The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework is a guide on best practices for managing and protecting critical infrastructure and sensitive information. The NIST cybersecurity framework provides organisations with a comprehensive, flexible, and cost-effective approach to managing and reducing cybersecurity risk by organising the protection of critical assets into five functions: Identity, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. These functions are supported by standards, guidelines, and practices.
Elements of NIST Cyber Security Framework
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework comprises five core functions that are explained in brief as shown below:
This function involves understanding the organisation’s systems, assets, data, and capabilities and identifying cybersecurity risks.
This function involves implementing safeguards to prevent or mitigate the impact of cybersecurity incidents.
This function involves developing and implementing business processes to identify cybersecurity events and incidents in a timely manner.
This function involves developing and implementing plans to respond to cybersecurity incidents, including communication, containment, and recovery.
This function involves developing and implementing plans to restore systems, data, and capabilities impacted by a cybersecurity incident.
Australian Cyber Security Centre and NIST Cybersecurity Framework
In Australia, the government has adopted NIST standards as a benchmark for cybersecurity best practices. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), which is part of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), provides guidance on implementing NIST standards and guidelines.
ACSC has adopted the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) to create the Australian Cyber Security Centre Essential Eight (ACSC E8), which is a set of eight essential mitigation strategies that organisations can implement to minimise the likelihood and impact of a cyber-attack. The ACSC E8 includes a range of strategies, such as application whitelisting, patching applications, and user application hardening.
Some of the NIST publications that have been adopted by the ACSC include the following:
1) NIST Cybersecurity Framework:
The ACSC has developed a Cybersecurity Guide based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, which provides guidance on how organizations can identify, protect, detect, respond to, and recover from a cyberattack.
2) NIST SP 800-53:
The ACSC has developed a set of controls based on NIST SP 800-53 that are used by Australian government agencies to protect their information and systems from any external threat.
3) NIST SP 800-171:
The ACSC has developed a Guide for Protecting Your Business Information, which is based on NIST SP 800-171 and provides guidance on how organizations can protect their sensitive information.
4) NIST SP 800-30:
The ACSC has developed a Risk Management Guide based on NIST SP 800-30, which provides guidance on how organisations can identify and assess risks to their information and systems.
Thus, by following these standards, organisations in Australia can help to mitigate risks and reduce the likelihood of a security breach.
Furthermore, the use of NIST standards and guidelines in Australia is not limited to government agencies. Many private sector organizations also use these standards as a basis for their security programs.
Benefits of NIST Cybersecurity Framework
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework can provide several benefits to Australian organizations in managing and reducing their cybersecurity risks. Here are a few potential benefits:
1. Common Language:
The framework provides a common language for organisations to communicate cybersecurity risks with both internal and external stakeholders. This can help facilitate better collaboration and understanding of cybersecurity risks and risk management strategies.
2. Comprehensive Approach:
The NIST Cybersecurity framework offers a comprehensive approach to managing cybersecurity risks, with five core functions and categories and subcategories to guide implementation. This can help ensure that organizations address all aspects of cybersecurity risk management and avoid missing critical areas.
The framework is flexible and adaptable to a range of organizational sizes, structures, and risk profiles. Organizations can tailor their implementation of the framework to their specific needs and circumstances.
4. Risk Management:
The framework is risk-based, meaning that it focuses on managing cybersecurity risks rather than trying to eliminate them entirely. This approach can help organizations prioritize their efforts and resources on the most significant risks and ensure they are managing those risks effectively.
The framework can help organizations meet compliance requirements for cybersecurity, such as the Australian Privacy Act and the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme. Adherence to the framework can also demonstrate to customers and stakeholders that the organization takes cybersecurity seriously and is committed to protecting sensitive information.
Overall, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework can provide a useful tool for Australian organizations to manage and reduce their cybersecurity risks in a systematic and standardized way.
How can Anitech Consultants help?
Anitech’s experienced ISMS consultants are experts in strategizing and implementing cybersecurity frameworks like NIST Cybersecurity Framework. With their knowledge, problem solving and decision-making skill, commitment to details, and professionalism, they can guide organisations in implementing the NIST cybersecurity framework at their workplace.
Here are some ways that Anitech’s consultants can help:
Anitech’s ISMS consultants will analyse your organization’s current cybersecurity posture and identify gaps and areas for improvement. This assessment can help the organization understand its current risk posture and what needs to be done to improve it.
2. Framework Implementation:
Consultants can provide guidance and support to organizations as they implement the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. They can help with the planning, developing and documenting policies, procedures, and controls that align with the framework’s requirements.
3. Training and Awareness:
Anitech’s experienced consultants can provide training and awareness programs for employees to ensure that they understand the organization’s cybersecurity policies and procedures and how to comply with them. This can include training on how to identify and respond to cybersecurity incidents and how to protect sensitive information. Under their leadership, our experts will ensure that your staff learns industry-oriented skills to prevent cyberattacks.
4. Third-party Management:
Our Consultants can help organizations manage the cybersecurity risks associated with their third-party vendors, client and suppliers. This can include conducting due diligence on vendors’ cybersecurity practices and contracts, ensuring that they meet the organization’s cybersecurity requirements.
5. Continuous Improvement:
Anitech Consultants can help organizations establish a program of continuous improvement for their cybersecurity posture. This can involve regular reviews of the organization’s cybersecurity policies, procedures, and controls to ensure that they remain up-to-date and effective. The program should include software maintenance to ensure all systems and its software are updated.
Overall, consultants can provide valuable expertise and support to organizations as they implement the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. This can help ensure that the organization manages its cybersecurity risks effectively and protects its sensitive information, which is an asset of a Company.
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