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Why Adoption of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a Good Idea For Business

“Cyber is an area where we have to have frameworks and develop international norms.” --President Obama in Berlin. November 17, 2017.

It is nearly impossible to avoid cybersecurity these days. High profile attacks occur with alarming frequency. Every day, it seems, world leaders broach the topic in policy speeches. The answer, for nations and enterprises alike, usually returns to the basic solutions: Frameworks and improved communications.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology released the Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) in 2014. Gartner puts current use of the Framework at about 30% of US companies, which is expected to grow to 50% by 2020.

 We see many benefits from adoption, but will focus on the top six.

1) Improved Cybersecurity: The CSF represents the collective experience of thousands of information security professionals. Simply put, organizations that implement are safer and more resilient. Widely recognized as industry best practice, it contains the most comprehensive and in-depth set of controls of any framework. Lately, we are hearing less and less that implementation is too costly or complex. The tide is turning as organizations come to a better understanding the Framework’s benefits.

2) Built For the Long-Term: The CSF takes the organization out of the ‘one-off’ audit compliance mindset, and into a more adaptive and responsive posture. Continuous compliance is a much stronger strategy in the long run.

3) The So-Called ‘Halo Effect’: We have seen instances where partners or clients ask an organization: “Where are you on the Framework?” This can be a deal killer. Compliance is a becoming a substantive selling point. In the not too distant future, cross-industry partners will regularly ask each other for status updates on the CSF.  

4) Improved Communication: The CSF comes out of a risk-based approach, which executives understand very well. This folds IT security into an enterprise management framework aligned with business goals. The result is better communication and decision-making throughout an organization. Security budgets will be better spent. Widespread adoption will also foster a shared security vocabulary, which will facilitate improved communication across industries and between partners.

5) Flexibility and Adaptability: The CSF is by far the most flexible framework. It has been successfully adopted by many industries, from large critical infrastructure firms in energy, transportation, and finance, to small and medium sized enterprises. By design, the Framework is highly customizable, and the Core Functions are an intuitive and easy to grasp blueprint that speeds adoption and provides ongoing guidance.

6) Future Regulatory Compliance and Liability: Organizations that begin to implement the Framework soon will be in a much better position as regulations and laws change. We are seeing an acceleration at the level of federal and state government towards mandatory CSF compliance. This trend impacts private industry as well, and not just in critical infrastructure. The Federal Trade Commission, in its data protection enforcement cases, is using the Framework as a standard. The compliance bar is rising, and that trend is likely to continue for all industries.

More Information: https://www.nist.gov/cyberframework