The NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act introduced by U.S. Rep. Dan Webster in March 2017 was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Tuesday to help small businesses effectively manage cybersecurity.

The law directs NIST and other federal agencies to “disseminate clear and concise guidance to help small business identify, assess, manage, and reduce their cybersecurity risks.” The guidance is based on the existing NIST Cybersecurity Framework and its implementation is voluntary by small businesses.

The NIST guidance and resources to be provided must be generally applicable to a wide range of small businesses, vary with the nature and size of the business and the nature and sensitivity of data, be technology neutral, based on international standards, and promote cybersecurity awareness and workplace cybersecurity culture.  

While larger enterprises have the resources to protect against today’s evolving cyber threats, small businesses do not, often times not equipped with the IT resources or personnel needed to protect their networks. This reason alone makes these companies a prime target for attackers.

Small organizations lacking basic security measures are a major target for business email compromise (BEC) and ransomware attacks, posing a threat to the entire infrastructure.  This coupled with the fact that smaller businesses suffer more from a successful cyber attack than their larger counterparts should urge small businesses to adopt the latest NIST resources.

Small businesses account for more than half of all U.S. jobs, so it’s imperative to the U.S. economy and its citizens’ security that these businesses secure their data. These new NIST resources will create a set of security best practices measures that are easy to follow and affordable to implement within an smaller organization, while also the essential security best practices in work training and work culture. 

Small businesses and even larger organizations struggle to comply with the existing NIST Security Framework. The security requirements are very mature and describe over 800 controls across 18 security categories, leaving many confused about where to start. NNT Change Tracker uses a continuous monitoring approach to provide integrity verification in real-time, providing audit trail evidence and alerts in line with the NIST Security Framework. Our solutions place emphasis on Configuration Management Policy and Procedures and Information Integrity where: 

  • Unauthorized changes to software, firmware, and information can occur due to errors or malicious activity (e.g., tampering). Software includes, for example, operating systems (with key internal components such as kernels, drivers), middleware, and applications.
  • State-of-the-art integrity-checking mechanisms (e.g., parity checks, cyclical redundancy checks, cryptographic hashes) and associated tools can automatically monitor the integrity of information systems and hosted applications.
  • The organization employs automated mechanisms to maintain an up-to-date, complete, accurate and readily available baseline configuration of the information system.

 

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