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Best Practices

National Institute of Standards and Technology Issues Cybersecurity Framework Draft

December 12, 2013

Directed by an executive order from President Obama in February, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a preliminary framework draft outlining standards, best practices and guidance to help companies manage cybersecurity risk.

The NIST, which was closed during the partial government shutdown, was supposed to issue the preliminary framework by Oct. 10.

The NSI said the framework complements an organization’s existing business or cybersecurity risk management process and cybersecurity program. Companies can use their current processes and leverage the framework to identify opportunities to improve cybersecurity risk management. Alternatively, an organization without an existing cybersecurity program can use the framework as a reference when establishing one.

“The framework, developed in collaboration with industry, provides guidance to an organization on managing cybersecurity risk, in a manner similar to financial, safety and operational risk,” the NSIT said in the draft document. “The framework is not a one-size-fits-all approach for all critical infrastructure organizations. Because each organization’s risk is unique, along with their implementation of information technology and operational technology, the implementation of the framework will vary.”

The framework is composed of three parts:

  1. Framework Core: A compilation of cybersecurity activities and references that are common across critical infrastructure sectors. The core presents standards and best practices in a manner that allows for communication and risk management across the organization from the senior executive level to the implementation/operations level. The framework core consists of five functions—identify, protect, detect, respond, recover—which can provide a high-level, strategic view of an organization’s management of cybersecurity risk.
  2. Framework Implementation Tiers: The tiers demonstrate the implementation of the framework core functions and categories and indicate how cybersecurity risk is managed. These tiers range from partial (Tier 1) to adaptive (Tier 3), with each tier building on the previous tier.
  3. Framework Profile: The profile conveys how an organization manages cybersecurity risk in each of the framework core functions and categories by identifying the subcategories that are implemented or planned for implementation.
The third pillar of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” addresses the adoption of a written privacy and information security program to protect Non-public Personal Information.

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