Why You Should Use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework

If your organization isn't among those that have adopted the National Institute of Standards' cybersecurity framework, you might struggle to protect your data and reputation.
Contact Us

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

If your organization isn’t among those that have adopted the National Institute of Standards’ cybersecurity framework, you might struggle to protect your data and reputation. Fragmented cybersecurity efforts can cause you to bleed money and waste precious working hours. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. The cybersecurity framework by NIST was designed to help organizations like yours succeed at cybersecurity.

Why You Should Use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework

What Is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, first developed the cybersecurity framework or CSF in 2014 to reduce cyber risk in response to a 2013 executive order from then-President Barack Obama. Thousands of people from various backgrounds contributed to the framework, and the decentralized development process played a critical role in how valuable CSF has become.

The first version of the cybersecurity framework reigned until 2018, when version 1.1 was released. The expanded framework was designed to be more easily adopted by various organizations and was refined and clarified from version 1.0. This framework’s basis is five main categories: identification, protection, detection, response, and recovery.

  • Identification covers the business environment, assets, and potential risks.
  • Protection includes access control, training, data security, and maintenance.
  • Detection focuses on anomalous events and security monitoring.
  • Response factors include planning, communication, analysis, mitigation, and improvements.
  • Finally, recovery is about planning for, improving upon, and communicating during the recovery process.

Everyone from small businesses to federal organizations and governments could rely on the cybersecurity framework to mitigate their risk in the digital realm. None of these organizations have to start from scratch when it comes to cybersecurity because the NIST cybersecurity framework offers unbiased guidelines. If you’re in charge of implementing cybersecurity procedures for a client, the CSF gives you a place to start from every time. Those guidelines’ flexibility means that you can adapt them to your organization or client’s needs, regardless of its size or industry.

It seems to have been successful. By 2015, 30 percent of organizations in the United States had adopted the cybersecurity framework, and the NIST estimated that number would increase to 50 percent by 2020. The current list of CSF adopters includes universities and medical centers, among others. NIST highlights successes stories like those of the University of Pittsburgh, which has benefitted by using the cybersecurity framework to help departments comply with security protocols.

What are the Benefits of NIST CSF?

The cybersecurity framework guidelines include practices that will help organizations implement long-term security procedures. This offers cost and time savings over security protocols that respond to the current crisis. It’s not about scrambling to keep up only to fall two steps behind the security risks. Instead, the cybersecurity framework by NIST allows you to mitigate risks both now and in the future. And following the NIST cybersecurity framework will make it easier for organizations to adopt new security procedures that use the CSF as a foundation when implemented in the future. This is crucial if you want to ensure compliance with cybersecurity laws and protocols.

This cybersecurity framework is especially important to business partnerships because some companies may opt not to partner with companies that don’t follow the CSF, aren’t transparent about their adherence, or haven’t adopted its guidelines as their prospective partners would like. If you want to open up business partnerships and protect your company’s reputation, it just makes sense to follow the cybersecurity framework.

Similarly, the fact that your company follows the National Institute of Standards cybersecurity guidelines can reassure existing and potential stakeholders, who are typically risk-averse because it focuses on managing cybersecurity risks. The CSF also streamlines communication between investors and business partners and those who are in charge of technical setup by providing them with a shared foundation for understanding. We no longer live in a world where company executives can bury their heads in the sand about cybersecurity and technology. The NIST cybersecurity protocol makes it that much easier for directors to understand and articular security measures.

In short, there’s no lack of reasons why you should implement NIST’s cybersecurity framework, even if setup might involve some initial hurdles. But while the CSF might be a cornerstone of your cybersecurity efforts, it doesn’t mean that your organization shouldn’t strive to go above and beyond the measures outlined by the framework to protect your data best, server clients, and streamline your organization.

Getting Started With the NIST Cybersecurity Framework

The National Institute of Standards offers a detailed guide if you’re interested in learning more about the cybersecurity framework or adopting it for your company. For those who need a hand implementing the CSF protocols, a managed service provider can help, and NIST announced a customizable reference model for MSPs in late 2019. This is also welcome news to those MSPs who have struggled to follow the cybersecurity framework when working with their clients. With so many resources available, what are you waiting for?