Key Application and Cloud Security Frameworks You Should Know

There are hundreds of application and cloud security standards. In this guide, we'll review the most popular standards, why they matter, and how to implement them.
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Security frameworks made simple

Embarking on application and cloud security journeys can be daunting, and knowing where to start can be a real challenge. Application and cloud security frameworks can provide helpful guidelines to focus your efforts on best practices defined by the information security experts that build them.

Companies building applications in industries like financial services may be required to align their processes with security frameworks like PCI-DSS, while others may need direction on how to get started. In this article, we’ll focus on the latter group by reviewing the key security frameworks everyone should know, so you can make the best choice for your organization.

What are security frameworks?

Security frameworks provide guidelines, best practices, and standards to secure cloud computing environments. They help organizations protect their cloud-based systems, applications, and data from threats and vulnerabilities.

These frameworks focus on protecting software applications from threats throughout their lifecycle, from development to deployment and maintenance. 

With the growing number of security frameworks, acronyms, scoring systems, benchmarks and more, it’s often hard to understand how each frameworks differs, how and where they come into play with regards to modern cloud native systems. More than anything, how do we actually operationalize these frameworks to derive engineering benefits?

Why do we need them?

Cloud and application security frameworks can provide tremendous value to organizations both from a technical and business perspective when properly implemented. Not only do they enable greater efficiency and allocation of resources when tackling the difficult and evolving standards of security, but also a common way to communicate complex technical details into actionable insights and strategic decisions.

Below we’ll break down why we need security frameworks:

  1. Standardization: Frameworks provide a standardized approach to security, ensuring that all aspects of cloud and application environments are consistently protected. They also provide a clear roadmap for implementing security measures, which can save time and resources compared to developing ad-hoc solutions.

  2. Risk Management: It can be hard to stay on top of the leading threats and vulnerabilities. Frameworks help identify and mitigate top security concerns, reducing the risk of security breaches. Security frameworks are regularly updated to reflect evolving threats and new vulnerabilities, helping organizations stay ahead of emerging security challenges.

  3. Compliance: Many industries have specific regulatory requirements (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA) that organizations must comply with. Security frameworks help ensure compliance with these regulations, as well as help with audit readiness by making it easier to pass security audits and demonstrate due diligence to stakeholders and regulators.

  4. Trust and Reputation: A strong security posture helps protect the organization's reputation by preventing data breaches and other security incidents. Demonstrating adherence to security frameworks can increase customer trust and confidence, as they know their data is being handled securely.

  5. Strategic Alignment: Security frameworks align security practices with business goals, ensuring that security measures support overall organizational objectives. They also align communication with stakeholders by translating security objectives to practical security work that is measurable.

Key Application and Cloud Security Frameworks


The OWASP Application Security Verification Standard (ASVS) is a comprehensive framework designed to help organizations develop, maintain, and assess secure applications. It provides a set of requirements that can be used to establish a secure development lifecycle, perform security assessments, and ensure that applications meet a baseline of security controls.

Great for…

This framework is ideal for organizations seeking to establish a robust security foundation for their software development lifecycle. 

It provides a comprehensive set of security requirements that guide developers, security professionals, and auditors in building, maintaining, and assessing secure applications. This standard is particularly beneficial for aligning security efforts with industry best practices, facilitating compliance with regulatory requirements, and fostering a security-conscious culture within development teams.

ASVS has multiple levels of security requirements, including level 1, level 2, and level 3 – each of which have more robust requirements than the previous level. This makes it easier to iteratively improve your security posture, while understanding gaps to increase your maturity.


  • Detect: The ASVS framework emphasizes the importance of thorough security testing, including static code analysis, dynamic analysis, and penetration testing. These activities help in detecting vulnerabilities and security issues in applications early in the development lifecycle.

  • Respond: ASVS encourages organizations to have well-defined incident response plans. These plans should outline how to address and mitigate security incidents when they are detected, ensuring a coordinated and effective response.

  • Recover: ASVS promotes designing applications with security and resilience in mind. This approach ensures that applications can recover from attacks or failures, minimizing downtime and disruption.

Practical Implementation of OWASP ASVS

  • Understand the ASVS Levels

  • Perform a Gap Analysis

  • Integrate ASVS into the Development Lifecycle

  • Implement Security Controls

  • Conduct Security Testing


The OWASP Top 10 is considered the foremost list of the most critical security risks to web applications, compiled by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). 

This list is updated periodically to reflect the current threat landscape and aims to raise awareness about the most common and severe vulnerabilities affecting web applications. The OWASP Top 10 is widely regarded as a baseline for web application security.

Great for: 

The OWASP Top 10 is an invaluable resource for developers, security professionals, and organizations of all sizes. 

It provides a clear, prioritized list of the most critical web application security risks, making it easier for teams to focus their efforts on the areas that matter most. They serve as the de facto guidelines for application security.

The list is also a useful tool for training and educating development teams about common security issues, fostering a culture of security awareness. Additionally, the OWASP Top 10 is often referenced in regulatory and compliance frameworks, helping organizations meet legal and industry standards.


  • Detect: The OWASP Top 10 highlights the most critical web application security risks, making it easier for organizations to focus their detection efforts on the areas that matter most. By identifying these risks, it is possible to implement the corresponding security controls to detect the most critical risks identified in the OWASP Top 10, such as injection flaws and broken access control, ensures continuous monitoring and detection of potential attacks.

  • Respond: The OWASP Top 10 provides guidance on how to remediate and respond to each of the top vulnerabilities. This guidance helps in crafting effective response strategies tailored to the most common threats. In addition, addressing the OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities proactively limits the impact of incidents and enables quicker response when issues are detected.

  • Recover: The OWASP Top 10 provides specific mitigation strategies for each vulnerability, helping organizations develop recovery plans tailored to the most common threats. By implementing the recommended practices in the OWASP Top 10, organizations can harden their systems against attacks. This hardening makes recovery more straightforward and less costly, as the systems are better prepared to withstand and bounce back from security incidents.

Practical Implementation of OWASP Top 10

  • Understand the OWASP Top 10 Risks

  • Educate developers on the leading potential security risks when developing applications

  • Implement security controls throughout the SDLC

  • Align vulnerability remediation with most common application risks

NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF)

Developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is used primarily by U.S. government agencies to manage and mitigate cybersecurity risk. However, it has also found common global applications across different business sectors. 

Great for…

This framework provides comprehensive code-to-cloud security to proactively prevent malicious activity and enable teams to react to ongoing attacks. An entire blog post can be written just about the NIST CSF alone, but generally is provides a good baseline security checklist for the following areas of modern cloud environments:

  • Identify

  • Protect

  • Detect

  • Respond, and 

  • Recover


  • Detect: Develop and implement processes and procedures to detect anomalous activity and understand the potential impact of events. Establish ongoing monitoring for cybersecurity events and verify the effectiveness of protective measures.

  • Respond: Develop and implement response processes and procedures to ensure timely response to detected cybersecurity events. This framework also helps coordinate response activities with internal and external stakeholders to include information sharing and response coordination.

  • Recover: This framework provides a methodology for developing and implementing recovery processes and procedures to restore systems and assets affected by cybersecurity incidents. It helps implement improvements based on lessons learned and reviews of existing strategies.

Practical Implementation Methods

  • Establish Continuous Monitoring

  • Develop and Test Incident Response Plans

  • Implement Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

  • Conduct Regular Security Training and Awareness Programs

  • Perform Post-Incident Analysis and Improve Security Posture

CIS Controls & Benchmarks

The CIS Controls & Benchmarks are a set of best practices and guidelines for securing IT systems and data against cyber threats in the cloud. Developed by the Center for Internet Security (CIS), these controls provide a prioritized and prescriptive set of actions to enhance cybersecurity defenses. 

They are grouped into basic, foundational, and organizational categories, covering a wide range of security topics.

Great for…

CIS Controls & Benchmarks are suited for any organization looking to adopt a structured, evidence-based approach to cybersecurity, regardless of size or industry, providing a clear path to improved security and risk management.


  • Detect: Regularly scan and remediate vulnerabilities in systems and applications. Implement logging and monitoring to detect potential security incidents. This framework encourages enhancing detection capabilities through threat intelligence and monitoring tools.

  • Respond: Develop and implement an incident response plan that includes roles, responsibilities, and procedures. This makes it possible to apply rapid containment, eradication, and recovery measures to minimize the impact of security incidents.

  • Recover: Implement regular data backups and ensure the ability to restore systems and data after an incident. It is also recommended to conduct thorough reviews of incidents to identify lessons learned and improve response capabilities.

Practical Implementation Methods

  • Implement Continuous Vulnerability Management

  • Implement Security Monitoring and Logging

  • Develop and Test an Incident Response Plan

  • Regularly Back Up Data and Verify Restore Capabilities

  • Conduct Post-Incident Reviews and Improve Security Measures

ISO 27001

ISO 27001 is an international standard for information security management systems (ISMS). It provides a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information, ensuring its confidentiality, integrity, and availability. 

The standard includes requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an ISMS within the context of the organization's overall business risks.

Great for…

ISO 27001 is great for any organization that seeks to enhance its information security posture, comply with regulatory requirements, and demonstrate a commitment to information security to stakeholders.


  • Detect: By regularly conducting risk assessments, it’s possible to identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities. Implementing continuous monitoring and review processes enables engineering teams to detect anomalies and potential security incidents.

  • Respond: Establish and implement an incident management process to ensure timely and effective response to security incidents. Focus on developing and applying corrective actions to address security incidents and prevent recurrence.

  • Recover: Integrate business continuity management with the ISMS to ensure recovery from disruptions and maintain critical operations. Through implementing regular data backup and restore procedures, you can ensure data availability and integrity after an incident. Conducting post-incident reviews to analyze the incident will enable teams to identify lessons learned, and improve response and recovery processes.

Practical Implementation Methods

  • Conduct Regular Risk Assessments and Internal Audits

  • Establish Continuous Monitoring and Review Processes

  • Develop and Implement an Incident Management Plan

  • Integrate Business Continuity Management with ISMS

  • Implement Regular Data Backup and Restore Procedures

Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM)

The Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM) is a cybersecurity control framework developed by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). 

It is specifically designed to provide fundamental security principles to guide cloud vendors and assist prospective cloud customers in assessing the overall security risk of a cloud provider. The CCM covers various domains including application security, encryption, governance, risk, and compliance, among others.

Great for…

CSA Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM) is ideal for any organization involved in the use, provision, or assessment of cloud services, providing a comprehensive framework to ensure robust cloud security and compliance with industry standards.


  • Detect: Implement continuous monitoring tools and processes to detect anomalies and potential security incidents in the cloud environment. Regularly conduct vulnerability scans and assessments to identify and address security weaknesses in cloud infrastructure and applications.

  • Respond: Develop and maintain an incident response plan tailored to the cloud environment, detailing roles, responsibilities, and procedures. Implement automated response mechanisms to quickly contain and mitigate identified threats.

  • Recover: Develop and implement disaster recovery plans to restore cloud services and data after an incident. Ensure regular backups of critical data and test restoration processes to confirm data can be recovered effectively.

Practical Implementation Methods

  • Implement Continuous Monitoring and SIEM Systems

  • Conduct Regular Vulnerability Scans and Assessments

  • Develop and Maintain a Cloud-Specific Incident Response Plan

  • Establish and Test Disaster Recovery Plans

  • Engage in Threat Intelligence Sharing

MITRE ATT&CK Framework


The MITRE ATT&CK (Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge) Framework is a comprehensive knowledge base of adversary tactics and techniques based on real-world observations. It is used by cybersecurity professionals to understand adversary behaviors, enhance detection capabilities, and improve incident response and recovery strategies. The framework is structured around various matrices.

Great for… 

The MITRE ATT&CK Framework is ideal for any organization that prioritizes cybersecurity and seeks to understand, detect, and mitigate adversary tactics and techniques effectively. It provides valuable insights and a common language for enhancing security operations and improving overall resilience against cyber threats.


  • Detect: Use behavioral analysis techniques to identify abnormal activities that align with known adversary tactics and techniques documented in the ATT&CK framework. Conduct proactive threat hunting activities based on the ATT&CK techniques to uncover hidden threats within the environment.

  • Respond: Develop incident response playbooks that map to ATT&CK tactics and techniques, ensuring a structured and efficient response to identified threats. Use ATT&CK techniques to guide containment and eradication efforts, focusing on disrupting the adversary’s activities and removing their footholds.

  • Recover: Use ATT&CK insights to prioritize and guide the restoration of systems affected by an attack, ensuring they are returned to a secure state. Conduct thorough post-incident reviews using the ATT&CK framework to analyze the incident and identify improvements for future detection and response.

Practical Implementation Methods

  • Implement Detection Rules Based on ATT&CK Techniques

  • Conduct Proactive Threat Hunting Activities

  • Develop Incident Response Playbooks Aligned with ATT&CK

  • Conduct Post-Incident Reviews Using ATT&CK

  • Enhance Security Controls and Policies Based on ATT&CK Insights

How Jit can help

In order to successfully implement many of these frameworks, developers will need to be onboard – as they are often the group responsible for remediating application and cloud vulnerabilities.

Jit is built to apply DevSecOps without compromising developer productivity and experience by integrating security into engineer’s native workflows. 

Jit can help implement security frameworks through its security as code approach of pre-built security plans that codify security best practices from various frameworks. These plans can be easily integrated into your development process, ensuring adherence to the chosen framework from the beginning.

This codification of popular security frameworks into step-by-step automated plans makes it possible to select, apply, and even customize these frameworks based on evolving organizational security maturity. This then makes it possible to automatically implement the relevant controls as they apply to each framework throughout the development lifecycle, simplifying the detection of vulnerabilities based on the chosen security framework.

Jit also makes it possible to consolidate various security tools required by different frameworks into a single platform, simplifying management and reducing the complexity of juggling multiple tools for different security requirements. 

This aligns with secure coding practices emphasized by many frameworks––in the trust, but verify mindset, allowing developers to write secure code from the start. This helps streamline the implementation of security frameworks within engineering workflows by automating tasks, enforcing best practices, and integrating with existing tools, making it easier for development teams to adhere to security frameworks alongside governance and compliance.

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