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Implementing NIST Cyber Risk Assessment in Your Organization

NIST Risk Management, Implementing NIST

The digital age has brought upon various significant changes and benefits to the world, and with it, digital threat from various individuals with ill-intent that poses as a risk for organization and companies of all sizes. What’s more concerning is the fact that these cyberattacks are increasingly becoming more complex and sophisticated. As such, it is crucial for businesses to adopt a proactive approach to cybersecurity. Enter, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Risk Management. NIST Cyber Risk Management offers a comprehensive framework for assessing and managing cyber risks. In this article, we will explore the importance of implementing NIST cyber risk assessment in your organization and provide a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

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Getting to Know NIST Cyber Risk Assessment

The NIST Cyber Risk Management framework, often referred to as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, is a product of the federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Designed to fortify information systems and data, the framework has become a global benchmark, utilized not just by U.S. government entities but also by international corporations.

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is based on five core functions:

  1. Identify: Recognizing the cybersecurity risks the organization faces, from asset management and risk assessment to strategy formulation.

  2. Protect: Encompassing the various measures and protocols to safeguard an organization's systems and data, including employee training.

  3. Detect: Revolves around the timely spotting of cybersecurity incidents through continuous monitoring and detecting anomalies.

  4. Respond: When a cyber incident arises, a prepared action plan is indispensable for damage control.

  5. Recover: Post-incident, the focus shifts to system and data restoration, emphasizing resilience enhancement.

Implementing NIST Cyber Risk Assessment

The framework advocates for a holistic approach, combining technology, processes, and people, ensuring organizations are poised to tackle the ever-shifting cyber threat landscape. With that understanding in place, here are the practical steps to bring this framework to life in your organization:

  1. Leadership and Governance: Cybersecurity starts at the top. Designate a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or a similar role to champion and streamline all cybersecurity initiatives.
  2. Asset Inventory: Categorize all the organization's digital assets, understanding their importance and value.
  3. Risk Assessment: With a complete asset inventory, assess the potential threats and vulnerabilities. This involves understanding the potential repercussions and probabilities of different risks.
  4. Security Controls: Integrate suitable security controls, echoing best practices to safeguard assets. The inclusion of tools risk management methods such as firewalls, intrusion detection, and encryption are fundamental.
  5. Monitoring and Detection: Launch a monitoring system that continuously scans for threats. Utilizing advanced tools risk management technologies can significantly enhance real-time network and system surveillance.
  6. Incident Response: A concrete incident response blueprint is indispensable, outlining the necessary steps during a security compromise.
  7. Recovery and Resilience: Bolster the organization's ability to bounce back post-incident. Periodic tests of the recovery strategy ensure readiness.
  8. Training and Awareness: A robust security framework is incomplete without trained personnel. Cultivate a cybersecurity-aware culture to counter threats like phishing.
  9. Continuous Improvement: Periodically refresh the cybersecurity strategy, taking into account past incidents and new threats.
  10. Compliance and Reporting: Stay compliant with cybersecurity laws and regulations, and have protocols in place for mandatory reporting.

Embarking on implementing risk management via the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is an investment in safeguarding an organization's digital infrastructure. This framework risk management approach is both structured and adaptable, allowing companies to keep pace with a mutable threat environment. By adhering to the guidelines provided in this article, organizations can bolster their cybersecurity defenses, diminishing the probability and severity of cyber incidents.


Computer Security Division, Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce. (n.d.). NIST Risk Management Framework | CSRC | CSRC. https://csrc.nist.gov/Projects/risk-management

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Cynet. (2023, September 25). NIST Risk Assessment: Process, tiers and Implementation - Cynet. https://www.cynet.com/nist-cybersecurity-framework/nist-risk-assessment/

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Security, R., & Security, R. (2020, September 23). What is a NIST Cyber Risk Assessment? RSI Security. https://blog.rsisecurity.com/what-is-a-nist-cyber-risk-assessment/

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