The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the U.S. Department of Commerce developed a cybersecurity framework (CSF) that helps organizations of all sizes better grasp, manage, and minimize their cybersecurity risk. The CSF provides an outline that helps businesses evaluate where to direct their resources for cybersecurity protection.

How the CSF Betters Cybersecurity

The NIST CSF helps companies protect their data by increasing their security. The system can assist you with:

  • Determining your current level of security.
  • Identifying new ways to protect your data.
  • Creating new cybersecurity requirements and programs.

CSF’s 5 Functions

The NIST cybersecurity framework consists of five core functions. You can put these functions to work in your organization to enhance your cybersecurity.

  1. Identify: First, identify all the data, software, and equipment you use to lay the groundwork for an effective cybersecurity program. Next, create a cybersecurity policy covering the roles and responsibilities of everyone with access to sensitive data. Then, note the steps to safeguard your data against an attack.
  2. Protect: Safeguard your data by installing security software and conducting regular backups. You also want to update your software regularly and train your employees about cybersecurity.
  3. Detect: Investigate any abnormal activities on your network or by your employees and check for unauthorized users and connections.
  4. Respond: Know how you’ll respond when you identify a threat. Plan how you will investigate and contain attacks and report them to authorities. You also want to prepare for events that will put your data at risk — like weather emergencies.
  5. Recover: After an attack, speedily repair damaged network areas and keep your customers and staff informed about your recovery activities.

How to Get Started with the NIST Framework

You can align with this framework by listing all your tools and activities and labeling them with one of the five CSF functions. For example, you will label tools like firewalls as “protect.” Once everything is labeled, it is easier to notice which functions do not receive much attention or utilize enough tools. You can take steps to fortify these functions.

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Implement the NIST CSF

Organizations can create well-built cybersecurity systems by utilizing the NIST CSF, as it identifies network areas open for attack. At Agio, we can help you assess your existing cybersecurity operations through penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, and configuration management. Find out more about our cybersecurity consulting services, or contact us online to discuss your unique security needs.