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 Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF) was designed to be a common foundation for a majority of these regulations. Because of this, we recommend using the NIST CSF as a guidance to prepare for any security mandate to which your industry must comply.

Flexible standards

Standards like GDPR, HIPAA, and NIST DFARs 800-171 have a laundry list of requirements to demonstrate compliance, and oftentimes the complexity of these requirements reach beyond the expertise of small organizations. For example, the HIPAA security rule has three parts: technical safeguards, physical safeguards, and administrative safeguards. The technical safeguards category covers the technology used to protect and access ePHI. When it comes to implementing this safeguard, organizations can choose whatever mechanisms make the most sense for them. The NIST CSF can help simplify the process.

Because of its flexibility, 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.

Enhanced security

Fortunately, most organizations already have some sort of cybersecurity program in place. As a result, there is no need for these organizations to recreate their programs from scratch. One of the greatest benefits of utilizing NIST CSF is that organizations may continue using their current processes and compare them to the framework in order to identify areas for improvement. The elements of the framework that are not already addressed can be incorporated into the existing program. On the flip side, organizations without an existing cybersecurity program can use the framework as a starting point to establish one.

The two main goals of implementing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework are to enhance your organization’s security and minimize the cyber risk. It is simply an added benefit that accomplishing this will also prepare your organization for any existing or future data security regulation.

Developing your strategy

The best way to approach implementation is to thoroughly develop your strategy. A proper strategy will ensure organization wide acceptance and an overall cybersecurity culture. We can help you develop a strategy with our NIST CSF assessment. Our NIST CSF assessment will give you a clear picture of your current security position as it aligns with the NIST CSF and what position you desire to be in. If you are subject to a data security law and you’re feeling overwhelmed, this assessment is a great first step.