Regulations and Compliance
See how risk-based Managed Detection & Response can help you with compliance — regardless of your industry
NYDFS Security Regulation FAQ
A CONVERSATION WITH RON PELLETIER, FOUNDER and CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER, PONDURANCE, AND RICHARD BORDEN, COUNSEL, WILLKIE FARR & GALLAGHER LLP
- The cyber regulation standards and if there are any commonalities
- What you need to do to meet SEC requirements
- The difference between privacy regulations and information security regulations
- What are the Department of Labor (DOL) guidelines, and how does it apply to cybersecurity
- How a cybersecurity provider can help you meet new security regulations
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As part of Pondurance’s cyber risk assessment services, we offer a focused review of your IT systems environment to identify baseline risk and maturity as they relate to the security practices recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with its cybersecurity framework (CSF).
Data breaches and cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common. Because of this, customers are now more concerned about how companies protect their personal information. Organizations have realized the importance of implementing stringent security measures based on NIST compliance requirements to build customer trust, maintain strong client relationships, and gain a competitive edge over rivals who neglect or fail to implement similar security protocols.
So, what does NIST stand for, and what is NIST compliance?
NIST stands for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It’s a federal agency that develops technology standards for government agencies and private sector entities. Its main purpose is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science standards across multiple industries. NIST compliance refers to an organization’s adherence to the guidelines and standards set forth by NIST. These guidelines and standards help businesses assess and manage their information security and risk.
The next sections will discuss NIST compliance requirements in detail, their benefits, and how to achieve them.
NIST Compliance Framework
NIST compliance is not just a set of rigid rules, but rather a comprehensive approach to creating and maintaining a strong, resilient cybersecurity infrastructure.
While there isn’t a specific NIST compliance framework organizations should follow, there are several frameworks they can use depending on their goals and sector. These frameworks include:
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework Compliance (CSF)
- NIST Risk Management Framework Compliance (RMF)
- NIST 800-53 Compliance
NIST 800-171 Compliance
The most popular NIST framework compliance is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) due to its flexibility and adaptability. NIST CSF is voluntary but widely adopted and recognized in both the public and private sectors. Many organizations use it as a NIST compliance checklist for cybersecurity programs, regulations, and standards. It consists of five core functions that organizations must perform:
- Identify: Understand and manage cybersecurity risks to systems, assets, data, and capabilities.
- Protect: Implement safeguards to ensure the security of critical assets and data.
- Detect: Develop and implement processes to identify and detect cybersecurity events.
- Respond: Establish an incident response plan and take appropriate actions when a cybersecurity incident occurs.
- Recover: Develop and implement recovery plans and activities to restore services after a cybersecurity incident.
Depending on their industry, organizations may need to comply with other frameworks such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS. It’s important to understand how the NIST CSF differs from these frameworks. NIST CSF is a flexible framework for improving cybersecurity, while HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS are specific regulations tailored to particular industries or data types. Additionally, compliance with NIST is voluntary, whereas compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS is mandatory for specific industries and jurisdictions.
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): HIPAA is specific to the healthcare industry and focuses on protecting and maintaining the privacy of patients’ data, particularly protected health information (PHI).
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): GDPR is a data protection regulation applicable to organizations processing the personal data of European Union (EU) residents. It focuses on protecting individuals’ data privacy rights and requires organizations to implement measures to protect it.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): PCI DSS is primarily relevant to organizations involved in credit card transactions. It focuses on securing payment card data and related systems.
CMMC (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification): CMMC is a compliance framework designed for organizations participating in contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). It focuses on enhancing the cybersecurity posture of defense contractors in protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). CMMC introduces a tiered certification system with five levels, each representing the increasing maturity and sophistication of cybersecurity practices.
Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA): FISMA is a critical compliance framework for U.S. federal agencies and contractors working with federal data and systems. It ensures the security of federal information and systems.
Benefits of NIST Compliance
Adhering to NIST compliance requirements offers several benefits, including:
Robust Cybersecurity Risk Management: NIST CSF helps organizations identify vulnerabilities, assess risks, and implement appropriate safeguards. This systematic approach ensures continuous improvement in an organization’s security posture and helps it cope with evolving cyber threats.
Enhanced Customer Trust: Compliance with strict regulatory standards demonstrates an organization’s dedication to maintaining high-security standards and ethical practices, which builds trust with customers and attracts potential investors.
Alignment with Industry Standards: NIST compliance aligns organizations with widely recognized cybersecurity standards and best practices. This alignment helps organizations meet the requirements of various industry regulations and standards, such as GDPR and HIPAA.
Competitive Advantage: Demonstrating NIST compliance can provide a competitive edge in business operations. It can differentiate organizations when bidding for contracts, attracting customers concerned about cybersecurity, or partnering with other organizations.
Enhanced Incident Response: NIST CSF includes a framework for incident response planning and execution. Compliance with NIST incident response guidelines helps organizations develop effective incident response plans, enabling them to detect and respond to cybersecurity incidents more efficiently.
Improved Inter-departmental Communication: NIST compliance guidelines emphasize the importance of collaboration among stakeholders, ensuring coordinated and effective cybersecurity initiatives across all levels. This allows decision-makers to be better informed about potential risks and develop holistic strategies.
Cost Savings: By adhering to NIST compliance standards, organizations can avoid costly data breaches and incidents. Implementing proactive security measures and risk assessments can ultimately save money that might otherwise be spent on incident recovery and legal fees.
Supply Chain Security: NIST compliance can extend benefits to an organization’s supply chain. It can help in establishing security requirements for suppliers and partners, reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities originating from external sources.
At Pondurance, we help guide organizations through their NIST compliance journey and enhance the benefits of adherence to NIST regulatory compliance requirements by offering a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity services. For instance, our 24/7 Security Operations Center is staffed by threat hunters, providing organizations with real-time threat intelligence and monitoring to meet NIST’s incident response guidelines. We also coordinate rapid actions to minimize damage and recovery costs. Moreover, our close partnerships with cyber insurance entities and legal experts enable us to advocate for including cyber insurance as an integral component of comprehensive incident response and planning strategies.
NIST Compliance Consultant
Navigating NIST compliance requires expertise. NIST compliance consultants play a critical role in ensuring businesses adhere to the guidelines and standards set by NIST. A NIST compliance consultant, like Pondurance, is well-versed in NIST’s compliance standards and how they integrate with industry-specific compliance requirements, such as NIST PCI compliance, NIST HIPAA compliance, NIST FISMA compliance, and NIST CMMC compliance.
Unlike one-size-fits-all cybersecurity solutions, at Pondurance, we take a consultative approach tailored to the unique needs and challenges of each client. Our approach begins with a comprehensive cybersecurity assessment, an important requirement for NIST compliance and related standards. We then use our proprietary tool, MyCyberscorecard, to generate detailed reports and recommendations based on the assessment’s findings.
Once the assessment is complete, we collaborate closely with our clients to prioritize cybersecurity measures based on risk. This tailored approach ensures resources are allocated efficiently to address critical vulnerabilities and compliance gaps. We also understand that compliance is an ongoing process, which is why we provide 24/7 detection, response, and ongoing support. This includes MyCyberScorecard as an ongoing subscription, allowing clients to stay informed about their compliance status and regulatory obligations.
NIST Compliance Certification
Obtaining a NIST compliance certification demonstrates an organization’s commitment to maintaining robust cybersecurity and staying ahead of potential threats. It involves conducting a thorough assessment of an organization’s cybersecurity measures, identifying areas for improvement, and developing strategies to address any gaps or vulnerabilities. Compliance with NIST ensures adherence to the best practices and standards for managing cybersecurity risks.
However, it’s important to note that NIST does not directly issue compliance certifications. Instead, NIST has established a framework consisting of various IT Security Validation Programs to ensure compliance with established standards. In these programs, organizations collaborate with accredited third-party testing laboratories to assess and verify their products or systems. Once a product meets the requirements outlined in the validation program, NIST confers a validation certificate, affirming its compliance.
A key component of achieving NIST cybersecurity certification is undergoing a NIST Cybersecurity Risk Assessment. This assessment examines an organization’s overall approach to managing cyber risks, including policies, procedures, technologies, and employee training programs. Once the assessment is complete, the organization gains a comprehensive understanding of its current cybersecurity posture. It can then develop a roadmap to address identified weaknesses and align its practices with NIST standards.
In summary, obtaining a NIST compliance certification is crucial for organizations looking to safeguard their digital assets from ever-evolving cyber threats effectively. By leveraging comprehensive assessments such as the NIST Cyber Risk Assessment, businesses can be better equipped to identify vulnerabilities in their systems and take appropriate measures to protect their valuable information.
Need NIST compliance consultants you can depend on? Find out how Pondurance can help and request a demo today.