Cybersecurity has become a top priority for organizations of all sizes and across all industries. The importance of protecting sensitive data and systems from cyber threats cannot be overstated. That’s why it’s crucial to have a well-defined framework for measuring and improving cybersecurity.
One such framework that has been widely adopted is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a set of guidelines, standards, and best practices that organizations can use to manage and reduce their cybersecurity risk.
The Five Functions of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework comprises five core functions that organizations can utilize to build and maintain an effective cybersecurity program. These functions are: identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover.
The identify function aims to develop an organizational understanding of cybersecurity risks to critical assets, data, and capabilities. Key activities in this function include identifying physical and software assets, business environment, cybersecurity policies, asset vulnerabilities, and risk response activities. This function helps organizations prioritize their efforts based on their risk management strategy and business needs.
The protect function outlines appropriate safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical infrastructure services and limit the impact of potential cybersecurity events. It covers activities such as implementing identity management and access control, providing security awareness training, establishing data security protection, managing technology, and maintaining protection of information systems and assets.
The detect function defines activities to identify potential cybersecurity incidents in a timely manner. This function includes implementing continuous monitoring capabilities, detecting anomalies and events, and verifying the effectiveness of protective measures.
The respond function focuses on taking appropriate actions during and after a detected cybersecurity incident. It covers activities such as ensuring response planning processes are executed, managing communications with stakeholders, analyzing incidents, performing mitigation activities, and incorporating lessons learned for improvements.
The recover function aims to restore any capabilities or services that were impaired due to a cybersecurity incident. This function includes ensuring recovery planning processes and procedures are implemented, coordinating internal and external communications during and following recovery, and incorporating lessons learned for improvements.
How CISOs Can Leverage the NIST Cybersecurity Framework
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is recognized as the gold standard for developing a comprehensive cybersecurity program, and it is particularly effective for presenting at the board level. As a CISO, you can leverage this framework to introduce your cybersecurity strategy and plan to the organization’s leadership. To ensure ongoing alignment with the framework, it is recommended to include the following slides in your quarterly presentations:
- Overview: Provide a brief summary of the organization’s cybersecurity program and the importance of maintaining an effective security posture.
- Identify: Review the steps taken to identify critical assets, business functions, and potential cybersecurity risks to the organization.
- Protect: Explain the measures in place to protect the organization’s assets and systems, such as identity management, data security, and technology management.
- Detect: Discuss the procedures in place to detect potential cybersecurity incidents and how they are monitored to ensure their effectiveness.
- Respond: Describe the plan of action to take in the event of a cybersecurity incident, including communication protocols, mitigation activities, and lessons learned.
- Recover: Discuss the steps taken to restore systems and assets affected by a cybersecurity incident, including recovery planning and improvements based on lessons learned.
By following this structure and aligning with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, you can effectively communicate your cybersecurity strategy and plan to the board, helping to ensure ongoing support and resources for your cyber program.
Want to learn how Hyver evaluates risk according to NIST IR 8286? Learn more here.