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NIST Framework 101: A Guide for IT Managers in SMEs

Hey there, IT managers in SMEs, we need to talk about something important: the NIST framework. Wait, don’t click off this post and jump to Twitter just yet! We know that the words “framework” and “compliance” make your eyes glaze over and your mind starts wandering to thoughts of that new Star Wars movie (spoiler alert there isn’t but there are 1000 new series on the Disney Channel we can pull apart). But trust us, understanding the NIST framework is crucial for your company’s cybersecurity. And don’t worry, we’ll try to make it fun…or at least tolerable and if we fail at that, get somebody or something else to do it, but more of that at the end. 

What is the NIST Framework?

So, what is the NIST framework? Well, NIST itself stands for National Institute of Standards and Technology, and their framework CSF also known as 800-171 is basically a set of guidelines for organisations to manage and reduce their cybersecurity risks. Think of it as a roadmap for protecting your company’s sensitive information from hackers and other cyber threats. And trust us, you don’t want to mess around with cyber criminals. They’re like the Sith Lords of the internet, only less cool and more destructive. 

Why should I care about NIST?

Now, we know what you’re thinking: “Why should I care about the NIST framework? I’ve got too many other things to worry about, such as a reduced budget and Kevin from accounts forgetting his password every 5 seconds. But here’s the thing: the NIST framework can help you do your job better and avoid potential disaster. It provides a common language for talking about cybersecurity across your organisation, helps you identify and prioritise your cybersecurity risks, and gives you a roadmap for implementing effective security controls. 

“But how do I know if my company is following the NIST framework?” you ask. Good question! There are a few tools out there that can help you map your cybersecurity posture against the NIST framework, such as the Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model (C2M2) from the US Department of Energy. These tools can give you a better understanding of where your company stands in terms of cybersecurity and help you identify areas for improvement.  

Cartoon character with fed up look on his face with the title 'Not sure if complaint or compliant

I’m busy, can I get help?

If you want a tool that holds your hand all the way, consolidates your security tools in one place, maps your Cyber Posture against NIST and gives you insights and actions to Cyber Resilience then we are going to have to shamelessly drop in our own tool as well, HighGround.io 

So, IT managers, we urge you to take the NIST framework seriously. Don’t let the Sith Lords of the internet wreak havoc on your company’s sensitive information. Use the NIST framework as your guide through our app HighGround.io and may the force be with you. And Kevin, seriously, enough already. 

Sign up for your free premium trial of HighGround.io now. Forever free plans available.  

Stay tuned to our blog for updates on the latest developments and revisions to the NIST framework, including the biggest reform in its history, as it continues to evolve to meet the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape 

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