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Cybersecurity Framework Roles and Responsibilities


Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and Responsibilities


NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a set of guidelines for mitigating organizational cybersecurity risks, published by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) based on existing standards, guidelines, and practices.










Explanation of RASCI roles:

  • Responsible (R): The entity who is responsible for completing the task.

  • Accountable (A): The entity who is ultimately accountable for the task's success and ensures it is completed properly.

  • Supportive (S): The entity who provides support and assistance to the responsible person.

  • Consulted (C): The entity who must be consulted for input and expertise during the task.

  • Informed (I): The entity who needs to be kept informed about the task's progress and outcome.

In this RASCI table, we have listed the NIST CSF functions (Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover) across the top and all the entities responsible for each function down the side. Each cell in the table indicates the level of involvement and responsibility for each entity in the corresponding NIST CSF function.

For example, in the "Protect" function, the "IT Director/CIO" and the "IT Security/Cybersecurity Team" are responsible (R) for implementing protective measures, while "Senior Management" is accountable (A) for ensuring the success of the "Protect" function. The "Compliance Officer" is consulted (C) for expertise related to compliance requirements during the "Protect" function, and all other entities are informed (I) about its progress and outcome.

Please note that the level of responsibility and involvement for each entity may vary based on the organization's structure and practices. The RASCI table helps clarify the roles and responsibilities of each entity in the context of NIST CSF functions.


 

Identify

"Develop the organizational understanding to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, assets, data, and capabilities."

Asset Management (ID.AM): The data, personnel, devices, systems, and facilities that enable the organization to achieve business purposes are identified and managed consistent with their relative importance to business objectives and the organization's risk strategy.

Business Environment (ID.BE): The organization's mission, objectives, stakeholders, and activities are understood and prioritized; this information is used to inform cybersecurity roles, responsibilities, and risk management decisions.

Governance (ID.GV):- The policies, procedures, and processes to manage and monitor the organization's regulatory, legal, risk, environmental, and operational requirements are understood and inform the management of cybersecurity risk.

Risk Assessment (ID.RA): The organization understands the cybersecurity risk to organizational operations (including mission, functions, image, or reputation), organizational assets, and individuals.

Risk Management Strategy (ID.RM): The organization's priorities, constraints, risk tolerances, and assumptions are established and used to support operational risk decisions.

Supply Chain Risk Management (ID.SC): The organization's priorities, constraints, risk tolerances, and assumptions are established and used to support risk decisions associated with managing supply chain risk. The organization has in place the processes to identify, assess and manage supply chain risks.


Identify Responsibilities

In the NIST CSF (National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework), the responsibility for "Identify" falls primarily on the organization's management and governance structures. The "Identify" function involves understanding and managing cybersecurity risks to achieve business objectives effectively. It is the foundation of the NIST CSF and provides the context for the framework's other functions (Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover). The key entities responsible for the "Identify" function are:

  1. Senior Management: Senior management, including executive leadership and the board of directors, is ultimately responsible for identifying and prioritizing cybersecurity risks. They must ensure that cybersecurity is integrated into the organization's overall risk management processes and that adequate resources are allocated to address cybersecurity concerns.

  2. Risk Management Team: The risk management team, which may include risk officers, risk analysts, and compliance officers, plays a crucial role in identifying cybersecurity risks and assessing their potential impact on the organization. They work closely with other stakeholders to understand the organization's risk tolerance and develop risk management strategies.

  3. IT Director/Chief Information Officer (CIO): The IT Director or CIO is responsible for identifying technology-related risks and ensuring that cybersecurity considerations are integrated into the organization's IT infrastructure and systems.

  4. Compliance Officer: The compliance officer is responsible for identifying cybersecurity risks related to regulatory and legal requirements, ensuring that the organization complies with relevant cybersecurity standards and regulations.

  5. Security and Privacy Teams: Teams responsible for cybersecurity and privacy initiatives within the organization are instrumental in identifying specific risks and vulnerabilities in the IT environment.

  6. Business Unit Owners: Business unit owners and managers play a vital role in identifying risks that are unique to their respective areas of operation. They help contextualize cybersecurity risks in terms of specific business processes and data.

The "Identify" function involves activities such as:

  • Asset Management: Identifying and managing the organization's assets, including hardware, software, data, and personnel, to understand what needs protection.

  • Business Environment Analysis: Understanding the organization's business objectives, the regulatory environment, and industry standards to align cybersecurity efforts with business goals.

  • Governance: Establishing and communicating governance structures and policies to ensure a strong cybersecurity posture.

  • Risk Assessment: Conducting risk assessments to identify and prioritize cybersecurity risks based on their likelihood and potential impact.

  • Risk Mitigation Planning: Developing and implementing risk mitigation plans to address identified cybersecurity risks effectively.

  • Supply Chain Risk Management: Identifying cybersecurity risks associated with third-party vendors and supply chain partners.

By having dedicated stakeholders responsible for the "Identify" function, organizations can build a strong foundation for effective cybersecurity risk management and align their cybersecurity efforts with their business objectives and overall risk appetite.


 

Protect

"Develop and implement the appropriate safeguards to ensure delivery of critical infrastructure services."


Access Control (PR.AC): Access to assets and associated facilities is limited to authorized users, processes, or devices, and to authorized activities and transactions.

Awareness and Training (PR.AT): The organization's personnel and partners are provided cybersecurity awareness education and are adequately trained to perform their information security-related duties and responsibilities consistent with related policies, procedures, and agreements.

Data Security (PR.DS): Information and records (data) are managed consistent with the organization's risk strategy to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.

Information Protection Processes and Procedures (PR.IP): Security policies (that address purpose, scope, roles, responsibilities, management commitment, and coordination among organizational entities), processes, and procedures are maintained and used to manage protection of information systems and assets.

Maintenance (PR.MA): Maintenance and repairs of industrial control and information system components is performed consistent with policies and procedures.

Protective Technology (PR.PT): Technical security solutions are managed to ensure the security and resilience of systems and assets, consistent with related policies, procedures, and agreements.


Protect Responsibilities

In the NIST CSF (National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework), the responsibility for "Protect" is primarily assigned to the organization's IT security and cybersecurity teams. The "Protect" function involves implementing safeguards and measures to ensure the security, confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical assets and information. The key entities responsible for the "Protect" function are:

  1. IT Security Team: The IT security team, also known as the cybersecurity team, is at the forefront of implementing protective measures and controls. They are responsible for safeguarding the organization's IT infrastructure, networks, systems, and data.

  2. Security Operations Center (SOC): The SOC is responsible for continuous monitoring, threat detection, and incident response. They play a significant role in protecting the organization's assets by detecting and responding to security incidents in real-time.

  3. Information Security Officer (ISO) or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): The ISO or CISO is a senior-level executive responsible for overseeing and coordinating the organization's overall information security efforts, including the implementation of protective measures.

  4. Network Security Team: The network security team is responsible for designing and implementing network security controls, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).

  5. Application Security Team: The application security team is responsible for ensuring the security of software applications used within the organization. They conduct security assessments and implement secure coding practices.

  6. Access Control Administrators: Administrators responsible for managing access controls, including user accounts, privileges, and permissions, to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and systems.

  7. Physical Security Team: The physical security team is responsible for securing the organization's physical assets, facilities, and data centers to prevent unauthorized physical access.

  8. Data Privacy Team: The data privacy team ensures that sensitive and personal information is protected in accordance with relevant privacy regulations and policies.

The "Protect" function involves activities such as:

  • Access Control: Implementing measures to control access to systems, applications, and data, ensuring that only authorized users have appropriate privileges.

  • Data Encryption: Implementing encryption techniques to protect sensitive data at rest and in transit.

  • Security Awareness Training: Conducting training programs to educate employees about cybersecurity best practices and potential risks, fostering a security-conscious culture.

  • Incident Response Planning: Developing incident response plans to handle security incidents effectively and minimize their impact on the organization.

  • Security Patch Management: Ensuring that systems and software are up to date with the latest security patches to mitigate vulnerabilities.

  • Vulnerability Management: Conducting regular vulnerability assessments and addressing identified vulnerabilities promptly.

  • Endpoint Security: Implementing security measures on endpoints (e.g., laptops, Rdesktops, mobile devices) to protect against malware and unauthorized access.

By having dedicated teams responsible for the "Protect" function, organizations can implement a comprehensive set of security controls and measures to defend against cybersecurity threats and maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their critical assets.


 


Detect

"Develop and implement the appropriate activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event."


Anomalies and Events (DE.AE): Anomalous activity is detected in a timely manner and the potential impact of events is understood.

Security Continuous Monitoring (DE.CM): The information system and assets are monitored at discrete intervals to identify cybersecurity events and verify the effectiveness of protective measures.

Detection Processes (DE.DP): Detection processes and procedures are maintained and tested to ensure timely and adequate awareness of anomalous events.


Detect Responsibilities


In the NIST CSF (National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework), the responsibility for "Detection" primarily falls under the IT Security team, which is responsible for actively monitoring the organization's systems, networks, and infrastructure for cybersecurity threats and incidents. The specific role that is responsible for detection may vary depending on the organization's structure and size, but it typically involves the IT Security team, Security Operations Center (SOC), or similar cybersecurity-focused units. The "Detection" function in the NIST CSF involves continuous monitoring, analysis, and identification of potential cybersecurity events and incidents within the organization's IT environment. This includes activities such as:

  1. Security Monitoring: Implementing tools and techniques to monitor network traffic, system logs, and other sources for signs of potential security incidents or anomalies.

  2. Threat Intelligence: Gathering and analyzing threat intelligence to stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats, attack vectors, and vulnerabilities.

  3. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM): Utilizing SIEM solutions to aggregate and analyze log data from various systems, applications, and devices to identify suspicious activities.

  4. Intrusion Detection and Prevention: Deploying intrusion detection and prevention systems to identify and block potential unauthorized access attempts or malicious activities.

  5. Anomaly Detection: Employing machine learning and behavioral analysis to detect unusual patterns or behaviors that may indicate a security incident.

  6. Incident Triage: Investigating and triaging alerts to determine the severity and validity of potential incidents.

  7. Incident Reporting: Reporting confirmed incidents to the Incident Response Team for further investigation and response.

The primary goal of the "Detection" function is to identify cybersecurity incidents in their early stages or even before they occur, allowing the organization to respond proactively and mitigate potential risks. By having a dedicated team responsible for "Detection," organizations can enhance their ability to detect and respond to cybersecurity threats effectively, minimizing the impact of potential breaches and other security incidents.


 


Respond

"Develop and implement the appropriate activities to take action regarding a detected cybersecurity incident."


Response Planning (RS.RP): Response processes and procedures are executed and maintained, to ensure timely response to detected cybersecurity events.

Communications (RS.CO): Response activities are coordinated with internal and external stakeholders, as appropriate, to include external support from law enforcement agencies.

Analysis (RS.AN): Analysis is conducted to ensure adequate response and support recovery activities.

Mitigation (RS.MI): Activities are performed to prevent expansion of an event, mitigate its effects, and eradicate the incident.

Improvements (RS.IM): Organizational response activities are improved by incorporating lessons learned from current and previous detection/response activities.


Respond Responsibilities


In the NIST CSF (National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework), the responsibility for "Respond" is primarily assigned to the Incident Response Team (IRT) or Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CIRT). The "Respond" function involves taking prompt and effective actions in response to detected cybersecurity incidents to mitigate their impact, contain the incident, and restore normal operations. The key entity responsible for the "Respond" function is:

  1. Incident Response Team (IRT) or Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CIRT): The IRT/CIRT is a specialized team responsible for managing and coordinating the organization's response to cybersecurity incidents. This team is often composed of cybersecurity experts, incident handlers, forensic analysts, and other relevant stakeholders.

The "Respond" function involves activities such as:

  • Incident Triage: Promptly assessing and categorizing incidents to determine their severity and potential impact on the organization.

  • Containment: Implementing immediate actions to contain the incident and prevent its further spread or damage.

  • Eradication: Identifying and removing the root cause of the incident to prevent recurrence.

  • Forensic Analysis: Conducting forensic investigations to gather evidence and understand the nature and scope of the incident.

  • Communication: Providing timely and accurate communications to stakeholders, including senior management, IT teams, and affected parties, about the incident and response actions.

  • Coordination: Coordinating with other teams, such as the IT security team, network team, legal team, and communication team, to ensure a cohesive response effort.

  • Reporting: Documenting incident details, response actions, and lessons learned for post-incident analysis and improvement.

  • Recovery: Initiating recovery processes to restore affected systems and services to normal operation.

The Incident Response Team is crucial for managing the organization's response to incidents, effectively containing threats, and minimizing the impact of cybersecurity breaches. Their swift and coordinated actions are essential for mitigating damage, preserving evidence for further investigation, and restoring operations in a timely manner. In addition to the Incident Response Team, other stakeholders, such as the IT security team, network team, legal team, and senior management, may play supporting roles in the "Respond" function by providing expertise, resources, and decision-making support during incident response activities. However, the Incident Response Team is typically the focal point for leading the response effort and coordinating all response activities.


 

Recovery

"Develop and implement the appropriate activities to maintain plans for resilience and to restore any capabilities or services that were impaired due to a cybersecurity incident."


Recovery Planning (RC.RP): Recovery processes and procedures are executed and maintained to ensure timely restoration of systems or assets affected by cybersecurity events.

Improvements (RC.IM): Recovery planning and processes are improved by incorporating lessons learned into future activities.

Communications (RC.CO): Restoration activities are coordinated with internal and external parties, such as coordinating centers, Internet Service Providers, owners of attacking systems, victims, other CSIRTs, and vendors.

Recover Responsibilities

In the NIST CSF (National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework), the responsibility for "Recover" is primarily assigned to the Incident Response Team (IRT) or Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CIRT), the IT department, and the business continuity team. The "Recover" function involves restoring the organization's systems, operations, and data to normal functionality after a cybersecurity incident has been contained and resolved. The key entities responsible for the "Recover" function are:

  1. Incident Response Team (IRT) or Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CIRT): The IRT/CIRT, which is responsible for managing and coordinating the organization's response to cybersecurity incidents, is also involved in the recovery process. After containing and eradicating the incident, they work on restoring systems and services to normal operation.

  2. IT Department: The IT department plays a critical role in the recovery process. IT administrators, system engineers, and network specialists work on repairing and restoring affected systems and services.

  3. Business Continuity Team: The business continuity team is responsible for developing and implementing business continuity plans that outline steps to recover critical business functions after a disruptive event, including cybersecurity incidents.

The "Recover" function involves activities such as:

  • System Restoration: Working to repair and bring affected systems and networks back to normal operation.

  • Data Recovery: Recovering and restoring data that may have been compromised or lost during the incident.

  • Backup Restoration: Utilizing data backups to recover information and systems to a pre-incident state.

  • Testing and Validation: Verifying the integrity and functionality of recovered systems and data.

  • Communication: Providing updates and communications to stakeholders about the recovery progress and estimated recovery time.

  • Business Continuity Execution: Implementing business continuity plans to resume critical business functions and operations.

  • Post-Incident Review: Conducting a post-incident review to analyze the response and recovery efforts, identifying areas for improvement, and incorporating lessons learned into future incident response plans.

The Incident Response Team and the IT department work together to ensure that recovery efforts are efficient and effective. The business continuity team ensures that critical business functions are restored, and the organization can continue its operations without significant disruptions. Additionally, other stakeholders, such as senior management and departmental heads, may be involved in decision-making and providing resources to support the recovery process. Collaboration among all relevant teams is essential to achieve a successful recovery after a cybersecurity incident.







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