Last Chance to Help Shape NIST's Updated Cyber Framework

Den Rise/Shutterstock.com

The comment window closes April 10.

John Breeden II is an award-winning journalist and reviewer with over 20 years of experience covering technology and government. He is currently the CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, a group that creates technological thought leadership content for organizations of all sizes. Twitter: @LabGuys.

Right now, everyone is probably concerned about a certain April 15th deadline that is rapidly barreling down on us. But before Tax Day arrives, there is another important date we should note. We only have until Mon, April 10, to comment on the proposed version 1.1 updates to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework.

I’ve done my part and added some suggestions that I feel could be useful, but I’m sure the NIST researchers could use all the help they can get, especially from those of us with deep cybersecurity skills.

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

The Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity is a unique document in government for a variety of reasons. It was originally intended as a guide to help protect the nation’s critical infrastructure like the power grid, water systems and transportation networks, much of which is in private hands and not under direct government control. But it has also become a great starting point for cybersecurity for any business, from small- and medium-sized businesses to large corporations. As such, it has only grown in importance since its original creation in 2014.

The document was never intended to be static. It was clear when the framework was created that cybersecurity is a moving target. You can’t reliably explain a defensive technique and expect it to still be valid even six months or a year later. As such, the framework does not go into specific details about tools and tactics but instead lays the groundwork for organizations to start improving their cybersecurity.

In a way, the framework provides commonsense type advice, though it’s valuable because people whose primary jobs are not in security may not know how to think of cybersecurity as a whole entity. Instead, they may get hung up on specific needs like endpoint protection or anti-virus, and end up like the old saying where they can’t see the forest because of all the trees. The framework provides that bigger picture. For example, one thing the framework recommends is to perform a detailed inventory of all your cyber assets and to set up a reporting structure so that everyone knows who to report to, and how to make a report, in the event of a breach. By sticking to general information, the framework can avoid becoming obsolete as specific tools and tactics on both sides of the security fence evolve over time.

The new version 1.1 of the framework, which is soon closing for comments, adds in some newer tactics to help keep the document relevant, while still sticking to more generalized content. Specifically, version 1.1 adds three new areas: 

  • Supply chain risk management: This is the biggest area I felt was missing from the original document, and stresses the need to include all of a business’ suppliers in their cybersecurity efforts. This can make sure that something like a contractor using a default password doesn’t sink your ship.
  • Metrics accounting: This new area helps businesses set up metrics so that cybersecurity can be tied in to business goals and results.
  • Identity management and access control: Another great addition. This explains the need to use tactics like automatically expiring access controls, and to have a solid plan for the entire credentialing lifecycle for all employees.

NIST would like comments about the new additions but is also seeing help with defining areas for future document additions. For example, my suggestion was to include a more detailed explanation of the value of threat intelligence, how to tap into government feeds, and how to help contribute to the cataloging of new threats to help make the whole community safer. Comments should be sent to cyberframework@nist.gov before the deadline.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.