Critical Security Controls v8



Publication Date:

May 18, 2021

The CIS Critical Security Controls® (CIS Controls®) started as a simple grassroots activity to identify the most common and important real-world cyber-attacks that affect enterprises every day, translate that knowledge and experience into positive, constructive action for defenders, and then share that information with a wider audience. The original goals were modest—to help people and enterprises focus their attention and get started on the most important steps to defend themselves from the attacks that really mattered.

Led by the Center for Internet Security® (CIS®), the CIS Controls have matured into an international community of volunteer individuals and institutions that:

  • Share insights into attacks and attackers, identify root causes, and translate that into classes of defensive action
  • Create and share tools, working aids, and stories of adoption and problem-solving
  • Map the CIS Controls to regulatory and compliance frameworks in order to ensurealignment and bring collective priority and focus to them
  • Identify common problems and barriers (like initial assessment and implementation roadmaps), and solve them as a communityThe CIS Controls reflect the combined knowledge of experts from every part of the ecosystem (companies, governments, individuals), with every role (threat responders and analysts, technologists, information technology (IT) operators and defenders, vulnerability-finders, tool makers, solution providers, users, policy-makers, auditors, etc.), and across many sectors (government, power, defense, finance, transportation, academia, consulting, security, IT, etc.), who have banded together to create, adopt, and support the CIS Controls.


1: Inventory and Control of Enterprise Assets

Actively manage (inventory, track, and correct) all enterprise assets (end-user devices, including portable and mobile; network devices; non-computing/Internet of Things (IoT) devices; and servers) connected to the infrastructure physically, virtually, remotely, and those within cloud environments, to accurately know the totality of assets that need to be monitored and protected within the enterprise. This will also support identifying unauthorized and unmanaged assets to remove or remediate.

2: Inventory and Control of Software Assets

Actively manage (inventory, track, and correct) all software (operating systems and applications) on the network so that only authorized software is installed and can execute, and that unauthorized and unmanaged software is found and prevented from installation or execution.

3: Data Protection

Develop processes and technical controls to identify, classify, securely handle, retain, and dispose of data.

5: Account Management

Use processes and tools to assign and manage authorization to credentials for user accounts, including administrator accounts, as well as service accounts, to enterprise assets and software.

6: Access Control Management

Use processes and tools to create, assign, manage, and revoke access credentials and privileges for user, administrator, and service accounts for enterprise assets and software.

7: Continuous Vulnerability Management

Develop a plan to continuously assess and track vulnerabilities on all enterprise assets within the enterprise's infrastructure, in order to remediate, and minimize, the window of opportunity for attackers. Monitor public and private industry sources for new threat and vulnerability information.

8: Audit Log Management

Collect, alert, review, and retain audit logs of events that could help detect, understand, or recover from an attack.

9: Email and Web Browser Protections

Improve protections and detections of threats from email and web vectors, as these are opportunities for attackers to manipulate human behavior through direct engagement.

10: Malware Defenses

Prevent or control the installation, spread, and execution of malicious applications, code, or scripts on enterprise assets.

11: Data Recovery

Establish and maintain data recovery practices sufficient to restore in-scope enterprise assets to a pre-incident and trusted state.

12: Network Infrastructure Management

Establish, implement, and actively manage (track, report, correct) network devices, in order to prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerable network services and access points.

13: Network Monitoring and Defense

Operate processes and tooling to establish and maintain comprehensive network monitoring and defense against security threats across the enterprise's network infrastructure and user base.

14: Security Awareness and Skills Training

Establish and maintain a security awareness program to influence behavior among the workforce to be security conscious and properly skilled to reduce cybersecurity risks to the enterprise.

15: Service Provider Management

Develop a process to evaluate service providers who hold sensitive data, or are responsible for an enterprise's critical IT platforms or processes, to ensure these providers are protecting those platforms and data appropriately.

16: Application Software Security

Manage the security life cycle of in-house developed, hosted, or acquired software to prevent, detect, and remediate security weaknesses before they can impact the enterprise.

17: Incident Response Management

Establish a program to develop and maintain an incident response capability (e.g., policies, plans, procedures, defined roles, training, and communications) to prepare, detect, and quickly respond to an attack.

18: Penetration Testing

Test the effectiveness and resiliency of enterprise assets through identifying and exploiting weaknesses in controls (people, processes, and technology), and simulating the objectives and actions of an attacker.