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How Concentric AI works to complement the NIST CSF

June 13, 2023
Cyrus Tehrani
4 min read

What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework? What you need to know

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a voluntary guide based on existing standards, guidelines, and practices to help organizations manage and reduce cybersecurity risk. It is designed to foster risk management and communication among both internal and external stakeholders.

Of the many cyber frameworks that exist to provide security guidelines for organizations, the NIST CSF is likely the most popular program. The framework outlines specific actions your organization can take to get started with strategy.

Based on existing standards, guidelines and best practices, the NIST CSF provides guidance for identifying, detecting and responding to cyberattacks. In fact, it’s a requirement for all federal agencies. With the NIST CSF as a blueprint, cybersecurity communication across the board—internal and external stakeholders, vendors and business partners—is bolstered.

The Framework is organized into five key functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.

Here is a brief summary of each function:

Identify: This function involves understanding the organization’s cybersecurity risk to systems, assets, data, and capabilities. This includes identifying critical enterprise processes and assets, documenting information flows, maintaining hardware and software inventory, establishing cybersecurity policies with clear roles and responsibilities, and identifying threats, vulnerabilities, and risk to assets.

Protect: This function involves developing and implementing safeguards to ensure delivery of critical services. This includes managing access to assets and information, protecting sensitive data, conducting regular backups, securely protecting devices, and managing device vulnerabilities.

Detect: This function involves developing and implementing activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event. This includes training users, testing and updating detection processes, maintaining and monitoring logs, and understanding the expected data flows for the organization.

Respond: This function involves developing and implementing activities to take action regarding a detected cybersecurity event. This includes understanding the impact of cybersecurity events, ensuring response plans are tested and updated, and coordinating with internal and external stakeholders.

Recover: This function involves maintaining plans for resilience and to restore any capabilities or services that were impaired due to a cybersecurity event. This includes communicating with internal and external stakeholders, ensuring recovery plans are updated, and managing public relations and company reputation.

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is designed to be flexible and adaptable to an organization’s unique needs and risk environment. It can be used to help organizations better integrate and align cybersecurity risk management with broader enterprise risk management processes.

How Concentric AI can help you align with NIST standards

Here’s how, using each step of the NIST CSF, Concentric can help you identify, reduce and remediate risk.

Step 1: Identify

Concentric can identify all your sensitive cloud data, wherever it is stored, structured or unstructured. From intellectual property to financial to PII/PCI/PHI, Concentric enables you to identify your data without burdening security teams to craft rules or complex policies. Concentric also answers questions such as “Where is my business-critical content?” and “Is my sensitive data being shared only with those who are authorized to see it?”

These capabilities are in line with the “Identify” step, which involves understanding the organization’s cybersecurity risk to systems, assets, data, and capabilities.

Step 2: Protect

Concentric establishes what data is being shared with whom – whether it’s internal users/groups or external 3rd parties. It also tracks data lineage as it moves across the environment. Our solution also helps you maintain better access controls while minimizing data loss, giving employees access to relevant data that explicitly applies to their role.

Concentric enables you to meet regulatory and security mandates, demonstrate control to auditors, and implement zero–trust access practices.

This aligns with the “Protect” function, which involves developing and implementing appropriate safeguards to ensure delivery of critical services.

Step 3: Detect

Concentric identifies where the data may be at risk — typically sensitive data that is not being shared in accordance with corporate security guidelines and where access or activity violations are happening quickly. Our solution helps you discover and remediate risk without writing a single rule. It identifies data that may be at risk from inappropriate classification, permissions, entitlements, and sharing.

Leveraging advanced deep learning technology, we compare each data element against baseline security practices used by similar datasets.

This aligns with the “Detect” function, which involves developing and implementing appropriate activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event.

Step 4: Respond

Concentric remediates issues as they are happening, such as fixing access control issues and permissions or disabling third-party data sharing for a sensitive file that should not be shared. Our solution can compare semantically similar data for classification mismatches, end-user errors or malicious insiders, identify anomalies, and easily remediate these issues.

Essentially, Concentric remediates potential threats before they become serious problems. Plus, your SOC analysts get actionable insights.

This aligns with the “Respond” function, which involves developing and implementing appropriate activities to take action regarding a detected cybersecurity event.

Step 5: Recover

Concentric’s remediation capabilities contribute well to the “Recover” function of the NIST CSF, which involves maintaining plans for resilience and to restore any capabilities or services that were impaired due to a cybersecurity event.

Concentric helps your organization align with the NIST CSF framework by providing capabilities that help organizations identify, protect, detect, and respond to cybersecurity risks and events. Plus, our autonomous remediation functions contribute well to helping you recover from a cybersecurity incident.

Easy to deploy without using rules or regex

The best part for your organization is that Concentric AI can reduce risk and protect your sensitive data all without upfront policies, rules or regex. Deploying the solution won’t require large teams to operationalize.

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