What Is NIST CSF? All You Need to Know


There’s another NIST ?! Yes. There seems to be an endless list of letter and number combinations in information security. So what is NIST CSF? Is it the same as other NIST frameworks?

There may be a lot of NISTs there. But each structure and existing standard has its own unique function, purpose and role. NIST CSF does not replace NIST 800-171 or NIST 852, it relies on them.

Does NIST CSF make sense to you? How do you develop it and implement it in your organization? To find out, we sat down with Chika . He is a senior information security officer at Tugboat Logic and a former information systems auditor at Union Bank of Nigeria.


NIST CSF (The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework) or NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a set of guidelines for organizations to manage and mitigate cybersecurity threats.

It can be called the gold standard in all matters related to cybersecurity.

This security standard does not explicitly define controls (unlike, for example, PCI DSS). The structure guides companies to implement appropriate measures or practices to strengthen their overall security posture (more on that later). So the application of this security standard will vary from company to company.

This is one of the many reasons some organizations use compliance software to guide them through the implementation and demonstration of NIST CSF compliance. The software provides guidance on design controls, policy templates, and repositories for managing the NIST CSF compliance program.

Is NIST CSF compliance mandatory?

No, this is a voluntary framework. So, unlike HIPAA, NIST CSF is not mandatory to operate in any industry.

Who Should Get NIST CSF?

By design, this security framework is intended for companies in any industry. It was created by stakeholders from a variety of sectors such as finance, fintech, healthcare, retail, academia, and government.

NIST is flexible and easy to customize. This is a great option for any organization in any sector looking to improve or gain greater insight into their cybersecurity.

How does NIST CSF work?

Five functions

According to NIST, it will have five functions. They include:


What are your critical assists that need protection? The identity function develops an organizational understanding of how to manage cybersecurity threats related to systems, people, resources, data, and capabilities. It focuses on the business context, resources supporting critical functions, and related cybersecurity threats.

  • Protect

The protection function ensures the provision of critical infrastructure services. It also supports the possibility of limiting or limiting the impact of potential cybersecurity activities.


The detection feature determines the appropriate actions to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event. In addition, it enables the quick detection of a cyber attack or breach.

  • Respond

The response function includes appropriate actions to take action when a cybersecurity incident is detected. This feature supports the ability to contain the impact of a potential cybersecurity incident.

  • Recover

The recovery function identifies appropriate actions to maintain resilience plans. And restoring functionality or services that were damaged in a cybersecurity incident. Supports fast recovery of normal operations to reduce the impact of a cybersecurity incident.

NIST CSF understands and recognizes that even the most secure organizations are vulnerable to breaches or cyber attacks. This is what makes the framework unique! And in line with the realities of our world today.

NIST CSF goes beyond data protection to best practices in the detection, response and recovery of breaches or incidents.

Categories, subcategories and informative references

NIST further divides functions into categories, subcategories, and informative references. I’ll give you an example.

NIST CSF is results-driven. Categories are the desired results. The category under the security features is “Identity Management, Authentication, and Access Control”. This means that the identity of data users will always be managed, authenticated and controlled. For example, no unauthorized employee can access customer data in the organization.

A subcategory is a category hedge. Staying with the “Identity Management, Authentication and Access Control” category, one of the subcategories is “identities are checked and associated with credentials and confirmed in interactions”.

This subcategory simply means that users in your organization need unique IDs and passwords. It is used for identification, authentication and r the “Identity Management, Authentication and Access Control” category is “A.7.1.1 – Control”. This is an audit that complies with the ISO 27001 standard. A.7.1.1 ensures that all candidate employees are screened against applicable regulations, business objectives and perceived risk.

Informative testimonials help people who work with NIST CSF understand how close they are to complying with other safety standards.

Are there NIST CSF audits?

Yes. When you are working on ISO 27001 or SOC 2, there is a formal audit process. If you pass the audit, you will receive a certificate of compliance at the end.

This does not apply to NIST CSF. There is no formal audit or certification process. So a client or prospect would not ask you to have a NIST CSF to do business with you.

However, NIST is an internationally recognized and respected cybersecurity standard. You can tell customers and prospects that you agree with NIST CSF.

This is an international sign that your organization is prioritizing best practices to protect critical assets and maintain a strong security posture.

But how can you show compliance with this security standard? Some organizations use compliance software.

The software can create reports to potential customers about your safety and environmental practices in a few clicks. A report like this can show you how you have aligned your business with the NIST CSF structure.

How much is it?

The short answer is much smaller than any security structure that needs to be audited.

For example, an SOC 2 audit can cost anywhere from $ 15,500 to $ 100,000 depending on the size and scope of your organization.

NIST CSF is a great cost effective option as there are no audit costs. You decide how much you invest in bringing your company up to NIST CSF standards.


If NST CSF is not mandatory, why would you use it?

The information security framework is not one of the most exciting and easy to understand. Okay, you can say that.

That’s why NIST CSF was born! Its goal is to be available to everyone. Therefore, it is written in simple and simplified language.

The structure enables teams across the organization (such as marketing, sales, engineering, HR, etc.) to speak a common cybersecurity language.

As you can imagine, this makes it much easier for teams to understand an organization’s cybersecurity goals and how to achieve them. Especially when working in a home environment.

Organizations choose the NIST CSF framework because:

  • Describes the desired safety results instead of checking which can be confusing.
  • Understandable to anyone, no matter where they come from.
  • It is applicable to any type of risk management across industries.
  • Defines the scope of cybersecurity.
  • It includes preventing and responding to data breaches.

NIST CSF is primarily a measurement tool. It is a path that will help you understand your security maturity and risk level. Along with the current security processes implemented by you.

In other words, the framework gives your team a common language to describe where your cybersecurity program is located and where you want it to be.

Risk management is the cornerstone of any safe environment. The functions of NIST CSF also help to better manage cyber risk in a more structured, preventive and effective manner.

NIST CSF and tug logic

The Tugboat Logic platform and easy-to-use workflows will give you everything you need to adapt to {NIST CSF}. And any other information security framework.

Our security veterans will help you stay compliant so you can focus on what you do best. Do you have any questions?

Ready to use automation to easily conform to the gold standard of cybersecurity? Download a free trial version of our platform.

Author: webmagpro

Webmagpro is a technology news website, focusing on the latest gadgets and technologies, education, multimedia, apps, and reviews. Webmagpro provides cutting-edge news, reviews, and interviews on gadgets and apps.

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