5 Practical Ways to Use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to Strengthen Your IT Security

Putting together a comprehensive and reliable corporate cybersecurity plan can be complicated. There are multiple moving parts, such as end-point security, user training, and anti-malware defenses. Having a roadmap to follow can save countless hours and ensure no security areas are missed.

A government resource that many companies utilize is from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework was designed to help organizations manage IT security risks with a flexible and cost-effective approach. The Framework is voluntary, meant to compliment current security plans, and it consists of cybersecurity:

  • Standards
  • Guidelines
  • Best Practices

When we’re working with our clients in the financial industry, two top priorities include ensuring airtight data security and developing a business continuity plan. That’s why we use a number of tools, like Triada Recover, to keep our clients’ data safe and secure. We also help them fully understand the benefits of the Framework from NIST.

With data breaches on the rise and small & medium-sized businesses often the prime target, using a road map like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework can give you an affordable way to keep your network as secure as the enterprise corporations.

NIST Cybersecurity Takeaways You Can use

There are five main organizational areas to cybersecurity that make up the core of the Framework, which include:

  • Identify
  • Protect
  • Detect
  • Respond
  • Recover

The Better Business Bureau adopted the Framework in their 5 Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity Guide.

Each area represents a different, but equally important area of IT security. By organizing your plan, resources, and policies by these core sectors you can better protect yourself and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Here are some of the helpful ways to use the Framework in your office.

Use Framework Tiers to Chart Your Path

Some companies have already implemented strong cybersecurity plans and are now just continuing to add to them. Others are starting from scratch and working to put the initial pieces together. Using the Framework Implementation Tiers can help you identify which tier your company is at in their IT security strategy and which tier is next.

Tiers are:

  • Tier 1 (Partial), cyber risk management profiles aren’t formalized
  • Tier 2 (Risk Informed), cyber risk policy is approved, but not on an organization-wide basis yet
  • Tier 3: (Repeatable), a regular cyber risk policy is in place and running and company works with business partners, like cloud services providers, to further reduce risk
  • Tier 4: (Adaptive), cybersecurity practices are adapted in “real time” with rapid response to sophisticated threats

Conduct a Full Risk Assessment

The NIST Framework provides tools that help you identify all types of risks so you can adequately plan to protect against them. While viruses might have been the main threat to networks 20 years ago, today threats are much more sophisticated and include a host of malware types as well as human error-based risks.

Using the Framework helps you include things like cyber-attack lifecycle into your risk assessment and better understand the sequence of events that a malicious agent undertakes to penetrate a network, which allows you to identify way to stop it.

Chart Your Access Control Protocols

Access control is laid out in within the “Protect” sector of the Framework Core. It includes areas of asset and facility access that should be considered when mapping out a cybersecurity plan.

Access control considerations include:

  • Identities and credentials
  • Physical access to assets
  • Remote access
  • Access permissions and privileges
  • Network integrity

Put Response & Recovery in Place

No business owner wants to think about things like repairing their reputation after a data breach but the steps in the NIST Cybersecurity Framework can help you get a plan into place that minimizes damage after a breach and helps you incorporate what you’ve learned into your future security approach.

While going through each step of the “Recover” section may seem daunting at first, it’s designed to help you have a plan in place and ready to go should a data disaster strike, so you’ll bounce back much faster.

Use NIST to Train Employees

This core overview (in excel format) helps employees understand the full scope of cybersecurity in a plain language and organized way. This Framework is an excellent training tool that will introduce staff to the core tenants of IT security and also help them understand how important it is for your organization. This makes a perfect springboard into more detailed staff cybersecurity training.

Get Help with Cybersecurity & the NIST Framework from Triada Networks

Cybersecurity can be complex, let us simplify the process for you! We have a full suite of security tools designed to help you reduce risk and maintain control.

Contact us today for a free security consultation and protect yourself from a future breach. You can schedule it online or call 201-297-7778.