Cyber frameworks are a collection of best practices designed to provide a high-level overview of cybersecurity. Most CISOs use one or a combination of these frameworks to develop their cybersecurity strategies and map testing validation results for driving improvements. NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CFW) and the MITRE ATT&CK Framework are the most common cybersecurity frameworks. The NIST CSF and the MITRE ATT&CK frameworks are essential tools for managing cybersecurity risks, but they differ in scope and focus. As a C-Suite executive, what should you know about the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and the MITRE ATT&CK Framework, and why each matters? Here are some key points C-Suite executives should know about each framework.
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to help organizations manage and reduce their cybersecurity risks. The framework was developed in response to Executive Order 13636, which called for a voluntary framework to improve the cybersecurity and resilience of critical infrastructure in the United States. The NIST CSF consists of guidelines, standards, and best practices that organizations can use to assess and improve their cybersecurity posture. It is designed to be flexible and adaptable so that organizations of all sizes and types can use it to manage their cybersecurity risks in a way that makes sense for their specific needs and circumstances.
These functions represent the key steps in a cybersecurity risk management process and are designed to help organizations address cybersecurity risks comprehensively and systematically.
The NIST CSF is widely used by organizations in both the public and private sectors, and it has become a key reference point for many cybersecurity professionals and policymakers. It is not a set of regulations but rather a set of guidelines and best practices that organizations can use to manage their cybersecurity risks in a way that is tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.
The MITRE ATT&CK Framework is a knowledge base of adversary tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) based on real-world observations of cyber attacks. The MITRE Corporation developed it is a not-for-profit organization that operates research and development centers sponsored by the U.S. government.
The goal of the MITRE ATT&CK Framework is to provide a common language and methodology for describing and analyzing cyber threats to help organizations better understand and defend against them. It does this by breaking down the entire attack lifecycle into discrete stages and providing a comprehensive list of the TTPs that adversaries use at each stage. This allows organizations to understand the individual tactics that attackers use and how those tactics fit into the broader context of an attack.
The MITRE ATT&CK Framework is organized into several categories: initial access, execution, persistence, privilege escalation, defense evasion, credential access, discovery, lateral movement, collection, exfiltration, and command and control. For each category, the framework provides a list of TTPs that adversaries use to carry out attacks and information about how those TTPs can be detected and mitigated.
The MITRE ATT&CK Framework is widely used by cybersecurity professionals and organizations to better understand and defend against cyber threats. It is also used by government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Defense, to inform their cybersecurity strategies and planning.
The NIST CFW and MITRE ATT&CK are complementary frameworks required to define, operationalize and implement a meaningful cybersecurity strategy. The NIST CFW provides a high-level cyber security operation model. MITRE ATT&CK provides the tactical mapping of cyber security tools, processes, and techniques required to build a world-class cyber operations team. Here are five ways these cybersecurity frameworks work together to build a better cybersecurity program:
At the heart of these frameworks is the need to test and validate your people, processes, and technology. Obviously, CISOs and other C-Suite executives do not want to run testing for attacks and breaches that can compromise production environments. This is why the US Cyber Command, leading financial companies, and thousands of other organizations deploying a cyber range can help support the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and the MITRE ATT&CK Framework in several ways.
As C-suite executives are asked hard and demanding questions from their boards, auditors, insurers, customers, and supply-chain partners using cyber ranges to test and validate your cyber security strategy against the NIST CSF and MITRE ATT&CK frameworks with provide your company with analytics required to make informed decisions, balance cyber spending vs. business risks and provide the evidence-based reporting to prove your team is a prudent and effective cybersecurity partner.
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