For those new to the cybersecurity world, hearing about the NIST cybersecurity framework may initially instill trepidation and confusion. So, what is the NIST cybersecurity framework and why is it important? In this article, we’ll delve into this set of guidelines and remove the manifestation of fear or apprehension.
NIST is the acronym for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It’s a physical sciences laboratory and a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce with a mission to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness.
The NIST cybersecurity framework is a set of best practices and guidelines created by NIST to help companies and organizations to create and enhance their cybersecurity measures. It’s a collection of propositions and protocols designed to help organizations prepare for the possibility of cybercrimes while also helping them recognize and diagnose dangers associated with attacks on their computers and IT systems. The framework provides advice on cybersecurity prevention and response and recovery from an attack.
The NIST cybersecurity framework creates a systematic and standardized approach to protection from attacks on IT systems that is shared by all its adherents. This approach encourages collaboration and resource sharing among member organizations to help stem the damage caused by new security problems. It also helps to synthesize solutions to new problems more quickly and efficiently. The framework creates a common language that can be spoken among its adherents allowing for ease of communication and a standardized approach to dealing with cybersecurity issues.
Organizations that create a NIST cybersecurity framework profile are better able to detect deficiencies in their security systems while benefiting from the knowledge gained by other participating organizations. The common language enjoyed by all the involved parties allows for effective communication of problems and sharing of mitigation techniques.
The NIST cybersecurity framework is categorized into five main core capabilities. These are: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover. Below we’ll go into more detail about each of these core capabilities.
The Identify function causes the organization to analyze and classify its computing hardware and software infrastructure, identify existing cybersecurity measures and risk management policies, identify possible cyberthreats and vulnerabilities to those threats as well as assess any regulations or legal responsibilities of the organization with regards to cybersecurity.
The Protect function is meant to motivate the organization to implement cybersecurity safeguards to secure the information, processes, procedures, hardware, software, and systems that it uses to allow them to remain functioning and usable in the case of a security breach. It also includes training and educating staff on the policies and procedures that need to be carried out if a breach does occur.
The Detect function is necessary to alert the appropriate parties to any kind of security breach or anomaly within the computing infrastructure. It includes monitoring cybersecurity attacks as well as the protective systems in place to prevent those attacks from causing undue damage.
The Respond function details what needs to take place when a cybersecurity breach occurs. It’s meant to call into action the parties charged with controlling the breach and allowing them to communicate effectively while the attack is occurring and after it has been dealt with. It should help mitigate any damage done while using knowledge of previous events to help determine its actions.
The Recover function is used to restore any lost data or capabilities in a timely and efficient manner. The recovery team should work in tandem with the response team to assess the breach and implement recommendations to be used in future incidents.
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