How the NIST Framework Can Help Transform Your Cybersecurity Posture

Technologies have become a part of almost every business today. But as much as technology is becoming instrumental in enhancing business service delivery and contributing to a company’s success, it is also necessitating companies to devise a protection plan from cybersecurity attacks. Building a robust cybersecurity governance framework is crucial to keeping cyber attacks at bay. Otherwise, the business gets disrupted, and the company’s operational plans can go for a toss, thereby incurring huge financial losses.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – a non-regulatory federal agency, part of the US Department of Commerce – provides a cybersecurity framework to guide enterprises to manage their cybersecurity risks efficiently and effectively. NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) aims to make companies aware of the importance of protecting their information systems and building a strong cybersecurity posture. It is these guidelines governing how data is processed and handled that make the NIST framework pertinent to organizations and companies outside the Federal Government agencies themselves. The framework can help the security teams and CISOs have a systematic approach to risk assessment.
This blog post highlights the uniqueness that NIST CSF brings and how it can impact business operations.

Why Use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

Though NIST has developed the cybersecurity framework considering the operations of US-based organizations, the guidelines are applicable and helpful for companies across the globe. Even if your enterprise does not interact directly with the federal government, there are clear advantages to being compliant with the NIST Cybersecurity framework. Typically, those compliant with these regulations are also compliant with other data regulations across industries, from GDPR to FDA, FAA, or other regulations that are found in certain industry verticals. Here’re 5 key benefits of implementing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework:

NIST cybersecurity infographic

1. Helps Build Trust Among Partners

The NIST CSF helps enterprises build a strong security posture and establish credibility among internal and external parties. The assurance that the company can withstand any cybersecurity attacks or prevent them from happening – builds trust among the stakeholders and partners.

2. Provides Comprehensive Cybersecurity Guidelines

When there is a collective thought process involved in developing guidelines for cybersecurity management, the possibility of unforeseen circumstances arising out of nowhere is minimalized. The NIST cybersecurity framework is the outcome of the collaboration of multiple cybersecurity professionals, teams, and organizations. Therefore, enterprises that implement NIST CSF can feel relieved since they are managing their cybersecurity program based on the opinions of multiple experts.

3. Increases Organizational Resilience

NIST doesn’t just limit its focus to cybersecurity prevention and management. It provides a framework to guide enterprises in the recovery process as well. The aftermath of a cybersecurity attack can be severe and having a plan or a pre-defined strategy is necessary to prevent or minimize the financial loss that can tag along with cybersecurity attacks.

4. Enables an Integrated Risk Management Approach

One of the main objectives of the NIST framework is to bring together all the departments of a company into the cybersecurity management process. The stakeholders and security leaders have to be on the same page to ensure proper resource allocation on the company’s security systems. NIST provides guidelines to streamline the communication between enterprise leaders and technical teams so that the requirements are better understood and there is no room for any misunderstandings.

5. Allows Flexibility

Another important benefit of the NIST CSF is that the existing risk management processes of a company need not be replaced. The framework can be seamlessly integrated into business operations as an enhancement or an improvement to existing processes. It can be aligned with the enterprise’s objectives and requirements efficiently. On the contrary, companies that haven’t established a cybersecurity program can adopt the NIST Cybersecurity framework as the foundation for achieving cybersecurity maturity.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework to Develop Risk Heat Maps: A Use Case

Many companies across industries have benefited from NIST CSF. Following is a use case of how software companies can benefit from the NIST cybersecurity framework –
Software companies are required to work with numerous different technologies and application development processes. Therefore, evaluating cybersecurity risks and implementing a strong cybersecurity management process becomes a top priority for software businesses. That said, the outcome of their risk assessments can be better understood when it is depicted in a visual format like risk heat maps. But developing such risk heat maps may not be possible if there is a lack of a standardized approach to categorize the company’s infrastructure and services based on the level of cybersecurity risk involved. To seamlessly implement these processes, a robust cybersecurity governance framework is imperative.
The NIST cybersecurity framework provides the direction and the ability to build the foundation for developing risk heat maps. A software company can determine its risk tolerance level and manage its cybersecurity investments strategically with the help of the NIST framework that provides guidelines for the security teams to verify, validate, and categorize business operation risks based on a scoring system.
Wrapping Up
The NIST cybersecurity framework is a good starting point to ensure data security. The activities described in the framework serve as a great foundation for any compliance objectives and can help any company in its quest for better data security, regulatory compliance, or any other objectives. Also, formulating a recovery plan becomes effortless due to the involvement of extensive analysis. Adopting these guidelines and coupling them with modern solutions is what makes an enterprise stand out from its competitors and sustain itself in the market.
Learn about the core cybersecurity guidelines of the NIST framework in detail and explore the NIST Readiness Assessment once you are well on your way with the NIST CSF guidelines.
ServiceNow has been helping enterprises advance their cybersecurity management capabilities through automation and machine learning. ServiceNow’s Security Operations (SecOps) application ensures that companies can take a proactive approach to manage cybersecurity risks. It also helps enterprises reduce the response time to cybersecurity incidents and enable seamless collaboration between security and IT teams.
KANINI, a ServiceNow Premier Partner, helps implement ServiceNow SecOps seamlessly and strives to transform the way cybersecurity incidents are handled across the enterprise.
Author

Joshua Smith

Joshua is a process improvement thought leader and digital transformation expert at KANINI. Over the past 15 years, his focus has always been on achieving organizational maturity and enhancing business processes through implementing tools and workflows to drive transformation initiatives. With experience in multiple verticals from – manufacturing to healthcare, Joshua brings a practitioner’s perspective when working on business solutions and goals to allow him to advise and guide on industry and process best practices.