WHY SHOULD FINANCIAL ORGANIZATIONS IMPLEMENT NIST CSF?

If there is one sector that handles and stores a large amount of sensitive data, it would be financed. Financial organizations have to deal with a lot of sensitive information like financial records, payment details, and customer details daily. This makes them the #1 target of cybercriminals. In fact, in 2021, the financial sector was one of the top 10 most vulnerable industries in terms of data security. Any successful data breach can mean the loss of critical and sensitive data and, off-course, reputation damage. 

When it comes to data security in the financial sector, adopting the NIST CSF or the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework is one of the most effective approaches. Like the CMMC solution, NIST CSF has been enacted to help the financial sector strengthen its data security posture. And one should rely on professional provider of managed IT services for businesses to ensure proper compliance.

What Is NIST CSF?

NIST CSF is a compilation of recommendations and measures financial organizations can put in place to manage their cybersecurity posture and reduce cyber threats. The cybersecurity framework is built upon existing control measures, data security best practices, and cybersecurity guidelines. These standards and practices act as a foundation for most compliance like DFARS and CMMC. 

The NIST enacted the cybersecurity framework in response to the directive by former US President Barack Obama. The framework was released in 2014 to improve and safeguard critical infrastructure. Since its release, the framework has become an essential guideline for various organizations to enhance their data security stance. 

Why is NIST CSF Essential for Finance Organizations?

There are primarily three reasons why finance companies should adopt NIST CSF. They are:

  • Cybersecurity frameworks ensure comprehensive data protection.
  • Some frameworks are sector-specific and can align with your business’s unique needs.
  • The frameworks prepare organizations against new cyber threats. 

Comprehensive Cyber Protection

Out of all the cybersecurity frameworks like the DFARS and CMMC compliance requirements, the NIST CSF is the most comprehensive one. Financial companies can secure their data systems and cover other security criteria by adhering to NIST CSF. The framework has five high-level controls: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. These five controls come together to form a complete cybersecurity risk management life cycle. Each core functions have 23 categories and 108 subcategories. 

While the categories cover the cybersecurity objectives, the subcategories describe the expected outcome for cybersecurity initiatives. 

Sector-Specific Framework Profile

How an organization chooses to implement the NIST CSF depends upon a lot of external and internal factors. Besides this, the CSF profile can be designed per the risk level to which your organization is exposed and the available resources. 

Under the guidance of NIST, the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council developed the Financial Services Sector Cybersecurity Profile in 2018. This profile was designed to be used by all kinds of financial organizations and asset management firms. 

The Financial Services Sector Cybersecurity Profile is founded upon various cybersecurity guidelines from across industries and around the globe. The FSP puts extra emphasis on supervision. Thus, the final draft of the FSP extends the five functions of the NIST CSF. Like NIST CSF, the FSP is divided into different categories and subcategories.