Every company has important and sensitive information, and safeguarding it from the numerous risks that exist has become a major responsibility. For many firms, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is top of mind.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Critical Infrastructure Security Framework (NIST CSF) was created according to the vital infrastructure. It was created to encourage innovation and decrease risk in some of the most important parts of US society and economy, and it has since been embraced by businesses in a variety of industries. Similarly, the Defense Department has released CMMC for DoD contractors.
While the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is frequently criticised for being excessively costly and difficult to adopt, the development of MSSPs has made it more available to smaller enterprises.
For enterprises looking to better secure their digital assets, the CSF is more than a to-do list. In reality, it focuses on high-level requisites rather than control needs. Because the depth of security evaluations may be interpreted differently by different people, it becomes much more adaptive. Organizations should consult NIST SP 800-53, which provides as the foundation for many regulatory regimes, for a list of genuine security controls and procedures.
The CSF does have control levels that correspond to various maturity models, such as the CMMC, but they are not the same thing. The control tiers – incomplete, risk-informed, repetitive, and responsive – can be used to determine the level of execution of a certain control, such as risk management.
What are the NIST Cybersecurity Framework’s five phases?
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is divided into five functional domains, each with its own set of classifications that go into further depth concerning specific security measures. Identification, protection, detect, engage, and recover are the five function areas. The NIST security control categories address desirable cybersecurity outcomes that are linked to certain requirements and activities.
The five NIST CSF functions and their related control categories are summarised below:
This function area is concerned with digital asset identification and classification. The first control category is asset management, which is followed by administration, risk evaluation, precautionary principle, and supply chain risk control. In view of the current increase in supply chain threats, supply chain risk management has been considerably improved upon in the most recent version of the framework.
Six control areas make up the protect function area, all of which focus with the actual processes and solutions needed to defend assets from attacks. Identity management and security systems, data security, data protection policies and processes, upkeep, and protective technology are among them. These controls may be implemented in a variety of methods, including managed detection and response (MDR) and security incident and event monitoring (SIEM). Implementing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is significantly easier and more cheap with these completely outsourced and managed services.
Organizations must also create a system for detecting unknown risks, such as AI-powered security analysis software. Oddities and incidents, security continuous surveillance, and detection procedures are the three control categories in this function area. The idea is to look for more complex attacks like targeted social engineering schemes and advanced persistent threats ahead of time (APTs).
Responding to an event is critical for minimising harm and strengthening your security posture over time. Response preparation, reporting, analysis, mitigation, and enhancements are all part of this function area. Businesses will have a fully-fledged preparedness plan if they address this area, which will identify important stakeholders and their duties. It presupposes what every business owner should assume: that no matter how strong your security procedures are, an event will occur sooner or later.
Unlike CMMC DFARS, the last phase of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework has three controls – recovery planning, improvements, and communications. This function area aims to address worst-case scenarios like data breaches and unscheduled downtime. Should an incident occur, the goal must be to mitigate the damage as best as possible through prompt communication and recovery.