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U.S. Future-Proofing Cybersecurity

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has unveiled a preliminary edition of the Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) 2.0. This new iteration follows the initial release in 2014, aimed at aiding organisations in comprehending, mitigating, and conveying cybersecurity threats. The updated draft, currently open for public input, considers shifts in the cybersecurity environment and enhances the practical implementation of the CSF, making it more accessible for organisations of all kinds.

“We aim to capture both current and prospective applications of the CSF through this update,” said Cherilyn Pascoe, the lead developer of the framework at NIST. Originally designed for critical sectors like banking and energy, the CSF has found practical utility across diverse fields, including education, small businesses, and governments. It aims to ensure its effectiveness across all industries, not solely those labelled as critical.

NIST invites the public to share their feedback on the draft framework until November 4, 2023. There are no plans for further drafts. A forthcoming workshop in the fall will provide an additional avenue for public input on the draft. The final version of CSF 2.0 is anticipated for release in early 2024.

The CSF furnishes overarching guidance, encompassing a shared vocabulary and structured approach for managing cybersecurity risks across various sectors. It aids in fostering effective communication between technical and non-technical personnel.

The framework incorporates adaptable activities that can be integrated into cybersecurity programmes tailored to suit an organisation’s specific requirements. Over the last decade since its initial release, the CSF has garnered over two million downloads across over 185 countries and translated into at least nine languages.

While feedback received in response to NIST’s request for information in February 2022 indicated the continued efficacy of the CSF in mitigating cybersecurity risks, many respondents suggested that an update could better equip users to adapt to technological advancements and an evolving threat landscape.

“Numerous respondents emphasised the need to uphold and enhance the core attributes of the CSF, particularly its adaptable and voluntary nature,” Pascoe stated. “Simultaneously, many requested more comprehensive guidance on implementing the CSF to effectively address emerging cybersecurity challenges like supply chain risks and the pervasive threat of ransomware. Recognising the broad impact of these issues, even on smaller businesses, we recognised the necessity to elevate our approach.”

A primary objective of CSF 2.0 involves elucidating how organisations can effectively harness various technology frameworks, standards, and guidelines, whether from NIST or other sources, to implement the CSF. Enhancing this endeavour is the forthcoming introduction of a CSF 2.0 reference tool, which NIST will unveil in the coming weeks.

This online tool will enable users to navigate, search, and extract data from the CSF Core in formats that are easily understandable to humans and machine-readable. In the future, the tool will also establish “Informative References,” illustrating the connections between the CSF and other resources. It will facilitate seamless framework integration with further guidance to manage cybersecurity risk.

Pascoe emphasised that the development team welcomes input and suggestions from the public regarding the updated CSF, encouraging them to provide feedback by the November 4th deadline.

“This marks an opportunity for users to contribute their insights to the draft of CSF 2.0. And if tiu are not ready, it is time to get ready.” she emphasised.


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