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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 guides conducting risk assessments in the parameters of the NIST CSF. It 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 Special Publication 800-30 is one of the most complex and challenging to execute.

Discover the NIST 800-30

The purpose of special publication 800-30 is to provide guidance for conducting risk assessments per industry recommendations and standards. NIST SP 800-30 is explicitly used to conduct NIST risk assessments and translate cyber risk in a way that can be understood by the Board and CEO. 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 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, the critical capabilities of said data and its sensitivity, 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 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 an adverse 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, an integrated cyber risk management solution, like CyberStrong, can streamline your efforts towards benchmarking against the NIST CSF, NIST SP 800 30, using NIST 800-53, and many other gold standard frameworks and specifications. If you have questions about conducting a risk assessment, how risk operates within integrated risk management, or if your organization can benefit from using integrated risk management processes, click here to request a free demo.

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