Four Most Frequently-Asked Questions About NIST CSF Compliance (Part 2)

4 Most commonly asked questions on NIST CSF Compliance.

Every business is concerned about data security and privacy. It may appear hard to keep sensitive data hidden, intellectual property rights intact, and vital enterprise systems operational in the face of ongoing and increasingly sophisticated cybercrime threats and breach attempts. In such cases, every firm must have a cybercrime defense strategy in place, whether it is for ransomware, malware, or phishing. This is where the NIST CSF Compliance can really help.

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework was initially designed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a safeguard for US critical infrastructure and Department of Defense (DoD) operations, but it is now available to any organization in the United States.

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

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework offers an innovative and full-cycle collection of rules and suggestions for reducing cybersecurity risks and better managing data breach occurrences. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework benefits your company whether you are just starting your cybersecurity program or have one that is performing quite well.

Now that you have attained a comprehensive idea about what the NIST CSF is, you are probably considering certification. We have carefully crafted this blog to address the most important frequently-asked questions about the NIST CSF regulatory standard. This article is intended to provide you with reliable information to help you better understand this complex regulatory framework.

Earlier on, we had already covered the first part of our series of FAQs on NIST CSF, so if you want to take a glance at the first part of this guide, you can do so by clicking right here.

4 Most Frequently-Asked Questions

  1. What is the Framework Core and why is it useful? 

The Framework Core is a collection of cybersecurity actions, expected objectives, and relevant references that are shared by critical infrastructure sectors. “Physical devices and systems within the organization are inventoried,” for example, is an example of Framework outcome language.

The Core delivers industry standards, rules, and best practices in a way that allows for cross-organizational communication of cybersecurity actions and outcomes, from the executive level to the implementation/operations level. 

The Core Framework is made up of five concurrent and continuous Functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. When taken together, these Functions give a high-level, strategic view of an organization’s cybersecurity risk management lifecycle. The Framework Core then finds the underlying important Categories and Subcategories for each Function and compares them to examples of Informative References, such as current standards, recommendations, and practices for each Subcategory.

  1. What are the Framework “Profiles” and why are they useful?

A Framework “Profile” represents the cybersecurity outcomes chosen by an organization from the Framework Categories and Subcategories based on business needs. In a specific implementation scenario, the Profile might be defined as the alignment of standards, norms, and practices to the Framework Core. 

By comparing a “Current” Profile (the “as is” state) to a “Target” Profile, profiles can be utilized to discover possibilities for strengthening cybersecurity posture (the “to be” state). To create a Profile, an organization can analyze all of the Categories and Subcategories and select which are most significant based on business drivers and risk assessment. They can also add Categories and Subcategories as needed to handle the risks of the organization. 

The Current Profile can be utilized to promote prioritizing and progress towards the Target Profile, while also taking into account other business requirements such as cost-effectiveness and innovation. Profiles can be used to conduct self-evaluations and communicate inside and between businesses.

  1. What are the Framework “Implementation Tiers” and how are they useful?

Framework “Implementation Tiers” describe how an organization views cybersecurity risk and the methods in place to manage it. Tiers represent the extent to which an organization’s cybersecurity risk management processes display the Framework’s features (e.g., risk and threat aware, repeatable, and adaptive). 

The Tiers describe an organization’s practices from Partial (Tier 1) to Adaptive (Tier 5). (Tier 4). These Tiers represent a shift from informal, reactive answers to agile, risk-informed practices. An organization’s present risk management methods, threat environment, legal and regulatory requirements, business/mission objectives, and organizational restrictions should all be considered throughout the Tier selection process.

  1. Is the Framework applicable to the entire organization or does it simply apply to the IT department?

The Framework gives guidelines that are applicable to the entire company. The full benefits of the Framework will not be achieved if it is solely used by the IT department. The Framework strikes a compromise between thorough risk management and language that is adaptive to the audience. 

The Framework’s Function, Category, and Subcategory levels, in particular, correspond well to organizational, mission/business, IT, and operational technology (OT)/industrial control system (ICS) systems level personnel. This allows for precise and meaningful communication from the C-suite to specific operating units and supply chain partners. It can be especially beneficial in increasing communication and understanding among IT specialists, OT/ICS operators, and senior management.

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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