A cybersecurity program must be dynamic and adaptive, given the frequently changing dynamics of the cyber threat environment. An effective program evolves over time to address new challenges and stay current.
While the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is not a competence model like the Defense Industry Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, it does designate four tiers and five maturity levels. These are designed to assist firms in assessing their cybersecurity abilities and determining where they are in their CMMC security program.
NIST maturity grades and levels explained
The methodology relates to both stages and maturity levels, which is a typical cause of misunderstanding while adopting the NIST CSF. The levels are meant to provide direction on how firms collaborate and integrate cybersecurity and risk management systems at the moment. Their primary goal is to assist them in evaluating their existing operations to see if they are adequate in light of their regulatory framework and readiness to accept a certain degree of risk.
Using a maturity evaluation instrument from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Organizations should regularly examine their readiness to deal with new and emerging risks and existing ones. This is true in all sectors, but some are more so than others. Defense contractors, for example, must seek to become compatible with the new CMMC architecture.
Even though the NIST Cybersecurity Framework must not be considered a maturity model in and of itself, employing a self-assessment tool can assist you in keeping track of your security program and identifying areas that need to be improved.
Companies are urged to enhance their security maturity until their strategy is adaptive enough to combat increasingly sophisticated attacks. In the case of NIST, this entails progressing through the four levels:
Tier 1 – Incomplete
Cybersecurity risk management is not institutionalized or recorded at the lowest level. Threats are instead dealt with on an ad hoc basis, usually in a reactive way. Companies in this category suffer a substantial amount of risk due to a lack of sophisticated technical and organizational controls and low knowledge.
Tier 2: Risk-awareness
While there may not be an organization-wide risk mitigation policy, the NIST CSF’s second layer, unlike CMMC regulation, assumes that key stakeholders are aware of the primary risks. There will most certainly be a few regulations and rules in place to secure digital assets, but management prefers to handle risk as it arises. To put it another way, it is primarily reactive.
Tier 3: Reproducible
Organizations at the third tier have built repeatable methods for countering threats, a structured risk-management strategy, and strictly delineated security regulations. Most companies will desire to attain this level because it gives a high level of defense over evolving threats.
Tier 4 – Versatile
The fourth and final layer is all about adaptability and constant progress. Companies in this category undertake risk assessments regularly and adjust security policies and processes to tackle the current threats. It mainly relies on sophisticated analytics to give a steady supply of insights and best practices.
What is the best way to assess your present security posture?
Organizations must assess their capabilities in three critical areas to successfully adopt the NIST Cybersecurity Framework: risk management procedures, integrated risk management programs, and external engagement. The risk management procedure, for instance, is entirely reactive and ad-hoc at the lowest rung. Security practices at the highest level are based on prior and present operations and occurrences, constantly developing.
Getting an independent perspective is the most effective technique to assess your current security position. This new viewpoint may reveal concerns you weren’t aware of, which is critical at a time when the majority of dangers originate from the outside. The NIST CSF is best implemented by identifying an event’s business effect, risk tolerance, and real threat vectors that your company faces.