IT baseline protection

  • Fabian Sinner
  • March 8, 2024

Table of content

    IT baseline protection

    IT baseline protection is a framework developed in accordance with BSI specifications (German Federal Office for Information Security). Its purpose is to help organizations achieve an appropriate level of security for their information technology.

    The aim of the framework is to provide companies and public institutions with a methodical guide that they can use to systematically and comprehensibly secure their IT systems, applications, and networks.

    What exactly is the BSI’s IT baseline protection?

    The basic idea behind IT baseline protection is to use standardized security measures (known as building blocks) to achieve a high level of security that is sufficient for the majority of IT systems in organizations.

    These building blocks cover various aspects of IT security, including organizational measures, personnel security measures, infrastructural security measures, hardware and software requirements, and measures to maintain operations.

    The current protection standards

    The standards set by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) form the foundation of IT baseline protection and provide a framework for the implementation and management of information security in organizations. These standards are designed to achieve an appropriate and verifiable level of security.

    BSI Standard 200-1: Information Security Management Systems (ISMS)
    This standard describes the requirements for the management of information security from an organizational perspective. It specifies how an information security management system (ISMS) should be set up, implemented, operated, monitored, reviewed, maintained, and improved in accordance with the principles of IT baseline protection.

    BSI Standard 200-2: IT baseline protection methodology
    This standard provides detailed instructions for implementing IT baseline protection methodology. It describes how organizations can determine their individual protection requirements, select and apply the appropriate security measures, and systematically implement the framework. It also includes information on carrying out security analysis and risk assessments.

    BSI Standard 200-3: Risk analysis based on IT baseline protection
    This standard explains how organizations can carry out risk analyses in the context of IT baseline protection. This includes the identification and evaluation of risks to information assets and the selection of suitable measures to mitigate risks. This standard helps organizations to develop a deeper understanding of their specific risk situation and to react to threats in a targeted manner.

    BSI Standard 200-4: Emergency management
    This standard focuses on the planning, establishment, implementation, and improvement of emergency management in the context of the BSI’s guideline. It provides guidance on how organizations can be prepared for IT security incidents and emergencies in order to minimize the impact of such events and ensure the rapid recovery of business activities.

    Together, these standards form a comprehensive guideline for organizations to develop an effective information security management system based on the principles of prevention, detection, and response to security incidents. By applying the framework, organizations can systematically improve their information security while ensuring compliance with national and international security regulations.

    IT baseline protection certification

    IT baseline protection certification is a procedure offered by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) in Germany to confirm that an organization’s information processing meets the high security requirements. This certification is official proof that an organization effectively manages its information security risks and has implemented protective measures in accordance with BSI standards.

    Objectives of IT baseline protection certification:

    • Create trust: Both internally and towards customers, partners, and other stakeholders.
    • Increase the level of security: By systematically implementing the measures recommended in the IT baseline protection compendium.
    • Improve risk management: By identifying, assessing, and addressing security risks.
    • Demonstrate compliance: Fulfilling legal and contractual security requirements.

    IT baseline protection certification process:

    1. Initiation: The organization decides on certification and selects the scope to be certified (e.g., a specific IT system, a network, a department, or the entire organization).
    2. Implementation of the IT baseline protection standards: The organization implements the required security measures in accordance with the BSI standards and the IT baseline protection compendium.
    3. Self-assessment: Before the actual certification, the organization carries out a self-assessment to ensure all requirements are met.
    4. Audit by a BSI-certified auditor: An independent auditor checks the implementation of the protection measures on site. This includes interviews, document reviews, and system tests.
    5. Issuance of certificate: If the audit result is positive, the BSI issues the certificate. This is generally valid for three years, provided that annual surveillance audits are carried out.
    6. Annual surveillance audits: In order to maintain the validity of the certificate, the organization must prove annually that the security measures continue to be appropriate and effective.

    The certification is a recognized and renowned confirmation of a high level of security. It enables organizations to standardize their information security processes, systematically manage security risks and strengthen the trust of customers and business partners.

    Especially for public institutions and companies that process sensitive data or operate critical infrastructures, certification is an important component of their security strategy.

    IT baseline protection compendium

    The IT baseline protection compendium, published by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), is a comprehensive collection of recommendations and measures for increasing information security in organizations. It is a central component of the IT baseline protection approach and serves as a guide for implementing an effective information security management system (ISMS) that meets BSI standards.

    The compendium consists of various modules that cover specific security requirements and measures for different areas of information technology and organization. These modules are organized thematically and cover areas such as:

    • Infrastructure: Security measures for physical environments in which IT systems are operated.
    • IT systems: Recommendations for securing different types of IT systems, including servers, clients, and mobile devices.
    • Networks: Measures to secure network infrastructures and ensure network security.
    • Applications: Security recommendations for the development and operation of software applications.
    • Cloud services: Guidelines for the use and provision of cloud services, taking security aspects into account.
    • Emergency management: Instructions for preparing for and responding to security incidents and emergencies.

    The aim of the IT baseline protection compendium is to support organizations of all sizes across different industries in achieving an appropriate level of security for their information technology. The compendium provides a structured overview of necessary security measures based on existing standards and best practices.

    The measures presented are designed in such a way that they can be adapted to the specific needs and risks of an organization. It serves as a basis for the implementation of an ISMS that can be certified according to BSI standards.

    This specific compendium is regularly updated to reflect new technologies, threats, and security requirements. Each update includes the revision of existing building blocks and may also include the introduction of new building blocks to ensure that the BSI’s recommendations meet the current challenges in information security.

    Link11 as the ideal security partner

    Did you know? Link11 fulfills all BSI requirements for certified KRITIS protection and is therefore an ideally prepared partner for the security of critical infrastructure. The BSI requirements include not only the high standards at a technical level, but also strict compliance with data protection.

    If you would like to find out more about our certification, please feel free to contact us.

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