NIST releases draft outline of cybersecurity framework for critical infrastructure

July 3, 2013, National Institute of Standards and Technology

As part of its efforts to develop a voluntary framework to improve cybersecurity in the nation's critical infrastructure, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has posted a draft outline of the document to invite public review and gather comments.

The Executive Order calling for NIST to develop the directs the agency to collaborate with the public and private sectors. The draft outline reflects input received in response to a February 2013 Request for Information, discussions at two workshops and other forms of stakeholder engagement.

The outline proposes a core structure for the framework and includes a user's guide and an executive overview that describes the purpose, need and application of the framework in business. Reflecting received comments that emphasized the importance of executive involvement in managing cyber risks, the framework is designed to help business leaders evaluate how prepared their organizations are to deal with and their impacts.

"We are pleased that many private-sector organizations have put significant time and resources into the framework development process," said Adam Sedgewick, senior advisor at NIST. "We believe that both large and small organizations will be able use the final framework to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure by aligning and integrating cybersecurity-related policies and plans, functions and investments into their overall risk management."

NIST also released a draft compendium of informative references composed of existing standards, practices and guidelines to reduce cyber risks to industries. This material was released to foster discussion at upcoming workshops and to further encourage private-sector input before NIST publishes the official draft Cybersecurity Framework for public comment in October 2013.

Interested parties are invited to review the draft framework outline and offer comments before and during the next workshop, July 10-12, 2013, in San Diego. Direct comments should be forwarded to cyberframework@nist.gov. The draft outline and other documents related to the Cybersecurity Framework are available at http://www.nist.gov/itl/cyberframework.cfm.

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