NIST Cybersecurity Framework

Are you interested in knowing the uses of the NIST cybersecurity framework?

The NIST cybersecurity framework helps organizations understand and combat cybersecurity risks. It provides a foundation to prevent cyber attacks and resolve negative consequences. Here are the 10 fundamentals of a NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

  1. Countless organizations around the world use the NIST framework
  2. It helps you assess current cybersecurity status, set goals, and establish standard processes
  3. The framework helps you identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover from attacks and threats
  4. You can use the framework to communicate risks and best practices
  5. There is no one-size-fits-all framework, and every organization uses it differently
  6. NIST framework has three parts – Core, Implement Tiers, and Profile
  7. You can use the three parts to create your cybersecurity strategy
  8. The five functions of the NIST framework are to identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover
  9. The five functions help you fight cybercrime, cut damages, and recover efficiently
  10. You can implement the NIST framework by creating your goals, understanding your profile, finding gaps, and putting best practices to use

Let’s dive deep into the NIST cybersecurity framework and why you may need it. Plus, we will also share more information on the framework to help you manage cybersecurity risks.

What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

Cybersecurity risks have the potential to damage a nation’s security, economy, and safety. To protect national interests, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a framework.

The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 made the framework developed by NIST the standard to fight cyber threats. The framework provides a set of guidelines and best practices to help governments and businesses reduce vulnerabilities.

Several organizations across the world now use the NIST framework to protect their investments. We will explore the importance of the framework in our next section.

Why Use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

A framework provides a set of rules, guidelines, or standardizations to facilitate a process. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework, in the same way, helps fight cybercrime. It presents the content in easily-understandable language so that everyone can use them without issues.

You can use the NIST framework to:

  • Establish the current cybersecurity status of your organization or business
  • Describe your cybersecurity goals
  • Identify risks and prioritize improvements
  • Establish a standard and repeatable process
  • Achieve the described cybersecurity goals
  • Make all stakeholders aware of risks and best practices

Can Any Organization Use the NIST Framework?

The NIST framework was developed to help organizations combat cybersecurity threats. You can surely follow the guidelines and best practices to make your infrastructure more resilient.

However, you need to understand your situation and use the framework as per your unique needs. Every organization is different and doesn’t have the same vulnerabilities, strengths, and resources.

As a result, you can’t directly implement the framework. Rather, you can use the framework to understand your risks and take appropriate steps.

For example, let’s say you are in eCommerce. So, you can use any eCommerce business model for your stores. However, you will still need to customize the model to meet your industry needs.

In the same way, you can tailor the NIST framework to meet your organizational needs.

What are the Three Parts of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

NIST has divided the framework into three parts; Framework Core, Framework Implementation Tiers, and Framework Profile. 

Framework Core

The Framework Core is made up of cybersecurity processes, desired targets, and vital references. These help organizations protect their critical infrastructure.

The Core helps you understand cybersecurity activities and their outcomes. This section also presents the five functions of the framework that we will discuss in the next section.

Framework Implementation Tiers

Implementation Tiers help an organization establish its level of cybersecurity risks. You can also determine what percentage of your practices match up with those in the framework. Specifically, your practices should be-

  • Aware of threats
  • Standardized and repeatable
  • Adaptable to different situations

Organizations need to assess their positions to select the right Tier. Based on that, organizations can go from reactive responses to being proactive.

Framework Profile

Profiles enable organizations to establish a current state and the desired state. You can strengthen your cybersecurity efforts by comparing your current profile to your target profile.

The task will need you to refer to your business objectives and mission. You will also have to assess your risks and then create your desired outcome profile.

What are the Five Functions of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

Guidelines and best practices in the NIST framework help you achieve five functions-

Identify

Identifying your cybersecurity risks to your systems, staff, architectures, and more is crucial. You can use the Identify function to gain an organizational understanding of investments that are open to cyber threats.

The understanding will help you determine your priorities and focus.

Protect

The Protect Function lays out safeguards to protect your infrastructure and systems. It also helps you limit the potential damages of a cyber attack or threat.

Detect

Any organization should be proactive in detecting intrusions or suspicious activities. The Detect Function helps you become proactive and identify risks as they happen.

Respond

The Respond Function is all you need to combat cybersecurity incidents. You can implement the practices in the framework for your cybersecurity incidents to cut damage and protect your investments.

Recover

The Recovery Function is concerned with getting your infrastructures and systems back to action. It helps you recover in less time and restore your services.

How to Implement the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

Anyone can use the NIST framework to tackle cybercrime. Here are the steps to implement the framework, tailored to your business needs-

Determine Your Goals

A look at your current cybersecurity practices and business objectives will help you set your goals. You should identify the vulnerabilities and prioritize the steps needed to achieve your target outcome.

Create Your Profile

All organizations have different cybersecurity risks. You need to create your cybersecurity profile based on the Implementation Tiers of the NIST framework. Your organization can qualify for any of the four tiers that describe your level of cybersecurity maturity.

Establish Your Current Status

Risk assessment programs will help you to identify where your organization stands. An understanding of your current position will help you determine gaps in your practices.

Track Any Gaps

Your risk assessment efforts will uncover areas of improvement. You should use the practices in the framework to create steps to seal the gaps and become more resilient.

Set Your Plan to Action

Now comes the time to implement your plans. You can use the resources provided in the NIST framework to facilitate your implementation.

Additionally, track your progress and keep improving your security protocols continuously.

Is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework Mandatory?

The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 makes the NIST framework mandatory for federal agencies. Businesses or other organizations can follow the framework voluntarily. Plus, they may also need to comply with regional data protection and data privacy laws.

Final Thoughts

The NIST cybersecurity framework is a set of policies and best practices. You can use the framework to create a cybersecurity strategy for your organization. The framework also provides resources to identify cybercrime incidents and implement necessary solutions. You can even limit your damages and get your systems back on live, following NIST guidelines. Focus on your organizational goals to align your cybersecurity efforts to achieve business success.

 

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