The Common Criteria in Well-Known Security Frameworks

Common Criteria frameworks featured

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity is not just a technical necessity but a critical compliance requirement. Organizations worldwide face rigorous regulations to safeguard sensitive data and maintain public trust. 

The Common Criteria certification is a pivotal standard in cybersecurity compliance among these regulatory frameworks. 

This article will discuss how CC plays a role in other, more well-known security and privacy frameworks.


What is Common Criteria Certification?

Common Criteria certification is an international computer security certification standard (ISO/IEC 15408). It provides a framework for evaluating the security properties of information technology products and systems. The certification is recognized globally, making it a critical benchmark for the security of IT products and services. The Common Criteria allows for a flexible and comprehensive evaluation, enabling products to be tested against a broad set of security requirements.


Benefits for Organizations

Being accredited means more than just an endorsement of technical capabilities. It signals to customers and stakeholders that the organization is committed to maintaining the highest data integrity and security standards. 

Benefits include:

  • Global Recognition: Common Criteria certification is internationally recognized and accepted by many countries as a benchmark for evaluating the security of IT products and systems. This international recognition facilitates market access and promotes interoperability between different countries’ IT systems, making it easier for vendors to sell their certified products internationally.
  • Compliance with Regulatory Requirements: Many government regulations and industry standards mandate using Common Criteria-certified products to handle sensitive or classified information. By obtaining Common Criteria certification, vendors can ensure compliance with these regulatory requirements and expand their market opportunities in regulated sectors.
  • Reduced Risk and Liability: Common Criteria certification helps mitigate risks associated with cybersecurity breaches and potential liabilities for vendors and organizations. Certified products are less likely to be vulnerable to known security threats and vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of data breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage.
  • Streamlined Procurement: Government agencies and organizations often require Common Criteria certification as a prerequisite for purchasing IT products and systems. Certification streamlines the procurement process by providing a standardized framework for evaluating security requirements and ensuring product compatibility with existing IT infrastructure.
  • Enhanced Product Quality and Reliability: The Common Criteria evaluation process involves rigorous testing of product functionality, security features, and documentation. As a result, certified products exhibit higher quality, reliability, and robustness than non-certified alternatives, leading to improved performance and customer satisfaction.


The Certification Process

The process to achieve Common Criteria Certification is detailed and structured to ensure that IT products meet a high level of security. Initially, the product’s security features are assessed against a specific set of criteria, known as Protection Profiles (PPs), which define the desired security attributes relevant to a particular technology or application. Manufacturers submit their products for evaluation, which licensed evaluation facilities conduct. These rigorous evaluations include an analysis of the product’s design, development practices, and the effectiveness of its security features.


What Are Some Frameworks Utilizing Common Criteria? 

Common Criteria frameworks

Common Criteria Certification is not just a standalone standard but is integrated into various security frameworks worldwide. This widespread adoption underscores its importance and versatility in enhancing cybersecurity measures globally. Many countries have adopted Common Criteria as part of their national security programs, which helps standardize cybersecurity protocols across borders.

  • ISO/IEC 15408: ISO/IEC 15408 is the international standard that defines the Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation. It provides a framework for specifying security requirements and conducting security evaluations of IT products and systems. Many cybersecurity frameworks, standards, and regulations reference ISO/IEC 15408 as a basis for evaluating the security of IT products and systems.
  • NIST Special Publication 800-53: NIST SP 800-53 provides a comprehensive catalog of security controls for federal information systems and organizations. The Common Criteria are referenced in several control families within NIST SP 800-53, such as AC (Access Control), AT (Awareness and Training), and SI (System and Communications Protection), to establish security requirements and assurance levels for IT products and systems.
  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF): The NIST CSF is a voluntary framework for improving cybersecurity risk management in organizations. While it does not directly incorporate Common Criteria, organizations can leverage Common Criteria as a reference point for implementing cybersecurity controls and evaluating the security of their IT infrastructure within the context of the CSF.
  • European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) Guidelines: ENISA provides guidelines and recommendations for enhancing cybersecurity across the European Union. ENISA guidelines related to product security assurance, risk assessment, and security certification reference common criteria, providing a framework for evaluating the security of IT products and systems.
  • Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS): FIPS publications issued by NIST often reference Common Criteria as a basis for establishing security requirements and assurance levels for cryptographic modules and other IT products. Common Criteria evaluations may be used to demonstrate compliance with FIPS standards, such as FIPS 140-2 for cryptographic modules.
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standards: Several IEC standards related to cybersecurity, such as IEC 62443 for industrial control systems security and IEC 27001 for information security management systems, incorporate references to Common Criteria as a basis for evaluating the security of IT products and systems within specific domains or industries.


Lazarus Alliance: Your Partner for Common Criteria and Cybersecurity Compliance

If you’re looking to align your security efforts across the Common Criteria, security frameworks, or other standards, contact Lazarus Alliance.

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