What is the NIST-CSF Framework?
With more and more critical infrastructure moving online, in 2013 the White House recognized the need to establish a framework to help businesses improve their cybersecurity. The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) crafted a Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) to help businesses protect online infrastructure critical to the American public. The administration worked with over 3,000 cybersecurity professionals to develop the framework.
Released on February 12, 2014, the NIST CSF is a completely voluntary program for the private sector (it is currently mandated for US federal agencies). The most updated NIST CSF version, 1.1, was released in April 2018 and has been downloaded almost 300,000 times. Although the document was written in more accessible language for the layperson, cybersecurity consultants and organizations find that a NIST CSF assessment tool, like SecurityGate.io, can help them quickly understand whether their organization is adhering to the best practices it outlines and identify areas for improvement.
Why Use the NIST-CSF Framework?
While NIST doesn’t offer any certifications, the guidance in the CSF helps businesses improve in five core areas related to cybersecurity threats: identifying, protecting, detecting, responding and recovering. In particular, the NIST CSF provides language that enables non-technical and technical staff alike to discuss cybersecurity topics and align procedures in accordance with business requirements, risk posture, and available resources.
How to Conduct an Assessment Using NIST-CSF
The NIST CSF is designed to be flexible and adaptable to specific industry requirements. But this flexibility can lead to uncertainty about how to specifically assess where a business is in its cybersecurity journey. This is why a NIST CSF assessment tool such as SecurityGate.io can be particularly helpful to an organization navigating this framework. Our platform has standardized NIST CSF assessments that can quickly provide data insights on areas of opportunity. Through our dashboards, cybersecurity professionals can easily compare their current outlook to previous assessments to see how the organization has progressed in terms of cybersecurity compliance.
About Implementation Tiers and Profiles
Tiers describe the degree to which an organization’s cybersecurity risk management practices exhibit the characteristics defined in the Framework. The Tiers range from Partial (Tier 1) to Adaptive (Tier 4), and they describe how well-integrated cybersecurity risk decisions are and the degree to which the organization shares and receives cybersecurity information from external parties. The Tiers do not necessarily represent maturity levels.
Profiles are used to identify opportunities for improving cybersecurity posture by comparing a “Current” Profile with a “Target” Profile. By comparing the profiles, organizations can identify cybersecurity gaps associated with CSF practices.
Simplify NIST-CSF Assessments with SecurityGate.io
SecurityGate.io was built by a team of professionals with decades of experience in critical infrastructure industries. We understand that there are challenges specific to industrial organizations running operational technology (OT). That’s why we built a NIST CSF assessment tool that is not only easy to use, but also comes preprogrammed with questions designed for these industries.
SecurityGate.io is the preferred NIST CSF assessment tool for a number of cybersecurity consultants and internal teams. With our platform, users can decrease the time it takes to perform an NIST CSF assessment from weeks to hours. This enables teams to quickly move to post-assessment activities like remediations, improvement tracking, auditing, and compliance. When using SecurityGate.io, teams can not only identify an organization’s current risk posture, but also to quickly get to work improving it. This not only protects our critical infrastructure industry; it also provides consultants and stakeholders with a tangible way to demonstrate their value to an organization.