NIST seeks feedback on standards to protect critical infrastructure

The agency is previewing an RFI aimed at refining the cybersecurity framework.

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology wants to hear from critical infrastructure providers about their experiences with the six-month-old voluntary cybersecurity framework.

NIST developed the framework as part of President Barack Obama's February 2013 executive order aimed at formalizing cybersecurity protections across sectors. After closely collaborating with critical infrastructure providers and other stakeholders, NIST issued Version 1.0 of the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity earlier this year.

According to the agency, the goal was to create standards, methodologies, procedures and processes that align with policy, business and technological approaches to address cybersecurity risks. Now NIST wants feedback from those who are using the framework before officials begin fine-tuning it.

NIST has posted a preview version of a request for information on its cybersecurity framework website. The RFI will also be published in the Federal Register.

Agency officials said the feedback will contribute to a variety of cybersecurity efforts, including NIST's planning and decision-making about possible tools and resources to help organizations use the framework more effectively and efficiently. The comments will also help inform future versions of the framework and the Department of Homeland Security's Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community Voluntary Program.

Officials will also use the feedback in developing the agenda for a workshop on the framework planned for October in Tampa, Fla.

"We've seen organizations approach the framework in different ways," NIST Senior Policy Analyst Adam Sedgewick said in an Aug. 26 statement. "Some are using it to start conversations within their organizations or across their sectors, others to create detailed cyber risk management plans. We want to hear from all stakeholders to understand how they've used the framework, how it's been helpful and where challenges may lie."