Cybersecurity culture is a driving force behind organizations that want to ensure they have access to all of the resources at their disposal when it comes to ensuring their systems stay secure. This means there should be an alignment of policies, procedures, tools, and support mechanisms that help organizations mitigate the risks associated with cyberattacks and identify and respond quickly if an incident occurs.
Your organization should leverage the NIST cybersecurity framework because it embodies a variety of best practices, may help align your policy with governmental ones and contains categories for describing various types of threats and vulnerabilities.
Let’s start with the basics.
NIST Cybersecurity Framework
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework is a set of guidelines to build and improve your cybersecurity program, helping you manage threats to your organizational security.
Simply put, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a recipe guide for an organization to use as it strives to improve its cybersecurity measures.
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework helps manage risks and enhance your cybersecurity posture by suggesting best practices across four key stages: Measurement, to make sure you know what data has been collected; Protection, to determine where to store data safely; Detection, to assess whether or not someone else has accessed that data without permission; Response, which is just in case a breach occurs.
Starting a cybersecurity program or improving on an existing one?
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework can be of great benefit as it serves as a blueprint that you can use to assess cybersecurity risk across the organization. By understanding how your business processes and IT systems interact, you’ll be better equipped to develop strategies for safeguarding sensitive data, improving network defenses, and effectively managing third-party risks—and overall improve the security posture of your entire organization.
5 Core Functions of NIST Cybersecurity Framework
The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework has five main parts called “functions”, Identity, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover, separated into 23 sections.
In each category, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework defines several subcategories and their unique outcomes. With 108 breakdowns, there is no denying that these identified positions are very effective.
The first function described in the National Institute of Standards and Technology is dubbed “identify,” as they define it as being tied to the need to “develop the organizational understanding to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, assets, data, and capabilities.”
The NIST’s Identify function assists in developing an organizational understanding to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, people, assets, data, and capabilities.
The functions assist in providing security services by helping to authenticate, authorize and access control resources while handling threats related to information security systems, people, and assets.
- The NIST function outlines several elements that can be used to establish an effective asset management program, including identifying the physical and software assets you’ll use to reach your project goals.
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Identity function allows the business to define its regulations and evaluate and detail legal requirements. This will allow them to subjectively identify what needs to be developed within the organization regarding meeting cybersecurity regulatory standards.
- A company’s management team will often find the Identify function very informative to look at risks attached to supply chain management systems; they offer a view of the inventory and process flows of every level of an organization. The information can aid in decision-making.
The NIST’s Protect function helps outline appropriate safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical infrastructure services. It supports the ability to limit or contain the impact of a potential cyber-attack. With this function, response teams can better coordinate mitigation activities resulting in more effective and timely responses to dangerous threats.
- The NIST’s Protect function allows you to control what information is shared with specific people and organizations. The ‘Protected’ functions protect the identity and access of your organization’s remote and physical spaces from threats.
- The NIST’s Protect function establishes the framework necessary to maintain, evaluate, and apply security controls and countermeasures that will prevent information from being disclosed or altered, maintain the integrity and authenticity of the information, and ensure that authorized users can access or consume these resources when needed.
Detecting a cybersecurity event is one of the most important tasks for the NIST. It defines how a company can identify the occurrence of a cyber threat in a quick manner. Focused on the appropriate risk management strategy of the Detect function, the prime reason why enterprises and security professionals are increasingly emphasizing the importance of timely breach detection is that the longer an attack lasts, the more likely it is that data loss and other types of damage will be inflicted upon an organization’s systems, information, and overall environment.
- The NIST Detect function identifies security issues and potential threats to the system or networking infrastructure based on analyzed observations.
- It continuously monitors our ability to keep tabs on cybersecurity events and verify the effectiveness of protective measures on its own.
A good way to respond in the case of any emergency is to be prepared. NIST’s Respond Function is an appropriate action to take in response to data breaches or other cybersecurity incidents, which can help mitigate impacts however severe the strings of numbers and letters arrayed on your monitor may seem.
- The NIST Respond function allows responding to incidents on your website to become more efficient by ensuring that all incident response stages and forensics are taken into account.
- Responding measures are the NIST way of performing mitigation tactics when responding to a security incident. It’s important to remember that this is just one step in the logical life cycle process.
- The NIST Respond function implements improvements by incorporating lessons learned from previous cybersecurity efforts.
The NIST Recover function recommends plans for operations for those who suffer from a cyberattack to get themselves back up and running as quickly as possible by restoring their damaged system capabilities to their previous working level.
- The NIST Recover function helps get the word out that you’ve recovered from a cyberattack. The key is coordinating internal and external communications during and following the recovery process.
- The Recover function ensures the organization implements plans to restore connectivity and operations after a cyberattack or breach. In this case, we can use it to restore data from storage devices by prompting an automated, practical process for consumption.
Why should I use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?
You should have a security system in place to protect your organization and keep it safe against cyber attacks, but also plan for the event of one happening, such as if your office’s service needs to keep on running even after one such as an incident.
Some of the major reasons to embrace NIST CF are described below:
The NIST Framework is used by organizations when designing their security framework, making it easy to follow compared to the former compliance standard guidelines.
New regulations in the financial services industry, like NYDFS 23, require organizations to reference specific guidelines from the NIST Framework when creating their compliance standards. We know that legacy systems at certain institutions may not follow, so the framework allows companies to bridge the gap to meet regulations while avoiding major performance disruption.
Tech and business domains speak the same lingo
The NIST security framework allows everyone from practitioners to the Board and CEO to focus on the components of cybersecurity that are most relevant to their organization and helps optimize staff productivity by promoting an organic, iterative approach rather than a static roadmap.
A Pan Risk Management Approach
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework facilitates outcomes for risk management activities. Once you have assessed the risks for your organization as well as what is most important about the delivery of key services, you’ll be able to prioritize investments in security controls that will help you maximize the impact of your business investment and deliver a huge layer of protection against the many types of cyber threats that are constantly evolving and are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Understanding Maturity Levels in NIST Language
The NIST Cybersecurity framework includes five implementation tiers to help navigate the complex process of securing an enterprise with maturity levels that focus on different areas important to consider when it comes down to information security.
Improvising A Cyber Security Program – NIST Way
An outline of the NIST cybersecurity framework should include an identification function. The identification function is necessary because it more accurately depicts how any organization’s cybersecurity system functions.
The NIST Identity function is for anyone interested in better understanding the IT assets at their organization and how critical that hardware, software & data are to their business processes.
Although better system security can lead to lowered risk, the absolute certainty of a cyber-attack on an enterprise has never been established. It’s important to know how to react in the event of a data breach. For example, what would you do if you find out that there’s been a hack on your company’s security systems and someone stole all of your customer information? What steps would you take to restore the data and files? Would you notify (or pay) the hackers? How can you ensure something like this doesn’t happen again in the future?
Whether responding to an unexpected situation or recovering for the next day, Respond and Recover are two core NIST functions that are essential throughout the security management life cycle of any business. We understand that these two functions can sometimes seem exhausting, especially when you have to stand up and be responsible for them. NIST facilitates a framework that is designed to embed organizational cybersecurity by actively planning, detecting threats, and responding to detections appropriately through great technologies like threat intelligence so as not to bring about more harm than good.
Implementation Tiers of NIST Cybersecurity Framework
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework Implementation Tiers have three main elements: the Framework Core, Profile, and Tier systems.
As organizations exist in many dimensions, utilizing NIST implementation tier levels provide them with a better sense of their risk environment. This information enables organizations to understand the characteristics of their approach to managing cyber risks while pursuing their security goals.
Cyber Security Framework Implementation Tiers are ways to determine an organization’s risk management strategies, with Level 1 being the lowest and 4 being the highest.
Following are the four tiers:
- Tier 1: Partial Implementation
- Tier 2: Risk Informed
- Tier 3: Repeatable
- Tier 4: Adaptive
Profiles of NIST Cybersecurity Framework
NIST Cybersecurity framework profiles help organizations establish a risk management strategy aligned with their organizational goals, regulatory requirements, and industry best practices to reduce cybersecurity risk.
The NIST Cybersecurity framework profiles help improve cybersecurity posture by helping to compare a “Current” Profile with a “Target” Profile.
The comparison helps ensure that the contents within both Profiles are being compared fairly and that any other comparisons made will be fairly deemed whether or not it is positive or negative.
The Current Profile of your organization should integrate every control found in the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to determine which control outcomes are being achieved.
While creating a “Current” profile for your company, it is suggested that you focus on the standards outlined by the NIST cybersecurity framework to help assess the security controls and risk management policies your business employs.
And when it comes to a ‘Target’ Profile, decide what you need to do to get them as part of your boosting security posture.
Creating a target maturity score based on the assessment of Categories and Subcategories from the NIST cybersecurity framework will help businesses make any desired changes to their overall security system.
Top benefits of NIST CSF
Shared Language and process
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework helps make sure everyone plays nice and protects the network from hackers by creating a shared language for communicating security goals with executive management, improving coordination with operational leaders, enabling integration and alignment with business risk management strategies, and outlining clear processes for carrying out activities aimed at protecting the organization from cybersecurity risks.
If your organization is thinking about implementing a new security framework to protect itself from cyber attacks, NIST can help! They’re more than happy to assess key areas of your company and identify which risks may prove most problematic. They’ll also prioritize their suggested solutions so you can make informed decisions as they pertain to your business.
When deciding which cybersecurity tool or program is best for your organization, it’s important to consider that not all tools and programs will be the right fit. Cyberattacks come in several forms, using several different methods. If you choose a program designed to fight one form of attack but fail to protect your computer systems against another type of attack, you could be putting yourself at risk. Use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework as an investment guide by showing how potential cybersecurity tools and practices impact an organization’s security goals and finances.
How to get started with NIST CSF?
A great way to implement cybersecurity is to categorize the framework elements explicitly intended for smaller organizations.
For example, the Identify label will be for tools that help you inventory your assets, and mobile app security tools like AppSealing will go into Protect.
For example, the Identity function of the NIST could be the home for mobile app security tools such as AppSealing that help inform or assist users in making changes within their devices by creating a digital footprint of all its assets they’d want to protect.
Incident response tools and playbooks are part of the Respond function in the NIST cybersecurity framework, but backup and recovery tools are part of the Recover function.
Appsealing’s security solutions for mobile apps are robust and scalable. They allow businesses to easily, seamlessly, and cost-effectively secure their Android, iOS, or hybrid mobile applications to protect the business from the attacks they may face while allowing users to access all the functions they need.
From gaming apps to ecommerce apps, many of these project types are at risk of being compromised or getting hacked/damaged by malware. Contact AppSealing today, which can explore options with you regarding ways you can secure any possible vulnerabilities in your application portfolio.