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CyberStrong, NIST Cybersecurity Framework

NIST Cybersecurity Framework: How to Reduce Complexity

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By Scott Schlimmer | CyberSaint CIO | Former CIA Officer | Intelligence Analysis Trainer | Security Consultant | 

When the US Government brought together the strongest companies on cybersecurity in 2014 to gather best practices on cybersecurity for its NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), it faced a daunting challenge.

Cybersecurity is complex. Even the best technical solutions, in the hands of a company lacking a cyber-trained workforce, can result in hackers simply going around the technology. Why? Because employees will fall prey to social engineering and phishing attacks.

If a company’s detections systems are too weak, no one will know whether its systems have been breached, and certainly not by whom. But if the company over-focuses resources on detection, to the detriment of response planning and governance, someone might see the burglar, but be powerless to stop him. What is an organization to do?

The US Government and NIST took all of this into account when they created the new cybersecurity gold-standard. At 900 controls, the NIST CSF is the most comprehensive framework in existence. Implement it, and your company will be as resilient as possible in all aspects of cybersecurity. You’ll be more-than-covered when it comes to complying with HIPAA for health care, PCI for online payments, or ISO for international needs. You’ll be ready for whatever hackers throw at you. 

The trouble is that getting there is a daunting task. At 900 controls, the NIST CSF is also the most complex framework to implement. Industry leaders have been quick to integrate the NIST CSF, with great results. However, its complexity has dissuaded many companies from getting aboard. 

In fact, a recent survey of mid-market companies revealed that NIST CSF complexity, along with concerns about management support, were the two biggest impediments to its adoption. Companies with fewer experts on NIST (and those who don’t have a few million dollars to spend on consultants) have trouble implementing the new cybersecurity gold-standard. Additionally, companies struggle to get buy-in from management and business units, because the outcomes can be difficult to measure.

The CyberSaint® CyberStrong™ platform was created to fix these problems.

CyberStrong takes the complexity out of implementing the new cybersecurity gold-standard. CyberStrong simplifies the NIST CSF implementation by breaking it into its natural 5 phases: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, Recover. It centralizes implementation into one platform. This allows managers to delegate information gathering, maximizing efficiency and speeding-up time to value. It also works over multiple sites, tapping into everybody in the organization. CyberStrong then employs machine learning and artificial intelligence to help determine where to focus your efforts to get the most accomplished, with the fewest resources.

Second, CyberStrong provides the metrics and analytics to help secure the resources and buy-in needed for adoption to succeed, while also making the cybersecurity team look like rockstars.

CyberStrong offers a scorecard of progress on the NIST CSF. Cyber teams can show, for example, that a specific investment will boost their score from 47 to 65. That means cyber teams get a quantitative basis to gain resources.

CyberStrong is the only scorecard based on the new gold-standard NIST CSF, created from the best practices of the leading companies in the industry. (http://www.CyberSaint.io for more information)

What has your experience been with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework? Please share your experiences, both the positives and the challenges, in the comments section, for others to learn from.

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