Assuring the security and resilience of our online systems has become crucial in today’s digital environment, which is constantly changing. Organizations must keep ahead of the curve to safeguard their sensitive data, intellectual property, and, most crucially, the trust of their consumers as cyber threats continue to increase in complexity and frequency.
In such an instance, every business needs a strategy for preventing cyberattacks, including ransomware, spyware, and phishing. NIST CSF is useful in this situation. The Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was initially intended to defend US critical infrastructure and Department of Defence (DoD) operations. Still, it is now available to any organization.
Since its launch in February 2014, the NIST CSF compliance standard has continued to account for excellent cybersecurity risk management measures being implemented by the US country-wide. However, the dynamic nature of cyber threats has mandated the include some updates and changes by NIST CSF 2.0. The Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) 2.0 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the most recent version of a thorough manual poised to transform how we approach cybersecurity and is said to be released by 2024. The primary objective of this improved compliance framework is to broaden the focus of the original standard, increase accountability of the personnels involved in maintaining data security and privacy in a company that adheres to the guidelines of NIST CSF 1.0, and in general, make the regulatory standard more global with time.
This blog will provide an overview of NIST CSF 2.0 and all the changes it is bringing to the table.
How Did the NIST CSF 2.0 Come to Be?
Since its inception, NIST CSF has been meant to be a dynamic document. Updates to the CSF allow NIST to continue acting on stakeholder comments, integrate lessons gained, and stay up with technological advances and threat levels. NIST is concentrating on CSF 2.0 to assist these initiatives and will keep requesting stakeholder input.
On February 22, 2022, NIST published a Request for Information (RFI) requesting data to evaluate and enhance CSF resources. More than 130 RFI replies from various industry sectors, including information technology, life sciences, financial services, energy, communications, transportation, academia, and defense, were collated by NIST. Along the way, some commonalities were identified under the seven themes outlined below:
- Focus on upgrading, upholding and strengthening the essential CSF components;
- Focus on upgrading, upholding, and strengthening the essential CSF components;
- Synchronize the CSF with ongoing NIST and other initiatives;
- Provide further direction for putting the CSF into action;
- Maintain the CSF’s technology neutrality while enabling it to be quickly applied to a variety of technology-related concerns, including new developments and practices;
- Emphasize the value of metrics, evaluation, and measurement when using the CSF;
- Evaluate the CSF’s supply chain cybersecurity threats; and
- Use the National Initiative for Improving Cybersecurity in Supply Chains (NIICS) to promote cybersecurity supply chain risk management by harmonizing practices and offering useful guidelines, practices, and tools.
Based on these themes, the following updates and changes were made to the existing NIST CSF guidelines, the most important of which are outlined in the next section.
NIST 2.0 Updates to Facilitate Better Cyber Risk Management
1. New Cross-Cutting Governance Function
In the latest version, NIST has added a new “Govern” function designed to delve further into how effectively each organization manages cyber risk. With the help of this function, cybersecurity outcomes linked to policies, procedures, roles, and responsibilities are strengthened, and the significance of risk management in your company’s context is highlighted.
2. Updates to Cyber Risk Management Measures
The NIST also updated guidelines on continuous improvement, incident response management, and supply chain risk, all centered on the question that matters most to auditors: are we taking sufficient steps to lessen the impact or chance of unforeseen disasters?
3. Addition of Implementation Examples
The discussion draft of the new NIST CSF 2.0 guidelines suggests adding Implementation Examples for each outcome and the Core modifications mentioned above.
These examples give tried-and-tested solutions for cybersecurity mitigation, while they are not an entire list. Auditors may need help to stay current with the newest and best security procedures in a world where threats and vulnerabilities always change. These examples incorporate suggestions from numerous risk management and cybersecurity experts and serve as models for setting up security measures. To help improve the framework, NIST offers a transparent and cooperative experience for everyone in cyberspace. Our capacity to defend and evaluate our organizations is strengthened by working with peers and putting recognized best practices.
4. Assignment of Leadership Responsibility
NIST CSF 2.0 mandates certain leadership responsibility clauses: “Organizational leadership takes responsibility for decisions associated with cybersecurity risks and establishes a risk-aware culture, behaves ethically, and promotes continuous improvement.”
Organizations can make risk-based decisions when they recognize and comprehend the impact of risk in the context of their business. It transforms auditors from “nay-sayers” to proactive enablers of your business operations.
Besides these, here are some other modifications made in the recent NIST 2.0 guidelines:
- expansion to represent intended use by institutions other than essential infrastructure;
- broader discussion emphasizing the significance of cybersecurity supply chain risk management; and,
- addition of information on how the organization measures and evaluates its cybersecurity programs.
Why Do These NIST 2.0 Updates Matter?
The US federal government and, as stated by NIST, organizations worldwide voluntarily utilize its standards and practices for cybersecurity — this is what makes these changes to the existing NIST framework significant. Many vendor security products are developed to adhere to NIST standards, and the federal government invests billions of dollars in guaranteeing their research, dependability, and industry-leading relevance. If the NIST policies are not updated regularly, a significant portion of global security will be out of date and open to more dangerous and frequent cyber attacks.
How Do the Changes in NIST 2.0 Stand to Impact Your Organization?
The NIST 2.0 compliance standard changes are expected to impact significantly. For instance, the new cross-cutting “Governance” function does much more than highlight how governance can help reduce risk. It —
- Prioritizes and assesses risk tolerance;
- Evaluates consequences and risks;
- Makes room for creating policies and practices; and,
- Enables recognizing the roles and responsibilities in cyber risk management.
This greatly contributes to compliance and auditing and supports its significance as a growing security pillar in the coming years. Staying secure requires promoting innovation without crossing legal boundaries when new data privacy rules emerge. As a result of CISOs being viewed less as “security guys” and more as business leaders, their duties are growing.
Success in the future digital world will depend heavily on maintaining compliance, and businesses that are allowed to operate internationally (or even in other states or with different industries) will be those that adhere to data privacy laws. Compliance is becoming more equated with competitiveness, and the new NIST standards will serve as the unique criterion by which businesses will evaluate both.
NIST CSF Compliance Readiness 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 their organizations are doing everything possible to prevent disclosing sensitive data and putting them at risk, and 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 compliance automation platform and service help our customers prepare readiness for the NIST CSF compliance standard, along with other security frameworks like SOC 1, SOC 2, HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, ISO 27001, ISO 27701, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, FedRAMP, CCPA, CMMC, and more such as CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark, etc. In addition, companies can use Akitra’s Risk Management product for overall risk management for your company, Trust Center, and AI-based Automated Questionnaire Response product to streamline and expedite security questionnaire response processes delivering huge cost savings. Our compliance and security experts will provide customized guidance 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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