Red Team Exercises


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