One of the most pervasive myths about cybersecurity is that small businesses are less popular targets for malicious actors than large enterprises. However, even though it’s usually only the major data breaches that make the headlines, small businesses are actually a favorite target for attackers. Cybercriminals often view them as relatively easy targets who nonetheless have plenty of data worth stealing.
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework was originally intended to drive innovation and improve risk-management in critical infrastructure organizations in the US. It has since become one of the global standards in cybersecurity. That said, achieving full compliance with the framework can be complicated, time-consuming, and costly. Fortunately, NIST offers a wealth of helpful resources to help make the process a little less arduous.
#1. Official publications
The obvious place to start is the institute’s official publications, including of course the NIST Cybersecurity Framework documentation itself. In addition to the official framework, there are over a thousand other publications on the topic of cybersecurity aimed at different technology environments and industries. For example, there is a guide on mobile device security, and one specifically on risk-management, and another on incident recovery.
#2. Information technology laboratory
The Information Technology Library is the go-to resource center for specific guidelines on all key areas of cybersecurity. The library also contains all the information and resources needed to achieve compliance with various NIST special publications. The resources are conveniently divided into three main series. The 500 series details cybersecurity controls and standards all businesses should adhere to, such as multifactor authentication and cloud computing safety. The 800 series provides resources to help businesses align with US government information security standards, which is crucial for defense contractors and businesses involved in critical infrastructure. Finally, the 1800 series provides operational resources, including guidance on creating your own internal cybersecurity policies and standards.
#3. Cybersecurity priority areas
NIST currently lists five priority areas, which reflect the most important technology challenges in the world today. These are cybersecurity, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, reliable computing, and future computing technologies. Of these five, only the first three are currently available, with the remaining two coming soon. These priority areas are intended to encourage innovation without adding risk. For example, the internet of things priority area covers topics like the design and implementation of internet-connected smart technologies, while the AI topic area deals more with research and development.
#4. Computer security resource center
The Computer Security Resource Center is a one-stop resource for everything related to IT security. It is regularly updated to reflect current threats and trends, such as ransomware and operational technology vulnerabilities. In addition to news and updates, you’ll find numerous publications, projects impacting information security, and a list of events you can participate in. There are six main topic areas – security and privacy, applications, technologies, laws and regulations, activities and products, and industry sectors. There’s also a helpful glossary of IT and cybersecurity terminology, which will help you get up to speed with these complex topics.
#5. Small business center
NIST small business compliance might seem like a lofty goal, but the Small Business Center provides a wealth of useful materials to help businesses on their journey towards compliance. Whereas the other resources cater to businesses irrespective of their size, this resource center takes into consideration the unique challenges and limitations of small businesses. There is a complete introduction to cybersecurity intended for novices in the space, extensive planning guides to help you assess your current security measures, training materials, and guidance by topic area.
Can you achieve NIST small business compliance alone?
The reality is that the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is extremely broad and exhaustive in its approach. Attempting to achieve full compliance with the framework can be a huge task for a typical small business, which isn’t likely to have a fully staffed IT security team. For this reason, the best approach is to find the right partner who can guide you through the process and help you implement the most suitable security processes and controls.
Charles IT provides the full range of services that businesses need to become fully compliant with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Get in touch today to schedule your first consultation!