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The NIST Cyber Security Framework is designed for individual businesses and other organizations to use to assess the risks they face.
An organization typically starts by using the framework to develop a “current profile” which describes its cybersecurity activities and what outcomes it is achieving. It can then develop a “target profile” or adopt a baseline profile tailored to its sector or type of organization. It can then define steps to switch from its current profile to its target profile.
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework organizes its “core” material into five “functions,” which are subdivided into a total of 23 “categories.” For each category, it defines a number of subcategories of cybersecurity outcomes and security controls, with 108 subcategories in all.
Here are the functions and categories, along with their unique identifiers and definitions:
This function involves understanding and managing cybersecurity risks by identifying assets, systems, data, and capabilities within the organization. It includes conducting a thorough assessment of potential vulnerabilities, determining the impact of cybersecurity events on business operations, and establishing an organization’s risk management strategy.
The protect function focuses on implementing safeguards to ensure the security and resilience of critical assets and systems. It involves developing and implementing appropriate security measures to mitigate identified risks. This includes activities such as access control, awareness training, data encryption, secure configuration management, and vulnerability management.
The detect function aims to identify the occurrence of cybersecurity events promptly. It involves implementing measures that enable timely detection of potential security breaches, anomalies, or unauthorized activities. This function includes activities such as continuous monitoring, incident detection and response, security event logging, and security information and event management (SIEM).
The respond function involves taking action to respond to detected cybersecurity incidents effectively. This includes developing and implementing an incident response plan, establishing communication protocols, and defining roles and responsibilities. The respond function also includes activities such as incident containment, eradication, recovery, and post-incident analysis.
The recover function focuses on restoring capabilities or services that were affected by a cybersecurity incident. It involves developing and implementing plans and processes to ensure the timely restoration of operations. This function includes activities such as data backup and recovery, system and network restoration, and business continuity planning.