The NIST Framework: Why SMBs Should Care About It

In a previous blog post, Suhail Nanji covered the ins and outs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Framework, a document that helps SMBS assess risk, create better cybersecurity measures and improve their performance. While the core outcomes, implementation tiers, and profiles are the three primary components of the Framework that walk SMBs through the process of increasing cybersecurity, it’s valuable to understand why the Framework is important in the first place.

NIST framework

Why should you care?

We all know cybersecurity is important, but what’s not so clear is what to do about it. Not every SMB is the same. Not every SMB has the same level of risk, nor the same need for response measures, for example. Right now, the Framework’s standards are voluntary, so SMBs aren’t required to follow suit. But there are distinct advantages to doing so.

Get ahead of the curve

Namely, in the future, these or similar standards may become a requirement. If your business takes a proactive stance now to take measures to become compliant, you’ll be in better shape in the future when a set of standards become mandatory.

Protect your SMB

Following the standards is helpful to your business, in spite of them being voluntary or required. Assessing your business’ risk helps you implement strategic steps toward improving weaknesses and loopholes in your businesses cybersecurity. Beyond advancing security, there are other benefits to adopting the standards.

  • Internal communication. The process of collaboration amongst teams and departments within your SMB leads to improved communication. NIST’s studies have found that improved communication is indeed a byproduct of the process of improving cybersecurity.
  • Compliance. It advances your company’s position in terms of regulatory compliance, if it’s applicable, and improves your legal exposure. Many experts are predicting that the Framework will become the standard for cybersecurity and greatly impact the legal proceedings that follow. It’s in your business’ best interest to adopt the highest level of risk-tolerance possible so that your organization complies with future privacy regulations and cybersecurity measures. This is especially important for SMBs in regulated industries. It’s also foreseeable that the courts may lean on the Framework as a standard for assessing “reasonable” standards for cybersecurity should your firm face a lawsuit.
  • Vendors. As a third-party provider to organizations, adopting the Framework will improve the services you offer, and position your business as the go-to provider in your industry or region. And more, as companies adopt the Framework, they may require vendors and suppliers to follow suit, or they may choose to work with a competitor.

There are many benefits to adopting the NIST Framework, and few downfalls. SMLR is here to help SMBs as they work through the NIST Framework. We are happy to assist you with assessing your risk, evaluating where your company needs to improve and walk you through measures to advance security, decrease risk and upgrade insurance. Our partner, DataSurer specialize in cyberinsurance and their experts understand your technology needs.

Posted in Compliance, Content, Cybersecurity, Governent Oversight, Risk Management
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