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The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is known in cybersecurity as the gold standard framework for computer security guidance, it can assess and improve an organization’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber-attacks. The NIST Risk Management Framework provides guidance for conducting risk assessments in the parameters of the NIST CSF and can be used to communicate cyber risk to business leaders and personnel working outside information security. These two frameworks work in tandem to create a well-rounded risk management protocol that is customizable and specific to the needs of any company. Given its ability to contour to any organization and its comprehensiveness, the NIST RMF (NIST Special Publication 800-30) is one of the most complex and difficult to execute.

The purpose of Special Publication 800-30 is to conduct NIST risk assessments in accordance with framework recommendations and standards. NIST SP 800-30 specifically is used to translate cyber risk in a way that can be understood by the Board and CEO. This common language between technical and business leadership helps both parties make more informed decisions on budgeting and assists in making targeted choices on how to implement cybersecurity initiatives. This is expressed through threat type, business impact, and financial impact. To do this, a baseline risk assessment is required to judge the current standard of operation within the system, flag potential security issues, and make improvements. This baseline will also measure how impactful those decisions are to the integrity of a given cybersecurity initiative. It is absolutely critical to have a real-time solution to support this since there are so many security controls to be mapped and measured, using a dated logging method like spreadsheets is insufficient.

How to Implement NIST 800-30 Methodology

To satisfy NIST 800 30, your IT systems must be reported upon. For this, hardware, software, system interfaces, the data on all information technology systems as well as the critical capabilities of said data and how sensitive it is, who has access to the system, and the system’s objectives and functions are required. Also, the threat history of the systems as well as the previous and current vulnerabilities. This is observed to establish threat vectors and generate a threat report statement. Previous risk assessments will also be observed to measure vulnerabilities and map them to their respective requirements, followed by a control analysis to develop a list of current and future planned control implementations. These processes are conducted to pinpoint the weaknesses of information systems and organizations as a starting point to improve upon based on the positioning of your system development life cycle.

The next step is the process of conducting a likelihood determination to estimate the probability of an infrastructure weakness being exploited by a cyber threat or event. Additionally, an impact analysis is performed to evaluate the result of an event happening and the losses that can result from such a negative cyber event, such as a beach or attack, followed by a risk determination of identified risks.

From there, recommendations and implementation plans can be created for risk mitigation by reducing the likelihood of a threat and mitigating the impact of an event that can cause an unfortunate circumstance.

Fortunately, using an integrated risk management solution, like CyberStrong can not only streamline your efforts towards proving compliance with NIST CSF and NIST SP 800 30 but many other gold standard frameworks and specifications. If you have any questions about how to conduct a risk assessment and how risk operates within integrated risk management or if you think your organization can benefit from using integrated risk management processes, give us a call at 1-800 NIST CSF or click here to request a free demo.

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