Before understanding ‘what are the five elements of the NIST cybersecurity framework?’, it is a prerequisite to comprehend what cybersecurity is first! Cybersecurity is one of the most essential practices you should be aware of in this information age. Additionally, it is a very popular technology employed by many businesses and companies to protect their system from cyber attacks.
Following the increased reliance on technology and the internet, most businesses believe that effective cybersecurity measures are the key to successful security and protection. In fact, cybersecurity serves as the frontline defense against a plentiful number of cyber threats and attacks. On the other hand, this article is about the five elements of the NIST cybersecurity framework, so what is a cybersecurity framework in the first place?
Besides, a cybersecurity framework is defined as a structured set of guidelines, effective practices, and ideas that organizations use to manage and improve their cybersecurity efforts. Their approach usually involves assessing their current cybersecurity status, identifying vulnerabilities, and establishing measures to battle the attacks. Thus, continue reading to learn ‘What are the five elements of the NIST cybersecurity framework?’.
1. What Is a Cybersecurity Framework?
In detail, a cybersecurity framework is described as a set of guidelines, standards, and practices specially designed for cybersecurity risk management. You might wonder what the practices are, well, these are the systematic strategies for handling cybersecurity risk and securing the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and systems.
Furthermore, here are the top cybersecurity frameworks, that have garnered attention for their outstanding cyberdefense work:
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework
- ISO/ IEC 27001
- CIS Controls
- FAIR (Factor Analysis of Information Risk)
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework for Critical Infrastructure.
They all serve different kinds of organizations, based on their requirements, goals, and types of cyberattacks. However, their ultimate target is to construct an unassailable cyberspace.
On top of that, in this article, we are going to learn ‘what are the five elements of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?’. But to begin with, what is the NIST cybersecurity framework? Well, the answer to the question is to scroll further.
2. What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?
NIST Cybersecurity Framework is an acronym of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It is an institute with a set of guidelines, best practices, and standards especially designed for securing organizations against cyberattacks.
Initially, they created the cybersecurity framework for private organizations in the United States. However, it was translated into other versions and has been used by the governments of Japan and Israel.
On the 12th of February 2013, former president Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13636, which is regarding the development of a framework for cybersecurity in the US. In the same year, it also sought requests for information from industry, government agencies, and other organizations that need strong cybersecurity protection.
From 2013 to 2014, the framework cooperated with several organizations and came up with a common language and methodology to assess and improve one’s data on the internet. Consequently, they formulated a few functions and categories, that is what you are going to learn about: ‘What are the five elements of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?’.
3. What are the Five Elements of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?
It is the process of identifying the data and information of the organization that is vulnerable to cyber threats. It is mostly about understanding the risks of the organizations. This is the first and foremost step of establishing a framework.
Depending on the organization’s resources at hand, the NIST cybersecurity framework identifies the possible ways to tackle and handle cyberattacks. Here, I have listed the essential components under the identify function:
1. Asset Administration
The identification of the organization’s assets is what is done in this phase. This may include the examination of the company’s hardware, software, data, and personnel. This will help the IT framework to understand the organization’s mission.
2. Business Environment
For an organization to develop in this 20th century, it is a must to know how business works. This part of the function includes identifying their mission, stakeholders, competitors, and the legal requirements that are adaptable to them.
This involves establishing and maintaining a governance structure for the organization to protect from risks. From defining roles, and responsibilities to developing policies and procedures, the organization is all set to fight against cyberattacks.
4. Risk Assessment
This assessment is one of the crucial tests, as it identifies the potential risks. In addition, it will look into the loopholes and other cracks that hackers might possibly attack.
5. Risk Management Strategy
Meanwhile, this part will chalk out the strategies to accept, reduce, transfer, and avoid threats.
This function outlines apt approaches and techniques to ensure that the system is protected at all costs. It encompasses a comprehensive set of measures tailored to safeguard the organization’s systems, data, and operations from cybersecurity threats. Below is the list of protective implementations, that can assist the organization in mitigating cyberattacks through the NIST cybersecurity framework:
1. Access Control
NIST manages and controls access of the organization’s users (both authorized as well as unauthorized) to data and information.
2. Awareness and Training
This training is designed especially for the employees and stakeholders of the organization, in order to make them aware of their ongoing cybersecurity risks and approaches.
3. Data Security
4. Information Protection Processes
From securing, and handling, to disposing of the information, NIST ensures that the information security is strong to go.
Checking on the systems daily and formulating new and updated approaches to address the available vulnerabilities are taken care of.
6. Protective Technology
It focuses on detecting cybersecurity activities before they are about to happen. Their primary goal is to establish mechanisms to detect security breaches and other malicious cyber activities. Furthermore, upon using this element, the NIST cybersecurity framework helps several organizations enhance their ability to identify security events promptly, enabling quicker responses, and mitigation efforts. Moreover, it is the best element of the NIST; as you know, prevention is always better than cure. Here are the key components of the detect element:
1. Anomalies and Events
To protect the organization from the potential threat, it is always advisable to be vigilant. In that case, monitoring their networks, systems, and applications, collecting and analyzing logs, looking for abnormalities, and detecting potential security incidents; will be supervised by the detect element.
2. Continuous Monitoring
This process involves tracking the organization’s network traffic, system performance, and user activities.
3. Responses Management
In fact, if a threat was detected, then the first and foremost thing to do is respond effectively. So, the organization must be prepared was a response plan.
4. Detection Technologies
There are a range of detection technologies, including IDS (Intrusion Detection Systems), IPS(Intrusion Prevention Systems), SIEM(Security Information and Event Management), EDR(End-point Detection and Responses), and many other solutions. These technologies help in automating the detection of potential dangers.
5. UEBA (User Entity Behavior Analytics)
Furthermore, NIST employs UEBA, a tool that monitors and analyses the organization’s user and entity behavior patterns.
6. Security Baselines
Sometimes, configuration changes also cause potential security issues in an alliance, and for this reason, NIST sets baseline configurations for systems and applications and monitors exceptions from these baselines.
Following the detection of the threat, the next step has to be an effective response from the organizations. However, without any predefined plan, it is impossible to counter-attack.
Having said that, the response element outlines how organizations should respond to a detected cyberattack. It comprises response plans, containment strategies, and other actions on how to respond to IT security breaches.
1. Incident Response Plan
This is an organizational plan that facilitates effective and prompt responses against attacks. This includes understanding the nooks and corners of the problem and taking action to mitigate and prevent it from happening again.
2. Incident Containment
It is the process and implementation of a strategy during the handling of security events. The containment strategy involves three steps; filtering and routing to prevent access from a source, followed by removing unauthorized access and lastly sorting to prevent access to the target resource. This will limit the impact of the attack on a very large scale.
It is the fifth element and final in the NIST. Moreover, this is the pivotal part of the cybersecurity framework, as it ensures that the systems and data have recovered safely after a cyberattack. Consequently, this area of the framework includes three steps:
1. Recovery Procedures
In this step, the initial recovery procedures following an attack are set in motion. It includes the ability to regain access and functionality of information and data of the organization’s system after a cyberattack incident.
2. Communication and Reporting
Here, the stakeholders and authorities who have been concerned with the organization are intimate with the existing crisis (if any). The necessary reports and statements are produced if it is mandatory.
4. Final Thoughts
To put it simply, a cybersecurity framework is referred to as a pathway to build a foundation, structure, and support for an organization’s security system.
In conclusion, there are three types of cybersecurity frameworks, such as control, risk, and program frameworks, nevertheless, their ultimate purpose was to fortify the organization’s security management. Undoubtedly, NIST is one of the high-profile cybersecurity frameworks. I hope this article gave you thoughtful insights into the five elements of the NIST cybersecurity framework. Click here to read other articles!