What is NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NCF)?

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According to the CPR (Check Point Research), the global cyber attacks have skyrocketed by 38% in the year 2022, as compared to 2021. Moreover, 83% of the Indian companies have somehow experienced a cyber threat which cost them millions of dollars. 

So, with the huge increase in digital threats, it is crucial that this issue is stated properly. It is important to establish a robust cyber security framework that can protect your sensitive data and maintain a healthy digital presence. One such framework is NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NCF). But what exactly is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and why is it considered a crucial tool in the fight against cyber threats? 

In this blog, we will take a deep look at NCF, and I will talk about their objectives, components, and how you can start with this framework to safeguard your online presence. 

What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

The NIST framework was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This framework provides organizations with detailed guidelines and practices to improve their cybersecurity standings. The NCF contains guidelines, practices, and standards that can detect, respond to, and protect from cyber-attacks.  

The NIST risk management framework was built voluntarily by collaboration between both private organizations and government bodies. It is designed to be flexible and cost-efficient, so that it can be beneficial for small businesses as well. 

What are the Objectives of NCF?

NCF is designed to protect your IT infrastructure, enhancing cybersecurity awareness and resilience within companies. 

One primary goal is to provide organizations with a clear framework for assessing and improving their cybersecurity posture, emphasizing the importance of risk assessment and management. The framework can be used to increase security in the following ways: 

  1. Evaluate existing cybersecurity measures.
  2. Discover prospective cybersecurity policies and standards.
  3. Communicate and implement new cybersecurity requirements.
  4. Establish a fresh cybersecurity program and its associated requirements. 

Now that you know the objective of NCF, let’s talk about their functions. 

What are the Functions of NIST Cybersecurity Framework? 

The NCF classify all the cybersecurity abilities, processes, and projects based on the following fundamental functions:  

Identify

The identify function focuses on laying the foundation for a cybersecurity program. It thoroughly identifies cyber security risks while looking at resources available in hand.  

When businesses understand their assets, vulnerabilities, and potential threats they incorporate, they can proactively manage risks and build resilience. Furthermore, this function encourages companies to develop a deep awareness of their digital environment. 

Protect

The next function of the NIST Cybersecurity framework ensures the secure delivery of critical infrastructure services. Furthermore, it also minimizes the impact of potential cybersecurity events. Some of the key actions within this function are: 

  1. Enhance security by implementing safeguards for Identity Management and Access Control for both physical and remote access. 
  2. Strengthen personal awareness and user security training. 
  3. Establish consistent processes for maintaining and managing the IT security. 
  4. Safeguard organizational resources through routine maintenance. 
  5. Manage technologies to ensure system security and resiliency. 

Detect

The “DETECT” function is crucial for identifying potential cybersecurity incidents. It involves: 

  1. Detecting anomalies and events. 
  2. Understanding the potential impact of these incidents. 
  3. Utilizing continuous monitoring to observe cybersecurity events. 
  4. Verifying the effectiveness of protective measures, covering both network security and physical activities. 

Respond 

The Respond function in the NIST Cybersecurity framework involves taking appropriate actions when a cybersecurity incident is detected. NIST incident response includes: 

  1. Executing response plans during and after an incident. 
  2. Communicating with internal and external stakeholders throughout the event. 
  3. Analyzing incidents to ensure effective responses, supporting recovery through forensic analysis, and determining the incident’s impact. 
  4. Mitigating activities to prevent the incident from escalating and resolving them immediately. 
  5. Implementing improvements by learning from current and past detection/response activities. 

Recover

Recover function focuses on restoring and maintaining resilience plans, as well as recovering capabilities that are affected by cyber security threats. Key activities of the Recover function include: 

  • Establishing recovery planning processes to restore affected systems and assets. 
  • Implementing enhancements based on lessons learned and strategy reviews. 
  • Coordinating internal and external communications during and after cybersecurity incident recovery. 

How Can I Start with NIST Cybersecurity?

To get started with NIST Cybersecurity Frameworks, start with organizing your tasks into five main categories. Imagine you’re sorting tools and activities into these buckets: “Identify” for stuff that keeps track of your assets, “Protect” for tools like Firewalls and Crowdstrike, “Detect” for things like IDS and SIEM, “Respond” for incident response tools and playbooks, and “Recover” for backup and recovery tools. 

As you go through this, you might find that some buckets are emptier than others. It helps you to pinpoint where your cybersecurity program might be lacking. This is your cue to figure out what’s missing and take steps to fill in those gaps. 

FAQs

  1. Are NIST standards required?

    If you are doing any business in the USA, then you have to comply with NIST. It includes both government and private companies. 

  2. Is NIST cybersecurity frameworks mandatory?

    Yes, but if your business operates out of the US, then you can check with the concerned authority.

  3. When did NIST start?

    NIST started on March 3, 1901.

  4. Why was NIST created? 

    NIST was created to provide guidelines and support to the organizations for cyber security. so that they can improve their online presence.

 

Published On: November 23, 2023

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