The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Framework Controls are contained in Special Publication 800-53 Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations. It is essential to examine the overall NIST cybersecurity framework to understand how you should apply security controls in information security. The NIST Framework Core Controls support critical infrastructure, cybersecurity risk, and comprehensive information security. You’ll know exactly what to do in this complete guide to NIST.

The definition of NIST is pretty simple. NIST Framework outlines your activities to effect organizational change at its most essential element. The framework is broken into five functional areas, including categories (also known as families), subcategories, and informative references.

How Many Controls are in the NIST Framework?

You may find numerous security controls in the many NIST frameworks, especially the NIST Special Publication 800-53. Eighteen different control families and more than 900 separate security controls are included in NIST SP 800-53 R4.

NIST controls are often used to improve an organization’s information security standards, risk posture, and cybersecurity framework. For example, federal agencies must adhere to NIST 800-53. However, private organizations can use the risk management framework in their security program.

Organizations and information systems used by the federal government have quickly set the standard for others to follow. Numerous government entities’ information security strategies include insider threat, risk assessment, incident response, access control, and continuous monitoring at the top of the list.

Which Control is the Most Important for an Organization?

The best security control in terms of cybersecurity is NIST 800-53. Unfortunately, one of the main risk factors for breaches and information theft has historically been a lack of integration across security systems. Gaps caused by a lack of coordination can be exploited by hackers and used against a company. Thank goodness, NIST SP 800-53 aims to fill these loopholes.

To assist businesses in understanding how to manage risks successfully, the NIST SP 800-53 recommendations offer a distinctive and consistent framework for information security. NIST SP 800-53 primarily applies to all Federal Government departments and contractors.

As expressed, NIST’s primary goal is to encourage innovation and improve the American industry’s competitiveness. It achieves this by aiming to improve standards and guidelines while enhancing and advancing measuring science and technology to foster economic security and raise the quality of life.

When reading NIST SP 800-53, it is essential to note that the controls are categorized into low, medium, and high severity. In addition, each rule has a family, class, priority, and baseline allocation.

The control contains a detailed description of how it is organized, along with supplemental guidance and enhancements. The rules also have a helpful reference section that chains previous NIST Special Publications, which is useful when exploring the “why” of a particular control.

See also

2023 RiskOptics Cyber Risk Viewpoints Report

What are the 5 Functions of the NIST Framework?

The five functional areas of the NIST framework and primary categories are:


To manage cybersecurity risks at the data, asset, and systems levels, the NIST Technology Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) mandates that enterprises thoroughly understand their environment. This is when you assess the environment in which your company operates.

Organizations must carefully inventory and identify their assets to comply with this part of the framework. You need more than just knowing what helps a business has; you also need to understand how those assets are related and what roles or duties workers have concerning data. The five major categories that make up this function are as follows:

  • Asset management defines the people, information, things, systems, and places used to meet the firm’s primary goals.
  • The business Environment describes the firm’s goals, stakeholders, and general operations.
  • Governance consists of the rules, practices, and processes required to monitor and manage the firm’s operational, legal, risk, regulatory, and environmental needs.
  • The risk assessment identifies and evaluates the cybersecurity risks to each organizational activity, asset, and person.
  • Establishing an organization’s limitations, priorities, and risk tolerances to support operational choices is a risk management strategy.

Remember that the identify function is dynamic and ever-growing, unlike the framework. Threats, systems, and people all evolve quickly. Therefore it’s critical to maintain continual vigilance and repeatedly do this vital task.


You cannot assess how your present cybersecurity rules protect your business – or where they fall short – until you have a complete and accurate view of these threats. This feature aids in limiting and containing any effects brought on by a cybersecurity occurrence.

The objective is to identify the areas where current cybersecurity rules fail to safeguard your firm adequately. The six kinds of safety measures listed below come under the protection and are intended to lessen the effects of cyber threats:

  • Access Control – The minimum privileges to access your resources and network should be allowed. Role-based access should be used for facility access, running processes, and user access to give each process and user the access they need to carry out their duties.
  • Awareness and Training – Partners and employees of the firm have simple access to cybersecurity awareness training. Such instruction equips your team to carry out its information security-related duties by the company’s rules, practices, and agreements.
  • Data security is managing sensitive firm data in line with the risk management plan created to safeguard critical data’s availability, confidentiality, and integrity.
  • Information protection processes and procedures are the security policies, practices, and techniques managed and used to secure the organization’s information assets and systems.
  • Maintenance – Completed in line with the organization’s rules and procedures, care also entails any required repairs to the industrial control and information system’s components.
  • Protective Tech – Utilize a combination of manual and automatic techniques to ensure the utmost security and resilience of your systems and assets.


You cannot assess how your present cybersecurity rules protect your business – or where they fall short – until you have a complete and accurate view of these threats. This feature aids in limiting and containing any effects brought on by a cybersecurity occurrence. The objective is to identify the areas where current cybersecurity rules fail to safeguard your firm adequately. The following categories help quickly identify potentially dangerous cybersecurity incidents so that you can take appropriate action.

  • Events & Abnormalities – Ensuring that all events and anomalies are found as soon as feasible. You and your IT staff must be able to recognize and comprehend each unique occurrence in this category. The meaning of “detection in a timely way” must be established following applicable laws or other compliance requirements for your firm and the duty of care due to stakeholders.
  • Security Continuous Monitoring – By keeping an eye on your assets and data in real-time or at predetermined intervals, you can spot cybersecurity occurrences and ensure your network and physical operations are protected.
  • Detection Process – The proper upkeep of detection systems is essential to ensuring that they are always ready to alert users accurately to observed abnormal occurrences.


This feature supports the capacity to reduce the damaging effects of any cybersecurity occurrence. The response includes any step you may take after discovering a cybersecurity problem. To do this, your firm must develop a thorough response strategy and evaluate the efficacy of the reaction in the wake of actual cybersecurity incidents.

To do this, your firm must develop a thorough response strategy and evaluate the efficacy of the reaction in the wake of actual cybersecurity incidents. This function encompasses the following five categories.

  • Response planning enables well-maintained and effective systems and procedures to respond promptly to suspected cybersecurity occurrences.
  • Communication – Interactions between your business and its internal and external stakeholders are called communications. Depending on your company’s sensitive information, such incidents occasionally need communication with law authorities.
  • Analysis – Reviews are carried out throughout response operations to ensure the correct procedure is followed and to aid recovery efforts.
  • Mitigation is the term used to describe actions to stop a cybersecurity incident from spreading, lessen its consequences, and neutralize or end the occurrence.
  • Enhancements – As a company engages in response activities, there are new chances to improve the procedure by incorporating lessons learned through detection and reaction. Your team should evaluate what went well and what didn’t, then make the necessary adjustments to your response strategy.


The most important thing is to resume regular operations. Therefore, creating a strategy is essential before you need one to streamline and hasten recovery. This function provides the opportunity to determine the best practices for organizational resilience. It tries to repair services and capabilities hampered by a cybersecurity event. This comprises restoring damaged capacities, retrieving lost data, and ensuring everything operate as it should.

The recovery function’s three key categories are as follows:

  • Rehabilitation Planning – Arrange recovery activities and steps in order of importance. The plan’s opening section should contain essential safeguarding systems and assets activities. Your team should be able to swiftly complete work during the recovery by moving from the tasks with the most significant priority down the list.
  • Improvements – Once the systems are back up and running, your company should reflect on the incident and record any crucial lessons discovered. Your team should revise the rehabilitation strategy based on what you’ve found.
  • Communications – Coordination with internal and external stakeholders is crucial for resuming activities. These parties might include suppliers, victims, internet service providers, owners of the attacking systems, coordinating centres, and victims.

What’s the Difference Between NIST and ISO 27001?

There are several observable differences between NIST CSF and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001. These variations include:

  • NIST was established to assist US federal agencies and enterprises in risk management.
  • In addition, ISO 27001 provides a method for creating and maintaining an ISMS accepted worldwide.
  • While NIST CSF is optional, ISO 27001 involves auditors and certification organizations. That’s accurate. Despite being a self-certification system, NIST is well known.
  • While ISO 27001 Annex A offers 14 control categories with 114 controls and ten management clauses to help firms with their ISMS, NIST frameworks provide a variety of control catalogues and five functions to tailor cybersecurity controls.
  • In contrast to ISO 27001, which focuses on risk-based management and best practices for information security, ISO 27001 is less technical.

The NIST CSF may be the ideal option for firms that are just starting to build a cybersecurity risk program or make attempts to mitigate breaches. Still, ISO 27001 gives a strong certification option for enterprises with operational maturity.

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ROAR’s scalable user interface is ideal for enhancing and starting supplier risk management programs from scratch. Additionally, it has compliance frameworks and templates pre-loaded for speedy installation.

ROAR streamlines the dissemination and collection of vendor questionnaires to manage the process. In addition, you will be able to see high-risk locations since it will aggregate the findings and assign risk scores to each vendor.

This unique software-as-a-service ensures that your company complies with legal requirements and industry standards like NIST. Schedule a demo to get started!

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