The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Cyber Security Framework (CSF) is voluntary guidance that helps organizations in the management of cybersecurity risks. The CSF provides a set of standards, practices, and procedures that organizations and stakeholders can use to improve the cybersecurity posture of their business environment.The CSF is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather it is designed to be adaptable to the specific needs of each organization. Additionally, the CSF is not a mandatory program - organizations can choose to adopt all, some, or none of the recommendations.
The CSF was developed in response to Executive Order 13636, which called for the development of a voluntary cybersecurity framework. The CSF was released in February 2014 and has since been updated several times.
What does the NIST Framework do?
The NIST CSF provides a set of response planning and recovery planning guidelines for organizations to follow in order to improve their cybersecurity posture. The framework helps organizations to identify, assess, and manage their cybersecurity risks. It also provides a common language for discussing cybersecurity risks and mitigation strategies.
The framework furthers NIST's mission to "advance measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life."
Is NIST a cybersecurity framework?
NIST in itself is not a cybersecurity framework, but it does provide guidance on how to build one. NIST is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce that develops technical standards and guidelines, including for cybersecurity. For example, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is a set of standards and best practices for managing cybersecurity risk. It helps private sector and small business assess and improve their cybersecurity risk management practices.
What are the main components of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?
The framework consists of three main components:
- The Core - outlines the necessary incident response activities to protect and defend against cyber threats in a timely manner
- The Implementation Tiers - provide a flexible means to prioritize and describe an organization's approach to cybersecurity
- The Profile - tailors the framework profile to the organization's specific risk environment and business needs
The three components work together to help organizations better manage their cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
The Core consists of five functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. Each function contains a set of categories and subcategories that further describe what activities need to be carried out under each function.
The Implementation Tiers provide a way to communicate an organization's approach to cybersecurity risk management. There are four tiers:
- Partial (Tier 1)
- Risk-Informed (Tier 2)
- Repeatable (Tier 3)
- Adaptive (Tier 4)
The Profile is a snapshot of an organization's current state of cybersecurity risk management, as well as its desired continuous monitoring state. The Profile is created by mapping the organization's security access controls and other measures to the Cybersecurity Framework Functions and Categories.
What are the five main principles of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?
The framework is built on five core functions:
- Identify: Develop an organizational understanding to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, assets, data, and capabilities.
- Protect: Develop and implement appropriate protective technologies and safeguards to ensure delivery of critical infrastructure services.
- Detect: Develop and implement appropriate detection processes to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event.
- Respond: Develop and implement appropriate activities to take action regarding a detected cybersecurity event.
- Recover: Develop and implement appropriate activities to maintain plans for resilience and to restore any capabilities or services that were impaired due to a cybersecurity event.
The main objective of the framework is to help organizations better manage and reduce cybersecurity risk. The framework implementation provides a flexible approach that organizations can tailor to their specific needs and objectives to achieve desired outcomes. Additionally, the framework can help organizations:
- Communicate cyber risk in terms of business impact
- Prioritize and coordinate cybersecurity investments and asset management
- Guide the organization in its risk assessment
- Enhance existing cybersecurity programs and recovery activities
- Support continuous improvement in risk management strategy
How many NIST frameworks are there?
NIST has developed several frameworks, including the Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (CIC), NIST Privacy Framework, and the NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF), NIST 800-53 amongst others.
NIST 800-53, for example, is a security and privacy control framework that helps organizations select controls to mitigate cybersecurity and privacy risks. When implemented, NIST 800-53 helps organizations assess their cybersecurity and privacy risks, as well as their compliance with laws, regulations, and policies. NIST 800-53 is one of the most commonly used NIST frameworks, and has been adopted by organizations across industries.
Which framework is best for cyber security?
The answer may depend on what organization you ask for, but many experts will say it is the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cyber Security Framework (NIST CSF). The NIST CSF is a set of security guidelines and best practices for businesses to follow in order to reduce their risk of a data breach.
In the wake of major cybersecurity breaches at companies like Equifax, Yahoo, and Target, the NIST CSF has been gaining traction as a baseline for organizations to reference when beefing up their cybersecurity activities.
What is the difference between NIST and ISO standards?
NIST is a federal agency that develops technical standards for industry, including for cybersecurity. The ISO is the International Organization for Standardization, a global standards body. While both organizations develop standards that aim to improve critical infrastructure sectors, there are some key differences between them.
NIST standards are free and voluntary to adopt, while ISO standards may come with a fee. ISO standards offer certification to companies that meet their requirements. This can be helpful for demonstrating to customers and partners that a company is serious about cybersecurity. NIST does not offer certification.
NIST standards are developed by a team of experts in the United States, whereas ISO standards are developed by a global team of experts. This can make NIST standards more relevant to companies in the United States, but it also means that they may take longer to be updated.
Finally, NIST standards are updated more frequently than ISO standards. This is because the data security landscape is constantly changing, and NIST standards need to keep up with the latest threats.
What is the difference between the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and ISO 27000?
The NIST CSF is a set of guidelines and best practices for improving an organization's cybersecurity posture, while ISO 27000 is an internationally recognized standard that outlines requirements for an information security management system (ISMS). The two frameworks share some commonalities, but there are also key differences.
What is CMMC?
The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a certification program that provides a framework to ensure that all Department of Defense (DoD) contractors handle DoD’s sensitive information appropriately. The CMMC is not a voluntary program; all companies that wish to do business with the DoD must be certified.
What is CMMC Compliance?
The CMMC has five levels of certification, each with progressively more stringent requirements. The higher the level of certification, the more data that organizations will be required to protect.
The five levels are:
- Level 1: Basic Cyber Hygiene
- Level 2: Medium Cyber Hygiene
- Level 3: Good Cyber Hygiene
- Level 4: Proactive
- Level 5: Advanced/Progressive
CMMC Compliance is required for all Department of Defense (DoD) contractors who wish to do business with the government. The CMMC is a tiered system, with each level representing an increase in the maturity and sophistication of an organization's cybersecurity practices.
The CMMC was created as supply chain risk management response to the growing threat of cyber attacks against the US military and defense contractors. The goal of the CMMC is to improve the cybersecurity of the defense industrial base by providing a unified standard that contractors can use to assess and improve their cybersecurity posture.
As an IT Director, why should I care about NIST CSF or CMMC?
The answer is two-fold. Firstly, the NIST CSF provides guidelines for how to secure your organization's data and systems. Secondly, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a certification program that assesses an organization's compliance with the Department of Defense (DoD) cybersecurity standards. The CMMC certification is required for all contractors who wish to do business with the DoD.
As an IT Director, you should be familiar with both the NIST CSF and the CMMC certification program. Compliance with both of these standards will not only help to ensure that your organization's data and systems are secure, but will also make your organization more suitable as a potential defense contractor.
As a CFO why should I care about NIST CSF or CMMC?
As a CFO you should care about both NIST CSF and CMMC because they will help ensure that your organization's data and systems are secure. Despite their similarities compliance with either of the two frameworks does not guarantee compliance with the other. Cybersecurity is an increasingly important concern for businesses of all sizes and industries and CFOs play a vital role in ensuring that their organizations are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves.
Gain the necessary cybersecurity maturity to obtain compliance with CMMC 2.0
NIST CSF and CMMC are two important cybersecurity frameworks that all organizations should be aware of. Compliance with either of these standards will help to ensure that your organization's data and systems are secure. Cybersecurity is an increasingly important concern for businesses of all sizes and industries and compliance with these frameworks is a vital step in protecting your organization.
At ne Digital we have extensive experience helping clients achieve compliance with CMMC 2.0 requirements and we can help your organization do the same. Our team will work with you to develop a tailored plan that meets your specific needs and helps you obtain the necessary cyber security maturity required for CMMC 2.0 certification. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you become compliant with this important standard.