• Navigating NIST 2.0: Essential Cybersecurity Updates for Your Business

    Blog Post

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has rolled out Version 2.0 of its widely utilized Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), a pivotal resource within cybersecurity risk reduction. This updated iteration signifies a revision and a transformative approach to protecting digital assets and infrastructures. The progression from its previous version represents a significant stride forward in tackling the intricate and constantly evolving cyber threat landscape, offering a forward-looking stance on cyber defense that acknowledges the dynamic and multifaceted nature of threats.   

Initially, the NIST CSF was tailored specifically for critical infrastructure sectors such as utilities, transportation, and health. However, threats are no longer sector-specific; they don’t discriminate. Recognizing this, Version 2.0 has broadened its scope substantially. This framework is now adaptable to any sector and can be applied to organizations of varying sizes and levels of cybersecurity program maturity. Broadening the scope helps strengthen the frameworks application to all organizations, regardless of sector, type, or size, to address cybersecurity challenges of all magnitudes. 

This blog details the updates to the framework and their implications. Whether you’re a small business owner or the CEO of a multinational corporation, understanding these changes can help you protect your organization properly.  

What is NIST 2.0?

Initially introduced in 2014 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the NIST CSF serves as a set of guidelines crafted to aid organizations in boosting their cybersecurity posture, effectively managing IT security risks, and strengthening their defense against cyber threats. The 2024 release of Version 2.0 marks the first major update since the framework’s inception. 

The enhancements in NIST CSF 2.0 integrate input from users and strive to mirror the contemporary cybersecurity landscape more accurately, tackling emerging threats and technologies to ensure the framework’s relevance, efficacy, and capacity to assist organizations in enhancing their overall cybersecurity stance. 

Key Updates and Differences Between NIST CSF 1.1 and 2.0

Inclusive for All Organizations

As it was briefly mentioned above, NIST CSF 2.0 is designed to be inclusive, catering to organizations of all sizes—from small educational facilities to large corporations. Unlike the previous version, which was primarily aimed at larger entities, Version 2.0 offers a tailored roadmap for smaller businesses, making it easier for everyone to enhance their cybersecurity practices. This new edition includes real-world examples and a new web tool that links to other standards, aiming to level the playing field and strengthen industry-wide defenses against cyberattacks.

New NIST CSF 2.0 Tools Are Available

NIST has rolled out a suite of resources to help every organization hit their cybersecurity targets, focusing primarily on governance and supply chains. These tools are designed to provide various audiences with tailored paths into the CSF, making the framework more accessible and easier to use. Here is a list of the new tools available:

  • New Searchable Reference Tool: NIST CSF’s latest reference tool simplifies how organizations can implement the CSF, letting users browse, search, and export data from the CSF’s core guidance in human-friendly and machine-readable formats. No more sifting through dense documents—this tool puts everything you need right at your fingertips.
  • Reference Catalog with Mappings: CSF 2.0 comes with a searchable catalog of informative references, making it easier than ever to cross-reference the CSF’s guidance with over 50 other cybersecurity documents.
  • Community Profiles: NIST’s new community profiles provided deep insights, showing how different organizations leverage the framework. The CSF is incredibly flexible, and these profiles highlight how various sectors tailor the framework’s taxonomy to suit their unique needs.
  • Practical Implementation Examples: Organizations of all sizes use NIST CSF, and as a result, implementation guidance has been somewhat scattered. NIST CSF 2.0 has stepped up, offering detailed information, including linkages and mappings to specific cybersecurity guidance from NIST and other bodies. These action-oriented steps clarify the subcategories’ outcomes and answer many of your questions on how to get started.
  • Quick Start Guides: They’ve developed quick-start guides for small businesses, enterprise risk managers, and organizations aiming to secure their supply chains. These guides are targeted and concise, designed to get you up and running in no time.

These resources can transform your approach to cybersecurity, making the complex task of safeguarding your organization more manageable and efficient. 

Expansion to Six Core Functions

A pivotal change in NIST CSF 2.0 is the expansion of its core functions from five to six. The original version’s core functions—identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover—are now augmented by adding the govern function. This new function assumes a central role, guiding how an organization implements the other five functions. 

The new govern function guides how an organization should implement the other five functions, providing a comprehensive approach to managing cybersecurity risks throughout its lifecycle. It provides a strategic layer that informs and enhances the management of cybersecurity risks throughout their lifecycle. This holistic view enables a more integrated approach to cybersecurity risk management.

With this foundational shift in mind, let’s explore a detailed breakdown of the core changes introduced in NIST CSF 2.0, how each function is impacted and the specific enhancements brought about by the new govern function.

Detailed Breakdown of Core Changes

  1.  Identify: As in version 1.1, identifying involves developing an organizational understanding to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, assets, data, and capabilities. The focus remains on identifying and cataloging physical and software assets, recognizing cybersecurity policies, and establishing risk management strategies.
  2. Protect: This function encompasses implementing appropriate safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical infrastructure services. The updated framework continues to emphasize access control, data security, and protective technology but with refined guidelines to address emerging threats.
  3. Detect: Detecting the occurrence of cybersecurity events is paramount. The 2.0 version enhances capabilities for continuous monitoring, anomaly detection, and improved security information and event management (SIEM) systems, ensuring faster identification of potential incidents.
  4. Respond: This function details the appropriate actions to take once a cybersecurity event is detected. Version 2.0 offers enhanced guidance on incident response planning, communications, analysis, and improvements to effectively mitigate the impact of incidents.
  5. Recover: This function supports timely recovery to everyday operations to reduce the impact of a cybersecurity incident. NIST CSF 2.0 includes more detailed strategies for recovery planning, improvements, and communication, helping organizations restore capabilities or services impaired by cyber incidents.
  6. Govern: The new govern function is the key player of NIST CSF 2.0. It encompasses governance frameworks, risk management strategies, and the establishment of cybersecurity policies and procedures. Govern informs how the identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover functions are executed, ensuring a coherent and integrated approach to cybersecurity across the organization.

Implementing NIST CSF 2.0  

If your organization has already adopted the NIST CSF, it is recommended to review the govern function to identify any gaps between your current and target profiles that need remediation. Additionally, examine the implementation guidance for all subcategories to see if there is any new guidance you should adopt. In addition, update your organizational profile document to reflect the realignment and consolidation of the existing categories and subcategories. 

To effectively implement NIST CSF 2.0 in your organization, follow these key steps:

  • Comprehend the enhanced core functions: Thoroughly understand the expanded core functions, focusing on the new govern function, which will guide your strategic cybersecurity initiatives.
  • Utilize new tools and resources: Leverage the newly introduced web tool and real-world examples to align your cybersecurity practices with best-in-class standards. These resources are designed to streamline implementation and ensure alignment with industry norms.
  • Customize the framework: Adapt the framework to your organization’s specific needs. NIST CSF 2.0 provides a flexible roadmap that can be tailored to enhance the cybersecurity posture of both small and large entities.
  • Focus on governance: Establish a strong governance structure for all cybersecurity activities. This involves creating comprehensive cybersecurity policies, conducting regular risk assessments, and ensuring continuous compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Continuous monitoring and improvement: Implement continuous monitoring processes to immediately detect and respond to cybersecurity events. Regularly evaluate your cybersecurity strategies to address evolving threats and vulnerabilities. 

By embracing these steps, your organization can harness the full potential of NIST CSF 2.0, ensuring a fortified cybersecurity posture that is resilient against the dynamic landscape of cyber threats. 

Enhancing Cybersecurity Posture with NIST CSF 2.0

The new NIST CSF 2.0 changes bring enhancements that help organizations better manage cybersecurity risks through improved governance, practical tools, and a more inclusive approach. To assist your organization’s cybersecurity posture and align with the latest NIST CSF 2.0 changes, Adlumin’s suite of solutions—spanning Managed Security Services (MSS), Extended Detection and Response (XDR), and Managed Detection and Response (MDR)—provides the tools and support necessary to manage cybersecurity risks. 

Adlumin’s business model focuses on offering enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions to small to medium-sized businesses. Adlumin’s offerings are tailored to each core function of the NIST framework, ensuring protection, detection, response, recovery, and governance capabilities. 

For in-depth insights on NIST CSF 2.0 and its impact on cybersecurity, tune into the latest episode of Cyber Tide with Adlumin’s VP and Chief of Strategy, Mark Sangster.