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National Cybersecurity Authority Drives Saudi Arabia's Essential Controls Framework (ECC)

National Cybersecurity Authority Drives Saudi Arabia's Essential Controls Framework (ECC)

Blog Article Published: 03/18/2024

Written by AuditCue.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Essential Cybersecurity Controls (ECC), established by the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA), is a significant leap towards enhancing the nation's cyber defense mechanisms. This set of regulations spans across five critical domains, emphasizing a holistic approach to cybersecurity governance, defense, resilience, third-party/cloud computing, and industrial control systems. With a suite of 114 controls, it aligns with and diverges from international standards like ISO and SOC 2 in nuanced ways.

The ECC and ISO share common ground in their comprehensive approach to information security management and risk assessment. However, the ECC is tailored specifically to the national context of Saudi Arabia, offering more prescriptive guidance that directly addresses the unique cyber threats faced by the Kingdom. In contrast, ISO standards provide a flexible framework that can be adapted by any organization, regardless of geographical location. Similarly, while SOC 2 is focused on service organizations primarily in the U.S., providing criteria for managing customer data, the ECC spans a broader range of sectors, reinforcing the strategic importance of cybersecurity across all national industries.

This initiative is scheduled to go live imminently, with a phased implementation approach to ensure compliance across all sectors. This move by Saudi Arabia mirrors a global trend where countries are developing specific cybersecurity frameworks to address their unique challenges and threats. Such country-specific initiatives are vital for enhancing global cyber resilience, demonstrating a collective commitment to securing the digital ecosystem against the backdrop of increasing cyber threats worldwide.

If you’re a risk professional in the middle east looking to implement ECC for your organization, please reach out to [email protected].

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