Breaking Down the NIST Cybersecurity Framework: Identify

In the next few blog posts, we will be diving into the five functions that make up the NIST Cybersecuirty Framework Core, why they are important, and what they mean for your organization. Together, identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover give a strategic view of the lifecycle of an organization's management of cyber risk, at an easily digestible high-level.

[Webinar with Cybersecurity Influencers: The Benefits of Frameworks and Standards HERE]

This post focuses on the identfy function, the first function of the framework.

NIST defines the identify function as calling on the need to "develop the organizational understanding to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, assets, data, and capabilities". In this function, as a cybersecurity stakeholder you can work on laying a foundation in your organization for an effective use of the Framework moving forward. The focus of identify is on the business and how it relates to cybersecurity risk, especially taking into account the resources at hand. Here are some of the outcome Categories associated with this funciton:

  • Asset Management
  • Business Environment
  • Governance
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Management Strategy

The importance of the identify function is clear: it lays the groundwork for cybersecurity related actions that your organization will take moving forward. Idenifying what exists, what risks are associated with those environments and how that relates in context with your businesss goals are cruicial to having success with the Framework. 

Successful implementation of the identify function could result in multiple outcomes, for example:

  • Defining all assets and environments
  • Defining the current and target states of controls
  • Making a plan to remediate those gaps
  • Prioritizing how to approach mitigation in business context
  • Prioritizing the needs of all stakeholders and business leaders involved
  • Defining how to communicate on cybersecurity issues with all related stakeholders

Organizations have to evolve in their cyber practices and implement the vital safeguards to contain and limit impacts of potential cyber incedents. All digital and physical assets must be accounted for, and roles must be defined with clear communication workflows around incidents and risk. The policies and procedures that you implement will provide the stability needed for your cybersecurity program as it works through all five functions and matures.

Access my free NIST Cybersecurity Framework on-demand webinar as a resource, which details a quick and powerful approach to begin implementing the framework. CyberSaint's NIST Cybersecurity Framework Guide is available here.

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