Cybersecurity risks are one of the biggest threats to businesses and organizations today. To mitigate these risks, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed methods for analyzing cybersecurity risks.
These methods help businesses identify and prioritize risks and take steps to protect their assets.
One of the key benefits of these NIST methods is that they are based on industry best practices and are constantly updated to reflect the latest threats and vulnerabilities.
This means businesses can be confident using the most effective methods for managing their cybersecurity risks.
This article will discuss the 5 best NIST methods for analyzing cybersecurity risks. We will provide an overview of each method and explain how it can be used to identify and prioritize risks.
At the end of this article, readers will have a clear understanding of the most effective methods for managing cybersecurity risks and will be better equipped to protect their businesses from cyber threats.
Understanding NIST and Cybersecurity Risks
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. It is responsible for developing and publishing standards, guidelines, and best practices for various fields, including cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity risks are threats that can exploit vulnerabilities in an organization’s information systems or networks. These risks can come in many forms, such as ransomware, malicious code, phishing, and other types of cybersecurity attacks.
Organizations need to understand the risks they face and take steps to mitigate them to protect their assets, reputation, and customers.
NIST provides a framework for managing cybersecurity risks that consists of five functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. Each function includes categories organizations can use to develop cybersecurity risk management programs.
The Identify function helps organizations understand their cybersecurity risks and how they relate to their business objectives. It includes categories such as Asset Management, Business Environment, and Governance.
The Protect function includes Access Control, Awareness and Training, and Data Security categories. It helps organizations protect their assets from cybersecurity threats by implementing safeguards and countermeasures.
The Detect function enables organizations to identify cybersecurity events in a timely manner. It includes categories such as Anomalies and Events, Security Continuous Monitoring, and Detection Processes.
The Respond function helps organizations respond to cybersecurity incidents by containing the impact, eradicating the threat, and restoring normal operations. It includes categories such as Response Planning, Communications, and Analysis.
The Recover function helps organizations restore their normal operations after a cybersecurity incident. It includes categories such as Recovery Planning, Improvements, and Communications.
Organizations can create a comprehensive cybersecurity risk management program with the NIST framework. This program can help them reduce the likelihood and impact of cybersecurity incidents and protect their assets, reputation, and customers.
NIST Methods for Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed several methods for analyzing cybersecurity risks.
These methods are designed to help organizations assess and manage their cybersecurity risks effectively. This section will discuss some of the most important NIST methods for cybersecurity risk assessment.
NIST Cybersecurity Framework
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides a set of guidelines for organizations to manage and reduce their cybersecurity risks.
The framework consists of five functions: Identity, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. These functions are further divided into categories and subcategories that provide a detailed set of guidelines for organizations to follow.
NISTIR 8286 is a guide for developing cybersecurity risk management programs. It provides a comprehensive approach to identifying, assessing, and managing cybersecurity risks.
The guide is designed to help organizations develop a risk management program that is tailored to their specific needs.
Risk Management Framework
The NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) is a process that organizations can use to manage their cybersecurity risks. The RMF consists of seven steps: Categorize, Select, Implement, Assess, Authorize, Monitor, and Dispose.
The RMF is designed to help organizations manage their cybersecurity risks throughout the system development life cycle.
System Development Life Cycle
The System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a process that organizations use to develop and maintain their information systems.
The SDLC consists of several stages, including planning, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance. The SDLC provides a framework for organizations to develop secure information systems that are resilient to cybersecurity risks.
Staging Cybersecurity Risks
Staging cybersecurity risks is a method for prioritizing cybersecurity risks based on their potential impact on an organization.
This method involves identifying an organisation’s most critical assets and systems and assessing the potential impact of a cybersecurity risk on these assets and systems.
Organizations can then prioritize their cybersecurity efforts based on the potential impact of each risk.
NIST has developed several methods for analyzing cybersecurity risks that organizations can use to manage their cybersecurity risks effectively.
These methods provide a comprehensive approach for identifying, assessing, and managing cybersecurity risks throughout the system development life cycle.
Organizations can develop resilient information systems, secure from cybersecurity threats, using these methods.
Selecting and Implementing Protective Measures
After identifying the systems and data risks, the next step is to select and implement protective measures. According to NIST SP 800-53, organisations can use several control selection processes to select and implement the appropriate security controls.
One of the key processes is access control, which ensures that only authorized personnel have access to critical systems and data.
The access control process includes the identification and authentication of users, as well as the authorization of access rights.
Organizations can use a variety of access control mechanisms, such as passwords, smart cards, biometrics, and tokens, to implement this process.
Another critical process is information protection, which involves implementing processes to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.
This process includes using encryption, firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and other security technologies to protect information from unauthorized access, modification, or destruction.
Detection processes are also essential in identifying and responding to security incidents. These processes include the use of intrusion detection and prevention systems, security information and event management (SIEM) systems, and other technologies to monitor systems and networks for suspicious activity.
Control selection is a critical step in implementing protective measures. Organizations must select controls that are appropriate for their specific systems and data based on the risks identified in the risk assessment process.
NIST SP 800-53 provides a catalogue of security controls that organizations can use to select and implement appropriate security controls.
Selecting and implementing protective measures is a critical step in managing cybersecurity risks. Organizations must use various processes, such as access control, information protection, and detection processes, to protect their systems and data.
Organizations can reduce cyber attack risk by selecting appropriate security controls to protect critical assets.
Monitoring and Responding to Cybersecurity Risks
Monitoring and responding to cybersecurity risks is critical to any organization’s cybersecurity posture.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the process of monitoring and responding involves “maintaining ongoing awareness of information security, vulnerabilities, and threats to support organizational risk management decisions.”
To effectively monitor and respond to cybersecurity risks, organizations must first identify their critical assets and determine the level of protection required for each asset.
Once critical assets have been identified, organizations can implement various monitoring and detection mechanisms to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities.
These mechanisms can include intrusion detection systems, security information and event management (SIEM) systems, and network traffic analysis tools.
Once a potential threat or vulnerability has been detected, organizations must respond quickly to mitigate the risk. This can involve implementing technical controls to prevent further damage, such as isolating affected systems or blocking malicious traffic.
Organizations must also communicate with internal and external stakeholders to ensure that everyone is aware of the situation and can take appropriate action.
In summary, monitoring and responding to cybersecurity risks is critical to any organization’s cybersecurity posture.
Effective monitoring and quick response to threats & vulnerabilities can minimize cybersecurity risks and their impact.
Managing Supply Chain Cybersecurity Risks
Supply chain cybersecurity risks are becoming increasingly prevalent, and organizations must take proactive measures to manage them.
One of the key capabilities in managing supply chain cybersecurity risks is identifying and assessing risks. NIST recommends that organizations conduct a comprehensive supply chain risk assessment, including all third-party vendors and suppliers.
This assessment should include an evaluation of each entity’s cybersecurity posture and any potential vulnerabilities or threats that could impact the organization’s security.
Another important capability is the ability to implement appropriate controls to mitigate identified risks. NIST recommends that organizations establish a cybersecurity supply chain risk management (C-SCRM) program to manage these risks.
This program should include policies and procedures for identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks and ongoing monitoring and reporting.
To support these capabilities, NIST provides several methods for analyzing supply chain cybersecurity risks. These methods include:
- NIST SP 800-161 Rev. 1: This publication guides implementing C-SCRM practices within an organization’s overall risk management framework. It includes guidance on developing a C-SCRM strategy, implementing C-SCRM policies and plans, and conducting risk assessments for products and services.
- NISTIR 8276: This publication provides key practices for managing cyber supply chain risks. It includes guidance on external dependency management, supply chain assurance, risk assessment, and other important topics.
- NIST SP 800-53 Rev. 5: This publication provides a catalogue of security and privacy controls for federal information systems and organizations. It includes supply chain risk management controls, such as controls for assessing and monitoring third-party suppliers and vendors.
Organizations can effectively manage supply chain cybersecurity risks by leveraging NIST methods, ensuring the security of their systems and data.
Improving Cybersecurity Risk Management
Effective cybersecurity risk management is critical for organizations to protect themselves from cyber threats and attacks. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides guidance on cybersecurity risk management that organizations can use to improve their enterprise risk management practices.
NIST’s cybersecurity framework is designed to help organizations identify, assess, and manage cybersecurity risks. The framework is based on a set of best practices and guidelines that organizations can use to improve their cybersecurity posture and reduce the impacts of cyber threats.
Organizations can improve their cybersecurity risk management by implementing a risk management strategy that includes governance oversight and executive order.
This strategy should be designed to identify and manage risks across the organization and ensure that cybersecurity risks are considered in all decision-making processes.
Organizations should also ensure that they have appropriate security controls in place to mitigate identified risks.
Organizations can improve their cybersecurity risk management by following NIST’s cybersecurity framework and implementing best practices for enterprise risk management.
Organizations can improve their overall cybersecurity by reducing the impact of cyber threats.
Additional NIST Resources and Updates
NIST provides a wide range of resources and updates to assist organizations in improving their cybersecurity risk management.
One of the primary resources is the Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), which is a voluntary framework that provides guidance on how organizations can manage and reduce cybersecurity risks.
The CSF is based on five functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. It helps organizations understand their cybersecurity risks and how to reduce them with customized measures.
NIST also provides several updates to the CSF, including adding a sixth function, the “Govern” function. This function emphasizes that cybersecurity is a major source of enterprise risk and a consideration for senior leadership.
The update is available in the draft version and is expected to be released as a final version soon.
In addition to the CSF, NIST provides several other resources to help organizations manage cybersecurity risks. These resources include:
- SP 800-53: Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations.
- NISTIR 8286A: Integrating Cybersecurity and Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).
- NISTIR 8286B: Identifying and Estimating Cybersecurity Risk for Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).
- NISTIR 8286C: Developing an Effective Cybersecurity and Risk Management Program.
NIST also provides an FAQ section that answers common questions about the CSF and other cybersecurity resources.
Organizations can subscribe to the NIST Cybersecurity Insights newsletter to keep up with the latest news and updates from NIST. The newsletter provides information on the latest cybersecurity trends, threats, and best practices.
Overall, NIST provides a wealth of resources and updates to help organizations manage cybersecurity risks. By collaborating with NIST and using these resources, organizations can develop effective cybersecurity risk management (CSRM) programs that align with their enterprise objectives and reduce cybersecurity risks.
Chris Ekai is a Risk Management expert with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a Master’s(MSc) degree in Risk Management from University of Portsmouth and is a CPA and Finance professional. He currently works as a Content Manager at Risk Publishing, writing about Enterprise Risk Management, Business Continuity Management and Project Management.