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NIST releases Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework

The US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released its Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework to help critical infrastructure owners and operators reduce cybersecurity risks in industries such as power generation, transportation and telecommunications.

In the coming days, NIST will open a 45-day public comment period on the Preliminary Framework and plans to release the official framework in February 2014, as called for in Executive Order 13636—Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.

In February 2013, President Obama directed NIST to work with stakeholders to develop a voluntary framework for reducing cyber risks, recognizing that US national and economic security depends on the reliable functioning of critical infrastructure. Through a request for information and a series of workshops held throughout 2013, NIST engaged with more than 3,000 individuals and organizations on standards, best practices and guidelines that can provide businesses, their suppliers, their customers and government agencies with a shared set of expected protections for critical information and IT infrastructure.

The Preliminary Framework outlines a set of steps that can be customized to various sectors and adapted by both large and small organizations while providing a consistent approach to cybersecurity. It offers a common language and mechanism for organizations to determine and describe their current cybersecurity posture, as well as their target state for cybersecurity. The framework will help them to identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement within the context of risk management and to assess progress toward their goals.

NIST will hold a workshop to discuss the Preliminary Framework on Nov. 14 and 15, 2013, at North Carolina State University. Visit http://www.nist.gov/itl/csd/5th-cybersecurity-framework-workshop-november-14-15-2013.cfm for more information and to register. The Preliminary Framework can be found at http://www.nist.gov/itl/cyberframework.cfm and an announcement of the opening of the official comment period will run in the Federal Register.

•Date: 23rd October 2013 • US •Type: Article • Topic: Critical infrastructure protection

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