How to handle NIST in software development?

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Written by
COO at Inoxoft, former .Net Software Engineer
Pub: Jan 24, 2023Upd: Jan 24, 2023

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides a framework for managing and securing information systems, known as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). It can be used by software development teams to ensure that their systems are secure and compliant with industry standards.

When handling NIST in software development, it is important to understand the five core functions of the CSF:

  • identify
  • protect
  • detect
  • respond
  • recover

These functions provide a comprehensive approach to managing cyber risks, and each function has a set of associated tasks and objectives that must be met in order to be compliant with NIST standards.

Identification

This function involves understanding the system and its environment, including the assets, vulnerabilities, and threats that need to be protected. This includes identifying the data and systems that need to be protected, as well as the users and processes that interact with them.

Protection

The protect function involves implementing controls and safeguards to prevent unauthorized access or modification of the system. This includes implementing access controls, encryption, and firewalls to protect the system from external threats, as well as implementing procedures for handling and storing sensitive data.

Detection

The detection function involves monitoring the system for signs of unauthorized access or modification and responding quickly to any incidents that are detected. This includes implementing intrusion detection and response systems, as well as monitoring logs and other data sources for signs of suspicious activity.

Responce 

The response function involves taking action in response to an incident, including containing the incident, investigating its cause, and taking steps to prevent it from happening again. This includes implementing incident response plans and procedures, as well as communicating with relevant stakeholders.

Recovery

The recovery function involves restoring the system to normal operations after an incident, including restoring data, systems, and processes, as well as implementing measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

To handle NIST in software development, teams should consider implementing a software development life cycle (SDLC) that includes security considerations throughout the process. This includes incorporating security requirements into the requirements gathering phase, implementing security controls during the design phase, and testing for security vulnerabilities during the testing phase. Additionally, teams should consider implementing a regular security assessment and penetration testing program to identify and remediate any vulnerabilities in the system.

In addition to implementing the CSF, software development teams should also consider other NIST standards, such as the NIST Special Publication 800-53, which provides a detailed list of security controls for federal information systems. This includes controls for access control, incident response, and security management.

Overall, handling NIST in software development requires a comprehensive approach that includes understanding the CSF and other NIST standards, implementing security throughout the software development life cycle, and regularly assessing and testing the system for vulnerabilities. By following these best practices, software development teams can ensure that their systems are secure and compliant with industry standards.

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