NIST aims to enhance Cybersecurity Risk Management with the release of Cybersecurity Framework 2.0

Discover how NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0 boosts your business's cybersecurity risk management with new governance functions, supply chain security, and broad sector applicability, ensuring robust defense against cyber threats.

On Feb 26th, 2024, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) updated its Cybersecurity Framework to Version 2.0, representing a significant shift in the approach to cybersecurity, addressing the complex and global nature of cyber threats.

Initially developed in 2013, the Cybersecurity Framework established a structured approach for managing cyber risks. From its first version in 2014 and update in 2018, it introduced core functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover, which are essential for cybersecurity across various sectors.

The upgrade to CSF 2.0 responds to the evolving cyber threat landscape and adopts a global perspective on cybersecurity. It addresses the growing complexity of cyber threats and advocates for integrated cybersecurity governance. It provides actionable guidance for diverse sectors, enhancing defense against varied cyber risks.

Core Updates in NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0

  • Inclusion of a new function 'Govern' to CSF Core: The introduction of a new "Govern" function in NIST CSF 2.0 anchors cybersecurity within an organization's broader enterprise risk management strategy. It mandates establishing, communicating, and monitoring cybersecurity risks, policies, and expectations. This function serves as the strategic core, guiding the prioritization and integration of cybersecurity across other functions. It emphasizes understanding the organizational context, developing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, managing supply chain risks, and defining roles, responsibilities, and authorities. Moreover, it ensures continuous oversight of the cybersecurity strategy, aligning it with the organization's mission and stakeholder expectations, thereby embedding cybersecurity into the organizational fabric.
Exhibit 1: NIST CSF 2.0 adds a new function 'Govern' to CSF Core
  • Enhanced Focus on Supply Chain and Security Governance: CSF 2.0 recognizes and places a stronger emphasis on the critical role of supply chain and third-party vendor management in cybersecurity. The framework's Cybersecurity Supply Chain Risk Management (C-SCRM) category guides the addressing of cybersecurity threats across the supply chain, advocating for systematic risk management strategies. Additionally, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) introduce new risks, necessitating frameworks like the NIST Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Framework (AI RMF) to integrate cybersecurity and privacy considerations, ensuring comprehensive risk management in the technology-driven landscape.
  • Transition to a Global Framework: With the shift from a U.S.-centric to a global perspective, CSF 2.0 addresses the international nature of cyber threats. This change promotes wider adoption of the framework’s principles and practices, encouraging a standardized approach to cybersecurity across different national and industry boundaries, thereby improving global cyber resilience. International organizations can significantly benefit from NIST CSF 2.0's expanded approach. Its global perspective ensures applicability in diverse legal and regulatory environments, serving as a versatile tool for multinational entities. Adopting the framework enables standardization of cybersecurity practices across operations, enhancing global security posture and compliance.
  • Expansion Across Sectors: CSF 2.0 broadens its applicability to include a broader range of industries beyond critical infrastructure. This expansion acknowledges the diverse cybersecurity needs and challenges across sectors like healthcare, finance, and education, making the framework a more versatile tool for organizations of all sizes and types.
  • Increased Clarity and Detailed Guidance: NIST, alongside other entities, has developed online resources to facilitate the understanding and application of the Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). These resources, which include Informative References, Implementation Examples, Profiles, and Quick Start Guides, are hosted online for timely updates, offering a dynamic complement to the more stable CSF document.

Supplementary resources to NIST CSF 2.0

In addition to updates to the Cybersecurity Framework, NIST and other organizations have produced a suite of online resources that help organizations understand, adopt, and use the CSF.

  • Informative References: These informative references provide mappings to show how the CSF's Core aligns with various standards, guidelines, and regulations. They guide organizations in achieving the CSF's outcomes, tailored to specific sectors or technologies, and range from narrow to broad in scope.
Exhibit 2: With CSF 2.0, NIST provides a comprehensive repository of Resources (Image credit: Natasha Hanacek, NIST)

  • Implementation Examples: These offer actionable steps for achieving the CSF’s subcategory outcomes, suggesting activities like sharing, documenting, and developing, though not exhaustively covering all possible actions.
  • Quick Start Guides (QSGs): These concise documents focus on specific CSF aspects, offering practical initial steps to enhance cybersecurity posture. QSGs are updated independently, with new additions reflecting evolving cybersecurity needs.
  • Organization and Community Profile templates: NIST provides a customizable CSF Organizational Profile template and Community Profiles as a spreadsheet. The Organization profile can be downloaded and used to create Current and Target Profiles for the organization. The template facilitates a side-by-side comparison of Current and Target Profiles to identify and analyze gaps. Besides the Organization profile, a Community Profile is typically developed for a particular sector, subsector, technology, threat type, or other use case. An organization can use a Community Profile as the basis for its own Target Profile.

These online tools are designed to be machine-readable and frequently updated, providing a dynamic, accessible resource to help organizations effectively implement the CSF.

Impact of NIST CSF 2.0 on Organizations

Comprehensive risk management: The expanded coverage addresses a broader spectrum of cybersecurity issues, facilitating a comprehensive risk management process. Organizations gain a detailed guide to identify, protect against, detect, respond to, and recover from cybersecurity incidents, and integrate cybersecurity in organizations with govern function, promoting a holistic cybersecurity management approach.

Enhanced Organizational clarity and implementation: The NIST CSF 2.0 release significantly influences organizations globally by providing a nuanced, comprehensive method for managing cybersecurity risks. This clarity stems from the framework's refined structure and guidance, aiding organizations in effectively understanding and implementing cybersecurity practices.

Streamlining Cybersecurity Integration: The framework's tools and resources support efficient implementation, facilitating better risk communication and integration with enterprise risk management, ultimately bolstering an organization's cybersecurity posture and resilience against the dynamic landscape of cyber threats.

Transition to NIST CSF 2.0

Effective implementation of NIST CSF 2.0 requires a structured approach to integrate its guidelines and tools into organizational cybersecurity practices. NIST CSF 2.0 also provides tools and resources to facilitate implementation and improve cybersecurity. Utilizing these tools, including guidelines, implementation examples, templates, profiles, tiers, and checklists, helps organizations assess compliance and identify improvement areas.

These resources streamline CSF 2.0 integration into cybersecurity programs, offering structured pathways to desired outcomes and bolstering defenses against evolving threats.

Transitioning to NIST CSF 2.0 requires a tailored plan aligning with an organization's specific cybersecurity needs and objectives. To implement NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0 (CSF 2.0), organizations should follow these structured steps:

  1. Define Organizational Profiles: Begin by outlining the Current Profile, which reflects the organization's existing cybersecurity outcomes, and the Target Profile, indicating desired cybersecurity goals aligned with the organization’s mission, anticipated changes, and threat intelligence.
  2. Scope the Organizational Profile: Determine the extent of the Profile, which can range from the entire organization to specific systems or threat types, such as ransomware in financial systems.
  3. Gather Necessary Information: Compile data including policies, risk priorities, enterprise risk profiles, business impact analyses, cybersecurity standards, and practices to inform the Profile.
  4. Create the Organizational Profile: Use the gathered information to formulate the Current and Target Profiles, leveraging Community Profiles where applicable to align with broader sector or technological standards.
  5. Conduct Gap Analysis and Plan Actions: Identify discrepancies between Current and Target Profiles, prioritizing actions in an action plan to address these gaps and advance toward the Target Profile.
  6. Implement and Update: Execute the action plan to mitigate identified gaps, continually updating the Organizational Profile to reflect progress and evolving cybersecurity postures.
  7. Utilize CSF Tiers: Integrate the Tiers framework (Partial, Risk Informed, Repeatable, Adaptive) to guide the rigor and management of cybersecurity practices, aligning them with the organization’s risk management approach.
  8. Continuous Improvement: Regularly revisit and refine the Organizational Profiles and action plans, ensuring ongoing enhancement of cybersecurity capabilities and alignment with strategic objectives.

Through these steps, organizations can effectively adopt and integrate CSF 2.0 into their cybersecurity risk management, enabling a more resilient and proactive cybersecurity posture.

Embracing the evolution of NIST CSF 2.0

The Changes in NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0 are transformative, and they hold strategic importance in the evolving cyber threat landscape. From its initial development to the latest iteration, the framework has continuously evolved to address the complex challenges faced by organizations worldwide.

At InterSec, we encourage organizations to actively engage with the updated framework, utilizing comprehensive to implement CSF 2.0 effectively. Embracing these changes will not only improve cybersecurity risk management but also ensure a resilient and secure digital environment.

We are also committed to guiding and supporting organizations through this transition, ensuring that they can harness the full potential of NIST CSF 2.0 to safeguard their digital assets and maintain operational continuity in the face of emerging cyber threats. Reach out to InterSec today to embark on your journey toward implementing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0.

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