Concept of Operations (CONOPS) - The Missing Link of Program-Level Cybersecurity & Data Protection Guidance

A Concept of Operations (CONOPS) document provides user-oriented guidance that describes crucial context from an integrated systems point of view (e.g., mission, operational objectives and overall expectations), without being overly technical or formal. A CONOPS is meant to:

conops - cybersecurity concept of operations documentation

A CONOPS is not a set of policies, standards or procedures, but it does compliment and support those documents. A CONOPS straddles the territory between an organization's centrally-managed policies/standards and its decentralized, stakeholder-executed procedures, where a CONOPS serves as expert-level guidance that is meant to run a specific capability or function within an organization's cybersecurity department. An organization's Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are expected to use a CONOPS as a tool to help communicate user needs and system characteristics to developers, integrators, sponsors, funding decision makers and other stakeholders.

Several ComplianceForge documents are essentially CONOPS documents, where those CONOPS-like documents are (1) more conceptual than procedures and (2) are focused on providing program-level guidance to define and mature a specific capability that is called for by policies and standards (e.g., operate a "risk management program"). Examples of ComplianceForge products that provide program-level guidance to define a function-specific concept of operations include:

conops - cybersecurity concept of operations

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