The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework is a set of guidelines and best practices for organizations to follow to improve their cybersecurity posture. The framework is divided into five phases: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. Our goal is to help you explore each of these phases in detail and explain how they can help your organization improve its cybersecurity. You can also contact AST Cybersecurity if you would prefer to speak to one of our professionals.  


What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a set of standards and guidelines that businesses can use to ensure they are keeping up with suggested and recommended cybersecurity protocols. The framework is voluntary, but many businesses choose to adopt it because it provides a good starting point for improving cybersecurity. The framework is organized into five phases:

  1. Identify: businesses should identify their assets, risks, and vulnerabilities.
  2. Protect: businesses should put controls in place to protect their assets from cyber threats.
  3. Detect: businesses should have mechanisms in place to detect when a cyberattack has occurred.
  4. Respond: businesses should have a plan for how to respond to a cyberattack.
  5. Recover: businesses should have a plan for how to recover from a cyberattack.



The first phase of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is identify. In this phase, organizations must assess their risks and vulnerabilities to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. They must also identify which assets need protection and which systems and processes are critical to their operations. This information will help them determine the appropriate controls to implement to mitigate their risks.

Organizations should start by conducting a threat assessment to identify potential threats to their systems and data. They should then analyze their current security posture to identify any gaps or weaknesses in their defenses. Once they have a clear understanding of their risks, they can develop a plan to address them. This plan should include the implementation of security controls that are tailored to their specific needs.

AST Cybersecurity Identify Cybersecurity Problems


The protect phase of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework helps organizations defend themselves against cyberattacks. This phase includes developing and implementing security controls to protect information and systems from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. These controls should be based on the results of the risk assessment conducted in the previous phase. They should be designed to detect, prevent, and respond to cyber threats.

Organizations should assess their cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities and implement security controls to mitigate those risks. The security controls chosen should be based on the organization’s risk tolerance and business objectives.

The security controls implemented should be monitored and tested regularly to ensure they are effective in protecting against cyber threats. Organizations should also develop incident response plans to address any security incidents that occur.



The detect phase of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is all about identifying potential cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. Organizations need to have systems and processes in place to proactively detect cybersecurity incidents. They should also have procedures in place for responding to incidents when they occur.

This can be accomplished through a variety of means, such as network intrusion detection systems, security information and event management (SIEM) solutions, and vulnerability scanners. These procedures should be tested regularly to ensure they are effective.

Organizations also need to have the ability to respond quickly to detected incidents. This includes having an incident response plan in place and ensuring that all staff are aware of it. Additionally, organizations should consider investing in security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solutions to help streamline their incident response processes.



The fourth phase of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is respond. In this phase, organizations must have procedures and plans in place for how to respond to a cyberattack. These procedures should be designed to minimize the damage caused by the attack and help the organization recover quickly. They should also include plans for communicating with stakeholders during and after an incident.

To have an effective cybersecurity program, you need to be able to respond to incidents when they occur. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides guidance on how to do this effectively.

The first step is to identify the incident and contain it. This means understanding what happened and preventing it from spreading any further.

Next, you need to eradicate the incident and recover from it. This includes removing any malware or other malicious code that was installed as part of the attack. Once you have done this, you can start rebuilding any systems that were affected by the incident.

Finally, you need to learn from the incident and take steps to prevent it from happening again in the future. This includes updating your security policies and procedures based on what you learned. By following these steps, you can ensure that your organization is better prepared for future incidents.

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The fifth and final phase of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is recover. In this phase, organizations must have plans in place for how to restore their systems and data after a cyberattack. They should also have procedures for communications and stakeholder management during and after an incident.

The recover function helps organizations resume normal operations and services after a cybersecurity incident. This stage includes developing and implementing a plan to maintain systems and data, while also ensuring that security measures are in place to prevent future incidents. The goal of the Recover function is to minimize the impact of an incident and help the organization return to its normal state of operation as quickly as possible.


Contact AST for Help with the Five Phases of NIST Cybersecurity Framework

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides a comprehensive approach to managing cybersecurity risk. By understanding and following the five phases of the framework, organizations can ensure that they are taking the necessary steps to protect their systems and data from cyber threats. If you need help setting up the cybersecurity for your small business, contact AST Cybersecurity today. We look forward to hearing from you!