The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides guidance on how organizations can assess and improve their ability to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber-attacks.  A well-designed security stack consists of layers including systems, tools, and polices.  These tools need to be implemented to cover each NIST layer in at least one way.  The NIST Cybersecurity Framework helps organizations in expressing their management of cybersecurity.

This is very similar to our layered security approach.The idea behind layered security is that you create multiple security layers that resist attacks rather than a single-solution approach that leaves loopholes.  A single-solution approach is not reliable and can leave your network vulnerable to further attacks.  Layered security is also known as defense in depth.

Following the NIST Cybersecurity Framework will help your organization in expressing cybersecurity risk by organizing information, enabling risk management decisions, addressing threats, and improving by learning from previous activities.  As well, the implementation of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework will show you the impact of investment made in cybersecurity.  Investments in planning and exercises result in a reduced number of threats and vulnerabilities.


We compare the layers of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to the layers of an onion, each layer critical to protecting the assets within.

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Identify:          Identify risks and risk management within your organization.  Understand your employees and your organizations security maturity to see where your organization stands.  This helps you manage risks to systems, people and assets. Identify and control who has access to your valuable data and information.  Identify a risk management strategy for your organization and create cybersecurity policies and procedures.


Protect:           Identify management and access control.  The protection layer supports the ability to limit or contain the impact of a potential cybersecurity event.  Assure you have protective technology in place, as well as data and information security.  Protect your organization by implementing a continuous cybersecurity awareness training.  It is critical that employees are aware of current threats and risks held by your organization.  Cyber criminals are becoming more advanced every single day leaving one-and-done trainings inadequate.


Detect:            Continuously monitor for security events and anomalies.  Make sure your organization has the appropriate security in place to detect any red flags within your network and system.  Implement continuous security monitoring capabilities to monitor for events.  Cybersecurity threats occur on a daily basis, it is essential that your organization detects a threat as soon as it occurs.


Respond:        Contain and mitigate security events.  The respond layer supports the ability to contain the impact of a potential cybersecurity incident.  Develop a plan for disasters and information security incidents before they happen.  Consider the immediate actions you and your employees will need to take in case of a cyber-attack.  Analyze the effectiveness of response activities.


Recover:         Plan for your next breach and know how you will recover.  Have a business continuity plan in place.  Make improvements in your processes, procedures, and technologies to improve your security posture.  The recover layer supports timely recovery to normal operations to reduce the impact from a cybersecurity incident.  This includes ensuring recovery processes and procedures and implementing improvements based on lessons learned.


As you can see, the implementation of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework will make your organization dramatically less vulnerable to threats and attacks.  It is critical to have security layers in place; this approach will create a solution that will resist attacks unlike a single-solution approach.  Single-solution approaches are not reliable and will leave your organization vulnerable to cyber-attacks.  Assure you and your employees are knowledgeable of all current risks and threats held by your organization.

Check out this infographic on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.