The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is a framework created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to help organizations improve their cybersecurity posture. It provides a common language and a structured approach to managing and reducing cybersecurity risk by defining a set of cybersecurity activities, outcomes, and references that align with business needs and industry standards. The NIST CSF is not a mandate or a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a flexible framework that organizations can tailor and adopt to meet their specific needs.
NIST Cybersecurity Framework
The NIST CSF is a voluntary framework that provides a common language and a structured approach to managing and reducing cybersecurity risk. It is designed to help organizations align their cybersecurity efforts with their overall business goals and objectives.
The framework consists of five functions - Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover - and outlines a set of activities, outcomes, and references for each function that organizations can use to assess and improve their cybersecurity posture. The NIST CSF is not prescriptive, meaning it does not dictate specific technologies or solutions that organizations must use. Instead, it provides a flexible and adaptable framework that organizations can tailor to their specific needs and risk profile.
The framework is designed to be used in conjunction with other existing standards, regulations, and best practices to help organizations effectively manage and reduce their cybersecurity risk.
The NIST CSF is organized into three categories:
- Framework Core: This includes the five functions and their associated activities, outcomes, and references. The Framework Core provides a consistent approach for organizations to manage and reduce their cybersecurity risk by guiding them through a structured process for identifying, protecting, detecting, responding to, and recovering from cybersecurity events.
- Implementation Tiers: This categorizes an organization's level of cybersecurity maturity and risk management practices into four tiers: Partial, Risk Informed, Repeatable, and Adaptive. Organizations can use these tiers as a reference to assess their current posture and determine areas for improvement.
- Profile: This is a customized version of the NIST CSF that aligns an organization's specific business requirements and risk tolerance with the activities and outcomes defined in the Framework Core. Organizations can use the Profile to prioritize their cybersecurity efforts, identify gaps in their current posture, and plan for future improvements.
- The NIST CSF is regularly updated to reflect the evolving threat landscape and changing business needs, and organizations are encouraged to review and update their profiles regularly to maintain their cybersecurity posture. The framework is widely adopted by organizations in the public and private sector and is recognized as a best practice for managing cybersecurity risk.
How does Airgap Networks microsegmentation fit into this framework?
Network segmentation is an important aspect of cybersecurity and is incorporated into the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) as a best practice for reducing risk. Network segmentation refers to the process of dividing a computer network into smaller, separate networks to limit the spread of a potential security breach.
In the NIST CSF, network segmentation is associated with the Protect function, which focuses on reducing the risk of a cybersecurity event by implementing appropriate safeguards.
The Protect function of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is focused on reducing the risk of a cybersecurity event by implementing appropriate safeguards. The objective of the Protect function is to ensure that critical assets and sensitive information are protected against unauthorized access, disclosure, theft, or destruction.
The Protect function includes the following activities:
- Access control: This involves controlling access to critical assets and sensitive information by identifying, authenticating, and authorizing users and devices.
- Maintenance: This involves regularly updating and patching systems and applications to prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited.
- Data protection: This involves protecting sensitive information by encrypting data in transit and at rest, and by implementing data backup and recovery strategies.
- Awareness and training: This involve educating and training employees on cybersecurity policies and procedures to help prevent human error from contributing to a cybersecurity event.
- Protective technology: This involves implementing technical controls such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security information and event management (SIEM) systems to detect and respond to potential security threats.
- The Protect function of the NIST CSF is designed to help organizations reduce their risk of a cybersecurity event by implementing appropriate safeguards to protect critical assets and sensitive information. By following the activities and outcomes defined in the Protect function, organizations can ensure that they have implemented a comprehensive set of security controls to reduce their risk of a cybersecurity event.
- The framework recommends that organizations implement network segmentation as a means of limiting the exposure of critical assets and sensitive data, and to help control the flow of information within the network.
- By dividing a network into smaller segments, organizations can reduce the attack surface and limit the impact of a potential security breach. Network segmentation also enables organizations to implement different security policies for different segments of their network, depending on the level of security required for each segment. This helps to ensure that sensitive data and critical assets are protected, while still allowing users to access the resources they need to perform their jobs.
- In summary, network segmentation is a key component of the NIST CSF and is recommended as a best practice for reducing cybersecurity risk by limiting the exposure of critical assets and sensitive data.
- Airgap Networks’ agentless microsegmentation places each endpoint into its own isolated network segment and allows only authorized communication between them. The default security policy is to disallow any communication between each endpoint/network micro segment unless authorized by the security operator.
Network segmentation can help organizations comply with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) by reducing the risk of a cybersecurity event and limiting the exposure of critical assets and sensitive information. By dividing a network into smaller, separate segments, organizations can reduce the attack surface and limit the spread of a potential security breach, while also enabling the implementation of different security policies for different segments of the network. Network segmentation is therefore an important aspect of the Protect function of the NIST CSF and is recommended as a best practice for reducing cybersecurity risk.
Microsegmentation is an integral part of Airgap’s Zero Trust Everywhere solution, contributing to our customers' zero trust security initiatives and frameworks.