Understanding the NIST Framework

 

You may have heard of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework a few times online but, unless you have knowledge and experience in the world of cybersecurity, this topic can seem quite complex. However, once you take time to learn more about the framework, you will realize how simple and effective it can be. Still, if you have difficulties understanding or implementing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework guidelines, you can reach out to us at The Network Pro for professional assistance.

To be able to understand why the NIST Framework is so effective, you must keep in mind the core security issue when it comes to today’s companies and organizations that conduct their business in an always connected world. Each business that deals with customer data or has a sensitive information system is at risk of being exploited by hackers.

A cybersecurity incident can carry significant consequences from losing important data,  exposing customer information, and damaging the company’s credibility to losing control of the whole system or infrastructure. Instead of dwelling on the potential risks and disasters, it is best to take action to protect your business right away. That is where the NIST Cybersecurity Framework comes into game.

You can look at this framework as a simple risk management framework that guides you through different cybersecurity controls. The framework consists of a set of regulations based on the most effective cybersecurity standards and practices developed by the NIST, also known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The guidelines also contain the best practices developed by other security organizations such as the International Standards Organization or ISO for short.

Thanks to these effective practices, following the NIST Cybersecurity Framework guidelines will ensure better risk management, enhanced security, and less cyberattacks on your business. However, it is important to keep in mind that these regulations are completely voluntary, meaning your business is not legally required to comply to this framework. It is up to you to choose whether NIST compliance is a good thing your business, which, in most cases, it is.

The Five Functions of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework has a structure that contains five fundamental functions. These five functions were created to provide business owners with a clearer view of their cybersecurity management, helping them fill the gaps where necessary. Furthermore, each of the five functions is further divided into smaller categories that deal with more specific issues. Below is the list of the framework’s core functions, along with the main categories of each function.

  • IDENTIFY – Categories: Risk Assessment, Risk Management Strategy
  • PROTECT – Categories: Access Control, Data Security, Maintenance
  • DETECT – Categories: Anomalies and Strange Events, Potential Threats
  • RESPOND – Categories: Response Planning, Analysis, Improvements
  • RECOVER – Categories: Recovery, Planning, Improvement

Thanks such a great structure, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework helps businesses and organizations spot potential threats or gaps in their security system. It also helps improve their security practices in different fields, from identifying potential risks and threats to protecting their systems, detecting strange events, improving their response plans, and recovering from past cyberattacks.

Conclusion

We must remind you that the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is not in any way a requirement but it is a great management system for businesses that wish to responsibly protect their infrastructure. With cybersecurity attacks becoming more frequent and far more complex than they’ve ever been, it is important to take advantage of the best security practices to prevent unwanted incidents. After all, the credibility of your business and all the data behind it depend on your cybersecurity strategies. It is only wise to consider following an effective security guideline such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.