NIST Framework: Not Just for Government Contracts

NIST Framework: Not Just for Government Contracts

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a guiding light to help companies understand appropriate levels of security when working with government data and for every company looking to stay secure. If you’re planning to work on federal contracts or upgrading your security measures, gaining an understanding of the NIST Framework is a must. 

More than 30% of U.S. companies use the NIST Framework as their standard for cybersecurity. The Framework outlines industry standards and best practices to help enterprises protect against cybersecurity risks and provides a common language that allows all staff members and external vendors to develop a shared understanding of cybersecurity processes and procedures. 

The Framework is broken down into five primary functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.


The Identify function in the NIST Framework drives an organization to understand where its cybersecurity risk is in regards to its systems, people, assets, and data. Example outcomes of the Identify step include building an asset management system, developing a vendor database with audit information, and developing a risk tolerance level within supply chains. 


The Protect element of the NIST Framework focuses on adequate safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical infrastructure and connectivity. In addition, Protect guidelines support the ability to limit or contain the impact of a potential cybersecurity event. Expected outcomes are developing an identity management system, building protocols and policies for remote access, employee training, and implementing role-based access control.


The Detect component of the NIST Framework defines how organizations monitor cybersecurity events and respond. The expected outcome of the implementation is a system to detect and report anomalies across the network and the steps an organization takes to verify functioning event detection. 


Detection without action is useless when it comes to information security. The Respond section of the NIST Framework guides appropriate activities when a cybersecurity incident is detected. Expected outcomes include ensuring a response is taken, documenting what’s happened, notifying appropriate parties (internal stakeholders, customers, law enforcement, etc.), and supporting recovery activities that include an analysis of the event.


The final piece of the NIST Framework is recovery. The Recover function identities the steps needed to have a swift recovery to normal business operations to reduce the impact of a cybersecurity event. Part of recovery includes developing processes designed to restore from backups, testing of the backup system, and continuous improvement in the recovery systems.

Putting the NIST Framework to Work for You

Although the NIST Framework is a high-level overview of the processes required to work with the federal government, the guidelines are very appropriate for all types of organizations to follow. As remote and hybrid work drives ransomware, organizations must plan and prepare.

InfoSystems’ cybersecurity experts have decades of experience in protecting businesses from cyber attacks. Coupling their industry-leading knowledge of best-practice guidelines like the NIST Framework with next-gen technology solutions from partners like IBM and Red Hat, our team is able to map out fully integrated cybersecurity programs that ensure organizations can run smoothly, efficiently, and securely. 

If your enterprise is ready to discuss the implementation of the NIST Framework, contact us today.

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