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The Best Resources for NIST Security Compliance
Cybersecurity is vital for modern companies using digital tools. In 2018, the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act was passed requiring the National Institute of Standards and Technology to "disseminate, and publish on its website, standard and method resources that small businesses may use voluntarily to help identify, assess, manage, and reduce their cybersecurity risks.” Thus, NIST now offers a wealth of resources to support all businesses as they work to comply with NIST security guidelines.
For many companies, the prospect of complying with security guidelines brings up a major concern: cost. While large organizations may have the resources to comply with NIST standards, leaders at small companies may worry that they don’t have adequate resources to protect their status as a government contractor. And, if you don’t comply with NIST security standards, your entire business could be at risk if you lose your license to work with the government.
Fortunately, one objective of the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act is make compliance cost effective by supplying companies with enough information to easily manage security efforts. From publications and guides to news updates and events, NIST’s online resources provide advice and best practices when complying with NIST guidelines. Explore some of the best resources below.
NIST Publications: Cybersecurity
The best place to start any research on NIST topics is with the institute’s cybersecurity publications. NIST offers more than 1,100 publications on the topic of cybersecurity, all of which focus on different standards, pieces of advice, and valuable knowledge from subject matter experts. Some recent publications that may be of use to your business include a guide on mobile device security and another explaining the Risk Management Framework. New publications are added to this database all the time, so it may be wise to explore these resources on a regular basis.
Laboratories: Information Technology Laboratory
The Information Technology Laboratory is one of seven laboratories within NIST. The ITL focuses on creating IT standards, including those regarding cybersecurity, and works with organizations in the both the public and private sectors to create these standards.
On the ITL website, you can find a wealth of resources on IT standards that should be applied to your business. Here are a few areas you should look at:
The ITL provides a series of publications to offer specific guidelines on cybersecurity measures that every business should take. Among these publications are a key area of resources – the NIST Special Publications section. NIST has created three series of special publications, all focused on IT standards. Here’s what each series covers:
- 500 Series - This series provides information on a number of relevant cybersecurity topics, including how to securely share biometric identification and standards on cloud computing safety.
- 800 Series - This series offers guidelines and recommendations designed to help companies align with U.S. government information security standards.
- 1800 Series - This series provides guidance on how to create standards for your security measures and apply best practices to your cybersecurity approach.
Priority Areas - Cybersecurity
NIST lists five ITL priority areas: Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, Future Computing Technologies and Applications, and Reliable Computing. On the Cybersecurity page, you can find practical cybersecurity best practices and implementations. You’ll also find five resource areas:
- Computer Security Resource Center - Provides resources to support stakeholders in the government, the private sector, and academia
- Cybersecurity Framework - Provides information on a voluntary set of guidelines designed to mitigate cybersecurity risk
- National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence - Provides a collaborative hub where stakeholders from all industries and sectors can work together on emerging cybersecurity issues
- National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) - Provides a wealth of education, training, and workplace development
- Privacy Framework - Provides enterprise resource management tools to protect individuals’ privacy
While all five of these areas provide beneficial resources for businesses interested in compliance, let’s take a closer look at the Computer Security Resource Center and the Cybersecurity Framework below.
Computer Security Resource Center
The Computer Security Resource Center, through beneficial is not a new resource. For more than two decades, the CSRC has provided NIST cybersecurity updates, including news on projects, publications, and events. The CSRC is divided into a few sections, each one focusing on different areas:
- Projects - Highlights different projects impacting digital security
- Publications - Includes a comprehensive collection of publications and resources to improve NIST security alignment
- Topics - Covers six topics – Security and Privacy, Applications, Technologies, Laws and Regulations, Activities and Products, and Sectors.
- News and Updates - Offers the latest updates on cybersecurity developments
- Events - Provides information on events you can participate in to learn more about cybersecurity measures
- Glossary - Includes a helpful list of terms that you may need to know as you start your journey toward secure data practices
- About CSRC - Highlights two divisions of the CSRC – the Computer Security Division and the Applied Cybersecurity Division
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is among the most beneficial resources for improving your cybersecurity risk management efforts. This is a voluntary and commonly applied framework designed to help companies mitigate cybersecurity risks. On the framework site, you can learn more using the following sections:
- Framework - Highlights the newest version of the framework
- New to Framework - Offers information for those who may be unfamiliar with the framework, including Background, Framework Basics, Components, and Framework Videos.
- Perspectives - Explores different perspectives based on section, like academia, critical infrastructure, federal, international, small and medium businesses, and state, local, tribal, and territorial
- Success Stories - Gives case studies on businesses who have benefited from NIST security implementations
- Online Learning - Lists modules focusing on a different area of the Cybersecurity Framework
- Evolution - Offers an opportunity to learn more about the development and ongoing evolution of the Cybersecurity Framework
- Frequently Asked Questions - Clears up any confusion regarding the Cybersecurity Framework
- Events and Presentations - Allows you to view past presentations and plans for future events
- Related Efforts (Roadmap) - Identifies high-priority areas of the Cybersecurity Framework that require continued focus
- Informative References - Organizes a catalog of informative references for companies using the Cybersecurity Framework
- Resources - Categorizes additional resources that could be helpful to those implementing the Cybersecurity Framework
- Newsroom - Provides the latest updates to the Cybersecurity Framework
Small Business Corner
The Small Business Corner is a key resource implemented in alignment with the Small Business Cybersecurity Act. While other resources may have been generally beneficial for companies of any size, it’s helpful to have resources directly focused on your small business needs. Created and provided by the ITL, the Small Business Corner supplies resources to help you improve your security measures with limited cost.
Below are some of the key resources offered to help you navigate the Small Business Corner:
- Cybersecurity Basics - Introductory information about cybersecurity
- Planning Guides - Resources to help you assess current security measures and create future plans
- Guidance by Topic - Topic-specific guidance on mitigating cybersecurity risk
- Responding to a Cybersecurity Incident - Guidelines on how to respond to cybersecurity incidents
- Training - Includes educational courses, videos, and webinars
- Contributor Directory - Links to contributors websites to aid with small business cybersecurity, including:
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - FCC OCBO Cybersecurity
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - Protecting Small Businesses
- Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) - Cybersecurity Toolkit
- Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) - Cybersecurity Resources for Manufacturers
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) - Managing a Business: Cybersecurity
- U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) - Cybersecurity Unit
- FAQ - Answers to frequently asked questions about the Cybersecurity Framework
- Blog - Regularly provided insights and advice on cybersecurity
Finally, there are a number of videos available through the Information Technology Laboratory. These videos cover different cybersecurity topics and can provide the insight and advice needed to ensure you’re in alignment with NIST security standards.
With the right resources, any company can align with NIST security standards, regardless of its size. If you want an affordable and reliable way to align with standards when sharing data files with your customers or subcontractors, you should consider a NIST-compliant file storage and sharing solution. A top solution, like GOVFTP from Today will have the needed NIST security standards already built into their solution, making it far easier and faster for you to comply with NIST standards.
Learn more about NIST compliance. Download this comprehensive compliance guide now.
About Martin Horan
Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.