On April 17th, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”), a component of the U.S. Commerce Department, released Version 1.1 of the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (“Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1”), which incorporates feedback from NIST-led workshops, public comments, and questions received by NIST team members over the last two years.

The Cybersecurity Framework development process was initiated by President Barak Obama’s Executive Order 13636, released on February 12th 2013. In the Executive Order, NIST was tasked with the development of a framework that would introduce efforts for sharing cybersecurity threat information and creating a set of current and successful approaches that would reduce cybersecurity risks to critical infrastructure. The original Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.0 was released on February 12, 2014 providing a systematic methodology for managing cybersecurity risk. It was intended to compliment, not replace, an organization’s cybersecurity and risk management program providing frameworks for industries vital to national and economic security including energy, communications, banking and defense. Nonetheless, it has since demonstrated that it is adaptable for both small and large businesses across all industries.

Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1 has evolved with the changes in cyber threats, technologies, and industries since the release of Version 1.0 in 2014. “The release of the Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1 is a significant advance that truly reflects the success of the public-private model for addressing cybersecurity challenges,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan. Moreover, Matt Barrett, Program Manager for the Cybersecurity Framework, emphasized that in the updated version “We’re looking forward to reaching more industries, supporting federal agencies, and especially helping more small businesses across the U.S. benefit from the framework”.

A Factsheet for the Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1 provided by NIST indicates several key points:

  • Refined for clarity, it’s fully compatible with Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.0 and remains flexible, voluntary, and cost-effective;
  • Declares applicability for “technology,” which is minimally composed of Information Technology, operational technology, cyber-physical systems, and Internet of Things;
  • Clarifies utility as a structure and language for organizing and expressing compliance with an organization’s own cybersecurity requirements;
  • Enhances guidance for applying the Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1 to supply chain risk management;
  • Summarizes the relevance and utility of Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1’s measurement for organizational self-assessment;
  • Better accounts for authorization, authentication, and identity proofing.

“This update refines, clarifies and enhances Version 1.0,” said Barrett. “It is still flexible [enough] to meet an individual organization’s business or mission needs and applies to a wide range of technology environments such as information technology, industrial control systems and the Internet of Things.”

In the coming months, NIST anticipates release of the Roadmap for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Version 1.1, a companion document to the Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1 which will identify key areas of development, alignment and collaboration. In addition, NIST will host a public webcast on April 27, 2018 at 1p.m., EST to discuss updates to the Cybersecurity Framework, and plans to hold a Cybersecurity Risk Management Conference in November 2018. This set of NIST cybersecurity resources is flexible and user-friendly, and can benefit small and large businesses across a broad range of industries in their approach to cybersecurity and risk management policies and procedures.