NIST subjects draft cybersecurity framework to more public scrutiny

NIST seeks feedback from industry on common practices to secure IT systems

Following through on an order earlier this year from U.S. President Barack Obama, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is rapidly developing a set of guidelines and best practices to help organizations better secure their IT systems.

The agency has released a draft of its preliminary cybersecurity framework, and is seeking feedback from industry.

The agency is scheduled to release a full preliminary draft in October, for public review. It will then issue the final 1.0 version of the framework in February 2014 and continue to update the framework thereafter.

When finished, the framework will provide guidance for organizations on how to manage cybersecurity risk, "in a manner similar to financial, safety, and operational risk," the document states.

In February the White House issued an executive order tasking NIST to develop a cybersecurity framework, one based on existing standards, practices and procedures that have proven to be effective.

In July, NIST issued an outline of the framework and held a workshop in San Diego to fill in some details. This draft incorporates some of that work, and was released to gather more feedback ahead of the next workshop, to be held in Dallas starting on Sept. 11.

"The Framework complements, and does not replace, an organization's existing business or cybersecurity risk management process and cybersecurity program. Rather, the organization can use its current processes and leverage the framework to identify opportunities to improve an organization's cybersecurity risk management," the draft read.

When finished, the framework will consist of three parts. One component, called the core functions, will be a compilation of commonly practiced activities and references. The second component, the implementation tiers, provides guidance on how to manage cybersecurity risks. The third component, the framework profile, provides guidance on how to integrate the core functions within a cybersecurity risk strategy, or plan.

On Twitter, framework ideas are being submitted and discussed with the hashtag #NISTCSF.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is

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