5 Key Steps to Incorporate the NIST Framework in Your Organization

The NIST Framework is the gold standard on how to build your cybersecurity program. Now that you have been introduced to the NIST Framework and its core functions, you may be wondering how best to implement it into your organisation.

 Below are five key steps to a successful NIST framework implementation:

Step 1: Establishing a set of goals

Great, your organisation is looking to implement the NIST Framework, the first step towards achieving this is establishing a set of goals in regards to data security so that you can better measure success. Goals can be created based on the following questions; What is your organisation’s tolerance to risk? Where should your organisation prioritise protection? How much do you want to spend on your cybersecurity? By setting goals you can organize a plan of action, establish a scope for your security efforts and ensure that everyone within the organisation is clear of what needs to be achieved. 

Step 2: Profile creation 

Although the NIST Framework is designed as a set of voluntary guidelines, it is applicable to a wide range of industries. The way it needs to be applied when it comes to your business may look completely different to another business in another industry. Therefore, a profile outlining the specific needs of your business has to be created so that the framework can be effectively tailored to your organisation’s needs. With the assistance of the Implementation tiers, your organisation's cybersecurity can go from Tier 1, reactive to cybersecurity events, to Tier 4, proactive in its cybersecurity measures. 

Step 3: Assessing your current position

The next step in implementing the NIST Framework in your organisation is to carry out a detailed risk assessment. A detailed risk assessment provides valuable information to your organisation on which of your current cybersecurity practices/efforts is currently up to NIST standards and what needs to be improved. You can either use open source or other software tools to score your security efforts on your own or hire a cybersecurity specialist like StickmanCyber to conduct a thorough assessment for your organisation.

Step 4: Conduct a gap analysis and create a plan of action 

The findings from the completed risk assessment need to be communicated with key stakeholders. Findings should include vulnerabilities and threats to the organisation’s operations, assets and individuals.  Now that you have identified the gaps in your cybersecurity requirements, an analysis of how best to address them can be carried out. Using the scores from the risk assessment your organisation can prioritize what needs to be addressed first, through the creation of a plan of action. 

Step 5: Implementation 

With a clear picture of your organisation's current cybersecurity efforts provided by the risk assessment and gap analysis and an idea of what you want to achieve via your set of goals and plan of action, it is now time to implement the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. It is important to note that your cybersecurity efforts should not end with implementation, for the NIST Framework to succeed, continuous monitoring and improvement needs to take place so that the framework is tailored to your business's needs. 


As the threat of cyber crime increases all around the world, a cyber security framework is of paramount importance when it comes to addressing it. Without goals and an understanding of risk tolerance levels, evaluating your cyber security efforts becomes almost impossible. By following the above steps and tailoring the NIST Framework to your business, you are successfully equipping your business with the best tools to combat cyber crime. 

Looking to manage your cybersecurity with the NIST framework approach? StickmanCyber's NIST Cybersecurity Framework services deploy a 5-step methodology to bring you a proactive, broad-scale and customised approach to managing cyber risk.

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