The NIST cybersecurity framework was created by the US government and published in 2014. It sets out a number of recommended standards which organizations in the public and private sector can follow to reinforce their cybersecurity profile.
There are five key functions of the NIST framework, which are identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover.
These five elements of the NIST cybersecurity framework add up to a “target profile”, which differs depending on the particular organization, as companies have varying needs—especially with regard to compliance.
Why Is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework Necessary?
Cyberattacks have been on the rise at an alarming rate in recent years, making it more vital than ever for organizations and businesses to start thinking about their current cybersecurity posture.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given how often data breaches and hacks make the news today, but the sophisticated, wide-scale social engineering attacks on SMBs and their propensity to cause enormous issues with smaller companies is proving to be a massive threat to modern businesses.
The NIST framework components aim to provide businesses with a cybersecurity guide that will help them mitigate some of these rising cyber risks of today.
While data breaches for enterprise organizations can be devastating, for SMBs they can be fatal. One of the worst expenses an organization in today’s digital-first economy can incur is the cost of downtime. Downtime is exactly what it sounds like; the amount of time that an organization isn’t operational due to their core systems going offline.
Downtime is a double-edged sword, too. Not only does downtime hinder your ability to make active sales and result in significant losses, but it also has the potential to hurt your reputation with your current consumers.
For small businesses, that number [cost of downtime per minute] drops to the lower-but-still-significant tune of $137 to $427 per minute.
The COVID-19 pandemic only made matters worse, with unprepared businesses shifting their operations to remote work without the security capabilities of dealing with such a workforce. This creates even more endpoints that need cybersecurity protections and gives even more credence to the necessity of the NIST cybersecurity framework.
The cybersecurity landscape has developed significantly since the pandemic, and the lasting challenges and changes that have arisen because of it should not be understated.
Many of the technology implementations organizations have made to protect themselves since the pandemic will be essential for the future in terms of building a strategy that incorporates the components of the NIST framework.
Who’s the NIST Framework For?
The NIST framework was ostensibly established to provide guidance to companies that operate in supply chains for the federal government like prime contractors and subcontractors.
The standards, however, are applicable to all businesses. For those organizations that lack a cybersecurity strategy and need a jumping-off point, the NIST framework is a great way of getting one.
Many managed security service providers (MSSPs) will use the NIST framework to determine what a business’ position is and what they need to do with their strategy going forward.