Embracing the Cybersecurity Framework

As cyberattacks become more sophisticated, government agencies at all levels need to ensure that they’re following best practices to keep their systems safe. One of the most effective tools for this task is the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework, or CSF.

The ultimate goal of the CSF is to help organizations improve their risk assessment and response posture. This includes increasing the alignment of IT security requirements and capabilities, and enhancing efforts to improve cybersecurity preparedness in the public and private sectors.

After collaborating with stakeholders across industry and the public sector, NIST released the CSF in 2014 to provide a consistent methodology for assessing and managing cybersecurity outcomes. Compliance was initially voluntary. But in 2017, the Presidential Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure mandated that federal agencies apply the CSF to their IT systems. For state and local agencies, it has remained a gold standard for cyber hygiene.

The CSF identifies five functions that can help agencies prepare for and respond to cyberattacks. These functions are Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. Each one of them is designed to address cybersecurity needs at a different stage in the threat detection and response sequence. Together, they create a comprehensive framework that can help organizations improve their cybersecurity readiness at every step of the process.

Today, many agencies have utilized the CSF to reduce risks and improve threat management. By offering a flexible approach to cybersecurity, the CSF allows agencies to create individualized risk-management plans based on their specific needs and capabilities.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the CSF? Check out this course from GovLoop Academy.

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