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Mike Sullivan
Mike Sullivan

How To Use NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework To Foster A Culture Of Cybersecurity _TOP_

One common misconception is that implementation tiers are used exclusively for ascertaining a business' cybersecurity maturity, but this isn't the case at all. Rather, they are intended as benchmarks that organizations must aim for when augmenting their cybersecurity posture through feasible and affordable strategies and measures.

How to Use NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework to Foster a Culture of Cybersecurity

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Businesses in this tier understand cyberthreats and have risk management processes in place. However, these processes are typically informal in nature and are not standardized throughout the entire organization. Additionally, these businesses may perform occasional cyber risk assessments to understand and correct the gaps in their cybersecurity structure. They accept, but do not share cybersecurity information with external parties. Despite knowing the risks present in the supply chain, they do not act on them.

Businesses in this tier have standardized and clearly defined risk management policies across their organizations. These policies are consistently reviewed and updated to match changes in the business needs and threat landscape. Tier three organizations have both cybersecurity and dedicated employees who formally communicate cybersecurity risks to other personnel.

Unlike in previous tiers, these organizations understand their role in the greater business ecosystem. They know the risks in the supply chain and act on these using formal methods like written agreements, governance structures, and policy development and implementation. Finally, they communicate and collaborate with third parties to expand the understanding of cybersecurity risks.

Businesses in this tier pursue a path of continuous improvement. They enhance existing cybersecurity processes by studying past activities and predicting future trends. These businesses implement dynamic policies that they continuously adjust according to changes in available technology and the threat landscape.

These organizations have not just standardized cybersecurity risk management, they have incorporated it into their culture so much so that they consider cybersecurity risks to be on the same level as financial, operational, and other organizational risks. They are active participants in understanding risks within their supply chain and the greater business ecosystem. This means that, in addition to collecting information, they also generate real-time information, which they share with both internal and external stakeholders.

The four tiers are intended to guide businesses toward their desired level of cybersecurity maturity. You can choose a tier that best suits your business' cybersecurity goals and work your way up from there. This could mean enacting organizational change, procuring new tools, developing security policies, and even working with third parties who are experts in cybersecurity.

To start, our specialists will examine your cybersecurity infrastructure for gaps that put you at risk for malicious attacks and hinder your compliance with NIST CSF requirements. Once complete, we then create a plan to address these gaps and set your business up for success.

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a unified standard for implementing cybersecurity across the defense industrial base (DIB), which includes over 300,000 companies in the supply chain. The CMMC is the DoD's response to significant compromises of sensitive defense information located on contractors' information systems.

Previously, contractors were responsible for implementing, monitoring and certifying the security of their information technology systems and any sensitive DoD information stored on or transmitted by those systems. Contractors remain responsible for implementing critical cybersecurity requirements, but the CMMC changes this paradigm by requiring third-party assessments of contractors' compliance with certain mandatory practices, procedures and capabilities that can adapt to new and evolving cyber threats from adversaries.

DoD contractors should immediately learn the CMMC's technical requirements and prepare not only for certification, but long-term cybersecurity agility. Details on how the CMMC assessments will be conducted, and how to challenge those assessments, are anticipated soon. DoD contractors that have already started to evaluate their practices, procedures and gaps when the details are finalized will be well-positioned to navigate the process and meet the mandatory CMMC contract requirements for upcoming projects.

The CMMC establishes five certification levels that reflect the maturity and reliability of a company's cybersecurity infrastructure to safeguard sensitive government information on contractors' information systems. The five levels are tiered and build upon each other's technical requirements. Each level requires compliance with the lower-level requirements and institutionalization of additional processes to implement specific cybersecurity-based practices.

A cybersecurity strategy is comprised of high-level plans for how an organization will go about securing its assets and minimizing cyber risk. Much like a cybersecurity policy, the cybersecurity strategy should be a living, breathing document adaptable to the current threat landscape and ever-evolving business climate. Typically, cybersecurity strategies are developed with a three-to-five-year vision but should be updated and revisited as frequently as possible.

While cybersecurity policies are more detailed and specific, cybersecurity strategies are more of a blueprint for your organization to guide the key stakeholders as the company and business environment evolve.

One of the most critical goals for any cybersecurity strategy is achieving cyber resiliency. To be resilient, business leaders must remember that each organization is unique and requires a customized approach to strategy. Much like relying upon one security product or vendor to completely eradicate all threats, there is no single cybersecurity strategy that adequately addresses every business's needs.

To achieve the ultimate goal of resilience, your cybersecurity strategy will require a mindset shift from reactive to proactive. Instead of focusing on reacting to incidents, the most effective strategies stress the importance of preventing cyber-attacks. That said, any robust cybersecurity strategy also puts you in a better position to respond to an attack. In the event your organization is victimized, a successful strategy can make the difference between a minor incident and a major one.

A proactive cybersecurity approach not only puts you ahead of attackers but can help you maintain and even exceed regulatory requirements. Proactive strategies offer the structure and guidance that help you stay prepared and avoid confusion that may arise. With uncertainty and confusion minimized, measures for incident prevention, detection and response are dramatically improved.

In the Integrated Review I make absolutely clear the importance of national resilience to the security and prosperity of the UK. Cyber resilience lies at the very heart of this. Few nations are better placed to navigate these challenges, but we must be willing and able to adapt to this new world emerging around us. Our National Cyber Strategy hits this head on - setting out how the UK will firmly establish itself as a democratic and responsible cyber power, able to protect and promote its interests as a sovereign nation in a world fundamentally shaped by technology.

The challenge cannot be underestimated, but tackling it is imperative. That is why I am delighted to set out here the Government Cyber Security Strategy which sets out how we will ensure that all government organisations - across the whole public sector - are resilient to the cyber threats we face.

Government organisations - and the functions and services they deliver - are the cornerstone of our society. It is their significance, however, that makes them an attractive target for an ever-expanding army of adversaries, often with the kind of powerful cyber capabilities which, not so long ago, would have been the sole preserve of nation states. Whether in the pursuit of government data for strategic advantage or in seeking the disruption of public services for financial or political gain, the threat faced by government is very real and present.

Building and maintaining our cyber defences is therefore vital if we are to protect the functions and services on which we all depend. As government, we have made a great deal of progress in recent years, but there is much more to do. To meet the threats we will face in the coming decade we must build on our successes and transform how we approach cyber security in government.

Every part of government has a role in achieving this. Government organisations are rightly empowered to manage their cyber risks - as well as harnessing local knowledge and understanding, this allows for tremendous innovation and agility. Such knowledge and expertise must however be shared across government to enhance our collective response, with more and advanced shared capabilities and services making the task increasingly straightforward, effective and efficient. This strategy provides the framework to drive this forward.

While government has made notable progress in recent years, there remains a significant gap between where government cyber resilience is now and where it needs to be. This gap is brought into sharp focus by the sheer volume of cyber attacks that the government sector experiences, and the evolving capabilities and techniques of the broad range of malicious actors conducting them. As well as the risk of disruption to government functions and public services, the targeting of essential services such as healthcare can pose a real risk to public safety.

This is a bold and ambitious aim. To achieve the level of organised and objective visibility of cyber security risk across the whole of government will require extensive processes, mechanisms and partnerships to be established; a task complicated by the varying levels of cyber maturity, capability and capacity. Key to this will be enabling lead government departments to assess and articulate the macro-cyber security posture of the arms-length bodies and other public sector organisations within their purview. 350c69d7ab


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