What Business Leaders Should Know: NIST CSF 2.0

April 09, 2024 | Posted in:


Posted by Ashley Wiles

The newly updated NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) 2.0 is here, and it’s packed with important updates that business leaders need to know to keep their companies safe. Let’s dive into what NIST CSF 2.0 means for you and why it’s more important than ever.

The Core of NIST CSF 2.0: Accessible and Practical

Many organizations (including many IT experts!) faced challenges translating the original NIST CSF 1.1 guidance, into actual implementation. Then, after a significant revision, NIST published CSF 2.0 in February 2024, along with new supplementary materials designed to help different audiences understand the guidance and turn it into something actionable.nist csf-1.1-2.0NIST added a strategic governance layer to the framework and great resources to clarify "what you should be doing". Some of these materials include how NIST CSF 2.0 maps to other compliance frameworks, concrete illustrations of how to apply specific parts of the framework, and community profiles where industry-specific information is available.

Regardless of your IT structure (- in-house, outsourced, or co-managed -) leadership must ensure that cybersecurity is integrated into the overall risk management framework, based on best practices, and aligned with business objectives. To achieve this, keep these four strategies in focus:

1. Understand your organization's risk appetite.

2. Establish thorough cybersecurity policies and procedures.

3. Implement effective risk management processes.

4. Ensure adequate resources are available for cybersecurity initiatives.

IT partners like Systems Engineering are adept at helping you work through the above strategies since they can often be confusing. By focusing on governance, we can help you establish a solid foundation for your cybersecurity strategy, ensuring that policies are written, followed, and aligned with the reality of your company's situation.

If you are interested in diving deeper on any of the business level benefits of NIST CSF, learn more in our blog titled “Benefits of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework".

NIST CSF 2.0: Get Ready to Govern

The added layer of strategic governance complements the five cybersecurity functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. This governance layer sets the strategic direction, expectations, and policies for cybersecurity, while the functions provide the operational framework for implementing those policies effectively. The governance layer also provides guidance on how an organization's risk management processes align with each of the functions to ensure accountability and oversight across all areas.

The organization’s cybersecurity risk management strategy, expectations, and policy are established, communicated, and monitored

The organization’s current cybersecurity risks are understood.

Safeguards to manage the organization’s cybersecurity risks are used.

Possible cybersecurity attacks and compromises are found and analyzed.

Actions regarding a detected cybersecurity incident are taken.

Assets and operations affected by a cybersecurity incident are restored.

(credit: NIST CSF 2.0: small business quick start guide)

It is important to note that even with NIST CSF 1.1, each of the five functions mentioned has elements of governance and policies intertwined. With the introduction of CSF 2.0, NIST has underscored the vital role of governance, emphasizing its critical importance, while integrating business-level considerations to tie everything together seamlessly.

Emerging Trends: The Growing Demand for NIST CSF Alignment

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is quickly becoming the standard for aligning best practices, with more and more organizations adopting its principles. For example, it can help organizations in the defense industrial base (DIB) manage cybersecurity risks effectively, which in turn aids in meeting requirements like the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). Even though the NIST Framework isn't directly mentioned in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for those entities governed by it, NIST CSF can still be used to address patient data risks, covering multiple aspects of HIPAA. The NIST CSF website offers further information on how the framework aligns with various regulatory requirements.

At Systems Engineering, we're observing a future trend in which a growing number of businesses are mandating that their suppliers align with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Consequently, even smaller organizations are encountering supplier agreements from their clients or customers that include new provisions related to the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. It has indeed become the baseline upon which more mature cybersecurity practices are built.

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The Right Partner Can Simplify Cybersecurity: Operationalizing NIST CSF 2.0

Deploying cybersecurity measures can often feel like a daunting task. However, with the right partner, much of the burden associated with implementing and integrating these best practices into your business operations can be alleviated.

Systems Engineering is one of the first managed service providers in the nation to successfully integrate the NIST CSF and other frameworks into our operational processes. We have created an approach called the Adaptive Cybersecurity Framework (aCSF) that combines over twenty years of proprietary experience with NIST CSF and industry best practices, offering clients tailored guidance and support for increased cyber maturity. By aligning services from the ground up with NIST CSF 2.0, our clients' cybersecurity efforts are compliant and deeply integrated with their business goals.

The adoption of NIST CSF 2.0 under the guidance of Systems Engineering brings significant benefits to your organization, beyond compliance, that include:

Strategic Business Alignment:
Our solutions ensure that your cybersecurity measures support your business objectives, turning potential digital threats into opportunities for growth.

Enhanced Operational Resilience:
By embedding NIST CSF 2.0 practices into your operations, your business becomes more agile and resilient, capable of responding to and recovering from cyber incidents swiftly.

Building Trust:
Demonstrating adherence to a recognized cybersecurity framework enhances your reputation, building trust with your customers and partners.

Implementing security controls as outlined by NIST CSF 2.0 is not a one-off task but a continuous journey towards cybersecurity maturity. We partner with clients on this journey, offering expertise, tools, and support tailored to your business needs. Embrace NIST CSF 2.0 with Systems Engineering as your guide. Let us help navigate the complexities of cybersecurity. 


For more information on securing your organization using the SE aCSF, connect with us at info@systemsengineering.com or call 888.624.6737. Clients, please get in touch with your Systems Engineering Account Manager.

Wiles_Ashley_571-007 - SQ-1Ashley Wiles is a Technology Compliance Analyst at Systems Engineering. Ashley assists organizations in navigating the complex landscape of cybersecurity and compliance through technology risk assessments, comprehensive compliance audit reports, business continuity planning, and tabletop exercises. Ashley is a registered CMMC practitioner and holds a Certified in Cybersecurity Certification from ISC2.