What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?NIST cybersecurity framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a government entity with a mission to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness. They created the Cybersecurity Framework as a voluntary set of standards, guidelines, and practices designed to help organizations manage IT security risks. Companies can utilize this framework to measure their cybersecurity practices relative to the threats they face.

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is an accessible, flexible, cost-effective approach to maximize protection and resilience across an organization. In addition, it can relate to any industry and size. Most importantly, the framework helps create plans to determine what to do before, during and after a cyber incident

Why should I align my cybersecurity program with the NIST CSF?
  1. Compliance: Organizations across many different sectors need to comply with various government regulations. Compliance standards such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, NERC CIP, FISMA, NIST 800-171, NIST 800-53, and GDPR all commonly cover data security. The NIST CSF can be used to comply with any security mandate to which your industry must comply.
  2. Goal setting: The framework is categorized by tiers to help you understand your current risk level and where you realistically should be. This goal setting standard opens up the conversation between upper management and IT about what constitutes an acceptable level of risk. You can utilize your desired tiers to set target scores and ensure that all key stakeholders agree before you proceed.
  3. Proven results: The NIST CSF is utilized across various industries. Regardless of the regulatory requirements, technical design, and controls in place for an organization, it has proven to be successful. By aligning your people, processes and technology with this framework, you can create a seamless cybersecurity program and culture.

While many organizations of all sizes recognize the value in improving cybersecurity, adapting the framework is easier said than done. Before jumping head first into implementation, take a step back and strategize. Next week, we will address our recommendations for implementation.