Feds Ask for Your Cyber ‘Best Practices’

By Roy Maurer Mar 8, 2013

The federal government is seeking your ideas to combat cyberthreats.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a request for information in the Feb. 26, 2013, Federal Register asking for comments to help develop a set of voluntary standards that would be a first step in creating a national cybersecurity framework.

The framework will consist of standards, methodologies, procedures and processes that align policy, business and technological approaches to address cyber risks, the announcement said.

The request for information, which President Barack Obama called for in his Feb. 12, 2013, executive order on cybersecurity, seeks input from critical infrastructure operators, including industries such as utilities, telecommunications, transportation, health care and financial institutions; federal, state and local government agencies; standards-setting organizations; and other interested parties.

The framework will not dictate one-size-fits-all solutions; rather, it will provide guidance that is technology-neutral that recognizes the different needs and challenges within and among critical infrastructure sectors, NIST said.

In specific questions within the request for information, NIST solicits information about how organizations assess risk; how cybersecurity factors into that risk assessment; the current usage of existing cybersecurity frameworks, standards and guidelines; and other management practices related to cybersecurity.

NIST said it will engage with critical infrastructure stakeholders, through a voluntary consensus-based process, to develop the standards, guidelines and best practices that will make up the framework. This will include holding interactive workshops with industry and academia and doing other forms of outreach.

Comments are due by 5 p.m. ET on April 8, 2013, and should be e-mailed to cyberframework@nist.gov with the subject line: “Developing a Framework to Improve Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him on Twitter @SHRMRoy.

Related Articles:

Dueling Cybersecurity Proposals Center Around Standards, Threat Sharing, SHRM Online Safety & Security, February 2013

Cybersecurity Bill Dies, Executive Order on the Way?, SHRM Online Safety & Security, November 2012

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