Four Most Frequently-Asked Questions About NIST CSF Compliance (Part 1)

Four Most Frequently-Asked Questions About NIST CSF Compliance

Every company is concerned about cybersecurity and data privacy. Keeping sensitive data private, intellectual property ownership intact, and critical company systems running in the face of ongoing and increasingly sophisticated cybercrime threats and breach attempts may feel impossible. In such circumstances, every organization must have a cybercrime defense strategy, whether ransomware, malware, or phishing. This is where the NIST CSF compliance can make a big difference.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology initially developed the Cybersecurity Framework as a safeguard for US critical infrastructure and Department of Defense (DoD) operations, and it is currently available to any enterprise.

Compliance with this framework is voluntary and may incur a hefty cost, but the NIST CSF more than compensates for your investment by providing a common outline of best practices for businesses of all sizes to better understand, manage, and identify weak links, and strengthen your network and data against unprecedented breaches.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework provides an innovative and full-cycle set of guidelines and recommendations to mitigate cybersecurity risks and manage data breach incidents better. Whether you are just starting your cybersecurity program or have one working fairly effectively, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework benefits your organization.

This blog is aimed at providing you with accurate information to assist you in better comprehending this difficult compliance framework.

4 Most Frequently-Asked Questions 

  1. Who helped to develop NIST CSF? 

NIST collaborated actively with stakeholders during the Framework’s development and upgrades. Tens of thousands of people from industry, academia, and government via a series of workshops have helped build Framework 1.0 and 1.1. In addition, NIST received hundreds of comments representing thousands of specific proposals in response to information requests as well as public previews of Framework versions. 

NIST contacts stakeholders on a regular basis through three major activities. First, NIST engages in community outreach initiatives on a regular basis by attending and participating in meetings, events, and roundtable discussions. Second, through requests for information (RFI), requests for comments (RFC), and the NIST Framework team’s email channels, NIST solicits direct feedback from stakeholders. Finally, NIST examines and monitors pertinent government, academic, and industrial resources, and references.

  1. How is NIST CSF being used today?

The Framework is being used in a variety of ways by different organizations. Many people have found it useful in increasing awareness and interacting with internal stakeholders, including executive leadership. The Framework also improves cross-organizational communication by allowing cybersecurity expectations to be shared with business partners, suppliers, and sectors. 

Organizations are learning and demonstrating how they match up with the Framework’s standards, principles, and best practices by mapping the Framework to current cybersecurity management processes. Some parties are simply using the Framework to reconcile and de-conflict internal policy with legislation, regulation, and best practices in the sector. The Framework is also utilized as a strategic planning tool for evaluating risks and current practices. To learn more about how more organizations are using the Framework, you can refer to the resources and success stories sections on the official NIST website.

  1. What are Informative References?

Informative References demonstrate connections between any number and combination of organizational ideas e.g., Functions, Categories, Subcategories, Controls, and Control Enhancements from the Focal Document and specific sections, sentences, or phrases from Reference Documents. Focal Document elements are distinct concepts in the Focal Document, while Reference Document elements are individual sections, words, or phrases in the Reference Document.

  1. How does NIST CSF reflect the principles of cyber resilience?

Volume 2 of NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-160, Systems Security Engineering: “Cyber Resiliency Considerations for the Engineering of Trustworthy Secure Systems” defines cyber resiliency as the ability to predict, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse situations, pressures, attacks, or compromises on systems that use or are enabled by cyber resources from whatever source. 

Even though cyber resiliency is closely related to cybersecurity, it is a unique problem domain and solution space. In a contested environment, cyber resiliency enhances mission assurance for missions that rely on IT and OT systems. The Cybersecurity Framework specifically covers cyber resiliency as well as those within the Recovery function.

Other Cybersecurity Framework subcategories may assist companies in determining whether their existing condition effectively supports cyber resilience, whether new elements are required, and how to plug any gaps that may exist. Many businesses discover that in order to achieve mission goals, they must ensure that the target state comprises an effective combination of fault tolerance, adversity tolerance, and graceful degradation. 

The Cybersecurity Framework facilitates high-level organizational dialogues; more and more thorough cyber resiliency guidelines can be found in several cyber resiliency models/frameworks, as well as guidance such as SP 800-160 Vol. 2.

NIST CSF Compliance with Akitra!

Establishing trust is a crucial competitive differentiator when courting new SaaS businesses in today’s era of data breaches and compromised privacy. Customers and partners want assurances that the organizations they work with are doing everything possible to prevent disclosing sensitive data and putting them at risk. Compliance certification fills that need.

Akitra offers an industry-leading, AI-powered Compliance Automation platform for SaaS companies. Using automated evidence collection and continuous monitoring, together with a full suite of customizable policies and controls as a compliance foundation, our service helps customers become certified for NIST CSF along with other frameworks like SOC 1, SOC 2, ISO 27001, ISO 27701, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, FedRAMP, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, CMMC, and other specific frameworks such as CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark, etc. Our compliance and security experts will also provide the customized guidance you need to navigate the end-to-end compliance process confidently. 

The benefits of our solution include enormous savings in time, human resources, and cost savings—including discounted audit fees with our audit firm partners. Customers achieve compliance certification fast and cost-effectively, stay continuously compliant as they grow, and can become certified under additional frameworks using a single compliance automation platform.

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