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The NICE Framework Is A Cybersecurity Game-Changer
Cybersecurity is a trending buzzword across sectors. The recent NICE Framework advocates for increased education and talent to protect against emerging threats.
The fast-growing trend to integrate improved and proactive cybersecurity measures points to a significant culture shift. It wasn’t many years ago that organizations considered meeting government mandates as merely the cost of doing business. But recent initiatives highlight a new perspective that cybersecurity is part of a company’s lifeblood, and education represents the air, water, and nutrition that keeps it healthy.
Underscoring that thinking, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, Cybersecurity Workforce Framework — also known as the NICE Framework — has undertaken a mission of standardizing the necessary skills, expertise, and abilities, required to perform essential cybersecurity tasks. Listed under the NIST Special Publication 800-181, the NICE Framework brings together the thought leadership of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), academics, and private-sector experts to encourage increased cybersecurity education throughout the workforce. The top-down strategy being rolled out through the NICE Framework consists of the following seven categories, and the partnership drives corporate awareness about the importance of education and cybersecurity training.
- Analyze: Assess and review emerging cybersecurity data and evaluate its practical applications.
- Collect & Operate: Collects cybersecurity data as well as delivering denial and deception awareness to develop proactive measures.
- Investigate: Cybercrime and breach attempts are investigated within the IT network using digital fingerprints.
- Operate and Maintain: Improves support, to further IT goals by efficiently enhancing cybersecurity and network performance. Delivers decision-makers with clarity about educational development and crucial next steps.
- Protect and Defend: Provides high-level analysis and threat mitigation procedures to insulate private-sector networks.
- Securely Provision: Supports the development of secure IT networks through design initiatives.
At its core, the NICE Framework furnishes leaders across industries with a blueprint to organize better, evaluate, and increase knowledge about cybersecurity. But what differs from this being yet another government intervention in the way businesses handle cybersecurity is that it is revolutionizing the way we think and approach cybersecurity.
NICE Framework Equals Thought Leadership
If the recent NIST SP 800-171 Compliance mandate taught Department of Defense supply chain contractors anything, it’s that the federal government has never been more serious about cybersecurity. That’s a reality that has not been lost in other sectors, and one of the reasons there has been a groundswell of support for increased cybersecurity education, training, and talent. The NICE Framework delivers all that and more.
As a high-level organizational and workforce guidance, the NICE Framework helps industry leaders identify, recruit, educate, and retain talented cybersecurity personnel. Keep in mind, and it’s their efforts that defend your profit-driving endeavors against cyber incursions, data breaches, and ransomware theft. When NICE is fully implemented, the cybersecurity current runs through an entire organization and remains a foundational element of goal-achieving initiatives. To say this is a significant cultural shift would be an understatement. But the challenge CEOs and cybersecurity supervisors face is having a plan to implement this culture shift.
How To Lay A NICE Framework Foundation
If we set aside all of the technical hurdles that an operation must negotiate to improve its cybersecurity culture, it comes down to talented people. According to the DHS Cybersecurity Workforce Toolkit, building a talented cybersecurity team ranks among the top priorities. The publication outlines the following traits a robust cybersecurity team must acquire.
- Agile: Attacks can emerge at any time — teams must be ready to change course and solve problems quickly.
- Multifunctional: Teams need diverse knowledge and skills to perform many tasks.
- Dynamic: To respond to new threats, teams need always to learn new skills and methodologies to secure systems.
- Flexible: Strong teams can shift priorities to meet the challenge of the day.
- Informal: Cyber teams favor flexible work hours and shifting duties to remain engaged and on top of their game.
The Cybersecurity Workforce Toolkit also points out that cybersecurity experts must be passionate, superior systems analysts, problem solvers, and have a knack for abstract thinking. What many industry leaders are doing to energize their organization is to utilize strategies such as outsourcing the educational component to third-party experts. By bringing in passionate and talented experts to infuse knowledge and inspiration about next-generation cybersecurity, company-wide awareness is buoyed.