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DSP & SCF Procedures Template

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Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP)  DSP procedures | SCF procedures


Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP)  DSP | SCF Version

Product Walkthrough Video

This short product walkthrough video is designed to give a brief overview about what the CSOP is to help answer common questions we receive.

What Is The Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP)?

The Digital Security Program (DSP) / Secure Controls Framework (SCF) version of the CSOP contains a catalog of over 1,100 procedure statements! The structure of the DSP / SCF maps to over 100 statutory, regulatory and contractual frameworks, so it is the most comprehensive set of procedures that we offer. If you need to address multiple compliance requirements, the DSP version of the CSOP is the best choice. If you have any questions, just give us a call since we are more than happy to help answer your questions to ensure you pick the right solution for your needs.


The CSOP contains editable procedure statements in an editable Microsoft Word format:

  • The CSOP addresses the “how?” questions in an audit, since procedures provide the means for how your organization's policies and standards are actually implemented.
  • The CSOP provides the underlying cybersecurity procedures that must be documented, as may be stipulated by statutory, regulatory and contractual requirements.
  • The procedure statements in the CSOP can be cut & pasted into other tools (e.g., wiki page) or left in a single document. There is no wrong answer for how procedures are maintained, since every organization is unique in the tools used and the location of users.

Given the difficult nature of writing templated procedure statements, we aimed for approximately a "80% solution" since it is impossible to write a 100% complete cookie cutter procedure statement that can be equally applied across multiple organizations. What this means is ComplianceForge did the heavy lifting and you just need to fine-tune the procedure with the specifics that only you would know to make it applicable to your organization. It is pretty much filling in the blanks and following the helpful guidance that we provide to identify the who / what / when / where / why / how to make it complete.

Take a look at the example to see for yourself. We even provide a matrix to help identify the likely stakeholders for these procedures.

editable cybersecurity sop procedures template

Our products are one-time purchases with no software to install - you are buying Microsoft Office-based documentation templates that you can edit for your specific needs. If you can use Microsoft Office or OpenOffice, you can use this product! 

What Problems Does The CSOP Solve?

  • Lack of In House Security Experience - Writing cybersecurity procedures is a skill that most cybersecurity professionals simply are not proficient at and avoid the task at all cost. Tasking your security analysts and engineers to write comprehensive procedure documentation means you are actively taking them away from protecting and defending your network, which is not a wise use of their time. The CSOP is an efficient method to obtain comprehensive security procedures for your organization!
  • Compliance Requirements - Nearly every organization, regardless of industry, is required to have formally-documented security procedures. Requirements range from PCI DSS to HIPAA to NIST 800-171. The CSOPis designed with compliance in mind, since it focuses on leading security frameworks to address reasonably-expected security requirements. 
  • Audit Failures - Security documentation does not age gracefully like a fine wine. Outdated documentation leads to gaps that expose organizations to audit failures and system compromises. The CSOP's procedures provide mapping to leading security frameworks to show you exactly what is required to both stay secure and compliant.   
  • Vendor Requirements - It is very common for clients and partners to request evidence of a security program and this includes policies, standards and procedures.

Our customers choose the CDPP Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP) because they:

  • Have a need for comprehensive cybersecurity procedures to address their compliance needs.
  • Need to be able to edit the document to their specific technology, staffing and other considerations.
  • Have documentation that is directly linked to leading frameworks (e.g., NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, ISO 27002, HIPAA and others).
  • Need an affordable and timely solution to address not having procedures.

How Does The CSOP Solve These Problems?

  • Clear Documentation - The CSOP provides a comprehensive template for your procedures to help prove that your security program exists. This equates to a time saving of hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars in staff and consultant expenses!
  • Time Savings - The CSOP can provide your organization with a templated solution that requires minimal resources to fine tune for your organization's specific procedural needs. 
  • Alignment With Leading Practices - The CSOP is written to support over two dozen leading frameworks! 

Until now, developing a template to provide worthwhile cybersecurity procedures is somewhat of a "missing link" within the cybersecurity documentation industry. The good news is that ComplianceForge solved this issue with the Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP) product. We are the only provider to have an affordable and comprehensive procedures template! Our CSOP can save a business several hundred hours of work in developing control activities / procedure statements, so the CSOP is worth checking out! 

Procedures Operationalize Policies & Standards - This Is A Key Concept To Being Both Secure & Compliant

We leverage the Operationalizing Cybersecurity Planning Model in creating a practical view towards implementing cybersecurity requirements. Organizations are often not at a loss for a set of policies, but executing those requirements often fall short due to several reasons. Standardized Operating Procedures (SOPs) are where the rubber meets the road for Individual Contributors (ICs), since these key players need to know (1) how they fit into day-to-day operations, (2) what their priorities are and (3) what is expected from them in their duties. When looking at it from an auditability perspective, the evidence of due diligence and due care should match what the organization's cybersecurity business plan is attempting to achieve.

One of the most important things to keep in mind with procedures is that the "ownership" is different than that of policies and standards:

  • Policies, standards and controls are designed to be centrally-managed at the corporate level (e.g., governance, risk & compliance team, CISO, etc.).
  • Controls are assigned to stakeholders, based on applicable statutory, regulatory and contractual obligations.
  • Procedures are by their very nature de-centralized, where control implementation at the team-level is defined to explain how the control is addressed (e.g., network team, desktop support, HR, procurement, etc.).

Given this approach to how documentation is structured, based on "ownership" of the documentation components:

  • Policies, standards and controls are expected to be published for anyone within the organization to have access to, since it applies organization-wide. This may be centrally-managed by a GRC/IRM platform or published as a PDF on a file share, since they are relatively static with infrequent changes.
  • Procedures are "living documents" that require frequent updates based on changes to technologies and staffing. Procedures are often documented in "team share" repositories, such as a wiki, SharePoint page, workflow management tool, etc.

cybersecurity compliance vs security

The central focus of any procedures should be a Capability Maturity Model (CMM) target that provides quantifiable expectations for People, Processes and Technologies (PPT), since this helps prevent a “moving target” by establishing an attainable expectation for “what right looks like” in terms of PPT. Generally, cybersecurity business plans take a phased, multi-year approach to meet these CMM-based cybersecurity objectives. Those objectives, in conjunction with the business plan, demonstrate evidence of due diligence on behalf of the CISO and his/her leadership team. The objectives prioritize the organization’s service catalog through influencing procedures at the IC-level for how PPT are implemented at the tactical level. SOPs not only direct the workflow of staff personnel, but the output from those procedures provides evidence of due care.

The diagram below helps show the critical nature of documented cybersecurity procedures in keeping an organization both secure and compliant:

cybersecurity procedures template nist csf iso 27001 nist 800-171 nist 800-53

Product Example - DSP | SCF Procedures Template

The Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP) comes in two main versions (1) Digital Security Program (DSP) and (2) Cybersecurity & Data Protection Program (CDPP). These versions contain different levels of coverage, so you want to buy the correct CSOP for your needs. The CSOP is essentially a templatized catalog of procedures that you can edit for your needs. We did the heavy lifting in writing the procedures to get to approximately an "80% solution" so you just need to do the final customization of the procedure that only you will know since that is going to be very specific to your organization and business processes. This can jump start your procedures effort and save you several hundred hours of development time.

View Product Example



Cost Savings Estimate - Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP)

When you look at the costs associated with either (1) hiring an external consultant to write cybersecurity documentation for you or (2) tasking your internal staff to write it, the cost comparisons paint a clear picture that buying from ComplianceForge is the logical option. Compared to hiring a consultant, you can save months of wait time and tens of thousands of dollars. Whereas, compared to writing your own documentation, you can potentially save hundreds of work hours and the associated cost of lost productivity. Purchasing the DSP CSOP from ComplianceForge offers these fundamental advantages when compared to the other options for obtaining quality cybersecurity documentation:

  • For your internal staff to generate comparable documentation, it would take them an estimated 1,200 internal staff work hours, which equates to a cost of approximately $85,000 in staff-related expenses. This is about 9-18 months of development time where your staff would be diverted from other work.
  • If you hire a consultant to generate this documentation, it would take them an estimated 800 consultant work hours, which equates to a cost of approximately $240,000. This is about 6-12 months of development time for a contractor to provide you with the deliverable.
  • The DSP CSOP is approximately 2% of the cost for a consultant or 7% of the cost of your internal staff to generate equivalent documentation.
  • We process most orders the same business day so you can potentially start working with the DSP CSOP the same day you place your order.


The process of writing cybersecurity documentation can take an internal team many months and it involves pulling your most senior and experienced cybersecurity experts away from operational duties to assist in the process, which is generally not the most efficient use of their time. In addition to the immense cost of hiring a cybersecurity consultant at $300/hr+ to write this documentation for you, the time to schedule a consultant, provide guidance and get the deliverable product can take months. Even when you bring in a consultant, this also requires involvement from your internal team for quality control and answering questions, so the impact is not limited to just the consultant's time being consumed. 


Alignment With The NIST NICE Framework

One very special aspect of the CDPP and DSP versions of the CSOP is that it leverages the NIST NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. NIST released the NICE framework in 2017 with purpose of streamlining cybersecurity roles and responsibilities. We adopted this in the CSOP framework since work roles have a direct impact procedures. By assigning work roles, the CSOP helps direct the work of employees and contractors to minimize assumptions about who is responsible for certain cybersecurity and privacy tasks.

NIST NICE cybersecurity workforce framework sop roles responsibilities

The CSOP uses the work roles identified in the NIST NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework to help make assigning the tasks associated with procedures/control activities more efficient and manageable. Keep in mind these are merely recommendations and are fully editable for every organization – this is just a helpful point in the right direction!

The CSOP can serve as a foundational element in your organization's cybersecurity program. It can stand alone or be paired with other specialized products we offer.

At the heart of it, the CSOP provides an organization with clear cybersecurity procedures that can scale to meet the needs and complexity of any team. The procedures are mapped to leading frameworks, so it is straightforward to have procedures that directly link to requirements from NIST 800-171, ISO 27002, NIST 800-53 and many other common cybersecurity and privacy-related statutory, regulatory and contractual frameworks!

The value of the CSOP comes from having well-constructed procedure statements that can help you become audit ready in a fraction of the time and cost to do it yourself or hire a consultant to come on-site and write it for you. The entire concept of this cybersecurity procedures template is focused on two things: 

  1. Providing written procedures to walk your team members through the steps they need to meet a requirement to keep your organization secure; and
  2. Help your company be audit ready with the appropriate level of due diligence evidence that allows you to demonstrate your organization meets its obligations.

editable procedures template

What Is The Cybersecurity Standardized Operating Procedures (CSOP)?

Our products are one-time purchases with no software to install - you are buying Microsoft Office-based documentation templates that you can edit for your specific needs. If you can use Microsoft Office or OpenOffice, you can use this product! The NIST 800-171 version of the CSOP contains procedure statements in an editable Microsoft Word format:

  • For each standard within the Digital Security Program (DSP) (equates to each control from the SCF), the CSOP has a procedure associated with it.
  • The CSOP addresses the “how?” questions in an audit, since procedures provide the means for how your organization's policies and standards are actually implemented.
  • The CSOP provides the underlying cybersecurity procedures that must be documented, as many stipulated by statutory, regulatory and contractual requirements.
  • The procedure statements in the CSOP can be cut & pasted into other tools (e.g., wiki page) or left in a single document. There is no wrong answer for how procedures are maintained, since every organization is unique in the tools used and the location of users.

Standardizing Cybersecurity Processes Helps Become "Audit Ready" 

We are using the framework from the Digital Security Program (DSP) as the foundation for the CSOP. This means that the CSOP will have a procedure statement written for every one of the standards in the DSP! The CSOP comes with an Excel spreadsheet that provides the mapping for the procedures to these leading frameworks and requirements:

NIST 800-53
NIST 800-171
NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF)
National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM)
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS 252.204-7012)
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR 52.204-21)
Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)
Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

ISO 27002
ISO 27018
Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP)
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT 5)
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX)
Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA)

North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC CIP)
American Institute of CPAs Service Organization Control (AICPA SOC2)
Center for Internet Security Critical Security Controls (CIS CSC)
Cloud Security Alliance Cloud Controls Matrix (CSA CCM)
European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA)
European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR)
United Kingdom Data Protection Act (UK DPA)
Massachusetts 201 CMR 17.00
Oregon Identity Theft Protection Act (ORS 646A)

Standardized Process Criteria - Helps Identify The Who/What/Where/When/How For Procedures 

Your customization will be to help "fill in the blanks" with specific process owners, process operators, where additional documentation can be found, applicable service obligations (e.g., SLAs), and what technology/tools your team has available. We've done the heavy lifting and you just need to fill in the blanks.  

  • Process Owner:
    • This is name of the individual or team accountable for the procedure being performed.
    • Example: Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) / Cybersecurity Director.
  • Process Operator
    • This is the name of the individual or team responsible to perform the actual task.
    • Example: SOC Analyst / Risk Analyst / Network Admin.
  • Occurrence
    • This is the annual, semi-annual, quarterly, monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, daily, continuous or as needed cadence for how often the procedure needs to be performed.
    • Example: Quarterly vulnerability scans / Monthly software patches / Annual risk assessments.
  • Scope of Impact:
    • Purely internal processes;
    • Purely external processes (e.g., outsourced vendor processes); or
    • Scope covers both internal processes and external ones.
    • System;
    • Application;
    • Process
    • Team;
    • Department;
    • User;
    • Client;
    • Vendor;
    • Geographic region; or
    • The entire company
    • This is the scope of the procedure:
    • It also that affects the potential impact from the process, which can be one or more of the following:
  • Location of Additional Documentation
    • This is where additional documentation is stored or can be found. You might want to reference a Wiki, SharePoint site, or other documentation repository.
  • Performance Target
    • This addresses targeted timelines for the process to be completed (e.g., Service Level Agreements).
    • Not all processes have SLAs or targeted timelines
  • Technology in Use:
    • Splunk for a Security Incident Event Manager (SIEM) solution to collect logs;
    • McAfee ePO for centralized antimalware management; or
    • Tripwire Enterprise for File Integrity Monitoring (FIM).
    • This addresses the applications/systems/services that are available to perform the procedure.
    • Examples:

cybersecurity procedures template example

Product Hierarchy & Interactions

The diagram below helps visualize how the DSP exists at a strategic level to define the "what" and "why" requirements to be secure and compliant. Those foundational policies and standards influence every other component of your cybersecurity and data protection program, including a direct linkage to your organization's procedures (CSOP):

ComplianceForge editable cybersecurity policies standards procedures




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