Post By: Rob Ellis
The NIST is a voluntary cybersecurity framework designed for critical infrastructure organizations to mitigate cybersecurity risks. However, the NIST framework is flexible enough to be implemented by any organization. By 2020, it was reported that at least 50% of US organizations had been using the NIST Framework to guide their cybersecurity efforts.
For small businesses and large corporations alike, cybersecurity has become a top priority. And having strong security protocols is no longer the exclusive concern of government agencies.
Typically, the basic importance of this framework is to help businesses and organizations better manage and reduce cybersecurity risk through established standards and industry best practices. Below are some of the benefits of using the NIST Cyber Security Framework.
1. Enhances Long-Term Cybersecurity Risk Management
The NIST framework eliminates the ‘one-off’ security compliance mindset and promotes a responsive and adaptive posture. Considering the threats faced by businesses today, a continuous compliance approach is a vital strategy in the long run. And while this may seem like a tall order, the NIST enables a continuous compliance approach.
The framework will help guide your business through all the key decision points on your risk management journey. It also enables seamless risk management communications across the entire organization.
2. Fosters Trust Among Business Partners, Clients, and Stakeholders
For business to business transactions, organizations that can demonstrate a perfect cybersecurity posture can win more deals. Typically, customers, partners, and vendors are concerned about your cybersecurity risk.
The NIST Cyber Security Framework is now considered to be the “gold standard” for mitigating cybersecurity. Therefore, if you can prove that you diligently follow the NIST Framework, it will build trust with business partners and clients. And as a result, your business will achieve continuous growth regardless of the looming cyber risks.
3. Bridging the Communication Gap Between Technical and Non-Technical Stakeholders
The NIST Framework is based on a risk-based approach, and business executives understand this very well. It, therefore, fosters an integrated cybersecurity risk management approach that is aligned with your business goals.
As a result, there is better communication and decision-making across your business. Adopting the NIST also fosters shared security awareness for technical and business stakeholders, thus facilitating improved communication throughout your organization.
It makes all the departments work together to ensure that the set risk management goals are met on time. Most importantly, when all departments and personnel understand the risks and collaborate, you have a business that is ever focused on maintaining a great security posture.
4. A Flexible Framework for Any Organization
The NIST CSF tends to be the most flexible cybersecurity framework considering its risk-based and outcome-driven approach. The framework has been adopted in many industries by firms in energy, finance, and transportation. Since it is a voluntary framework, it can be tailored to suit various business needs. The Core Functions and Implementation Tiers make it easy to grasp hence its quick adoption.
While the NIST framework was primarily designed for the Critical Infrastructure industry, the framework is flexible and can be used by any business in any industry. Since the NIST Framework is outcome-driven, it does not stipulate how your business must achieve the desired outcomes, thus enhancing scalability.
Small businesses with cybersecurity budget constraints and large multinational corporations with unlimited budgets can approach the outcomes in a way that suits their situation. This flexibility allows the NIST Framework to be suitable for businesses and organizations in their infant stages and are establishing a cybersecurity program. At the same time, it provides immense value to businesses with mature programs.
5. Designed With Future Regulations and Compliance Requirements in Mind
Organizations and businesses that implement the NIST Framework are better positioned to remain compliant as regulations change. The compliance bar is constantly rising, and the trend is set to continue for all industries.
There is great concern among CISOs and most security leaders about the rise in regulatory compliance requirements across industries in multiple geographies. But the NIST framework is one of the most reliable foundations for developing a cybersecurity program and prepare for new standards and regulations.
For instance, the PIPEDA was updated in 2019 in Canada, and yet there are discussions about more consumer privacy protections on the way. And in the US, there have been multiple calls for stricter cybersecurity controls to safeguard the Critical Infrastructure industry after a series of cyberattacks.
The cybersecurity landscape is quickly evolving, and organizations are struggling to stay afloat. Similarly, regulations and compliance requirements are constantly changing. To remain compliant, you need a flexible framework that is easy to customize. Therefore, adopting the NIST Cyber Security Framework can significantly benefit your business and enhance growth objectives.
About the Author: Rob Ellis has more than 15 years of experience leading sales, business development and marketing at SaaS startup companies.