Does Your Access Management Strategy Align with NIST 2.0?

Earlier this year, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released Version 2.0 of its benchmark Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). NIST 2.0 provides critical updates to the guidepost document, addressing cyber threats that have emerged since its original publication in 2014. 

Notable changes include: 

  • The addition of a new core function, “Govern,” which focuses on the development of risk management strategies, expectations, and policies.
  • A focus on identity access management (IAM) as a strategic imperative to prevent data breaches and protect digital identities.
  • Expansion of scope to include all organizations rather than focusing primarily on critical infrastructure only
  • New guidelines for emerging threats such as identity-based threats, cloud security, and threats associated with AI.
  • Advocacy for a culture of continuous improvement that includes regular cybersecurity reviews and updates to address emerging threats.

As the first update since 2014, NIST 2.0 delivers key guidance for organizations seeking to safeguard their data, proprietary information, and intellectual property. 

The Role of Access Management for NIST 2.0 

According to a report from IBM, the number of cyberattacks that used stolen credentials rose by 71% in 2023. Because so many of today’s attacks use valid user credentials, cybersecurity strategies need a renewed focus on preventing unauthorized access. 

NIST 2.0 seeks to help organizations address this urgent problem with systematic controls designed to keep unauthorized users out. The “Protect” section of the framework addresses privileged access management, underscoring the significant risks posed by unauthorized privileged access. Recommendations include:

  • Limited Access – Rather than handing out admin access to users, a better practice is to limit access based on the context of interactions. Users gain access when they need it, but don’t have standing admin privileges.
  • Least Privilege – The principle of least privilege means that users receive the least amount of privilege needed to perform their work. NIST 2.0 recommends least privilege as a standard cybersecurity measure.
  • Technology Protections – Technology tools and resources play a vital role in locking down your system. Implementing the right tools and updating security architecture can offer dependable protection for network environments.
  • Access Policies – If you haven’t done so already, define access permissions, entitlements, and authorizations in stated policy. This not only provides documentation in the event of a breach, but also serves as a reference point for employees.
  • Employee Training – Provide employee training around cybersecurity risks and best practices. This includes understanding safe password practices, how to identify phishing attempts, and what to do if your credentials are stolen.

How PAM Supports NIST 2.0 Guidelines

One of the most important ways you can address the recommendations above is to implement privileged access management (PAM). PAM tools automate best practices like least privilege and limited access, simplifying the prevention of stolen credentials and unauthorized credential sharing. PAM protects your network by:

  • Removing Local Admin Rights – PAM tools remove local admin rights from all user accounts so they can’t be exploited by an attacker. Instead, the tool grants access on an as-needed basis based on rules that you define ahead of time.
  • Ensuring Just-in-Time Access – Just-in-time access means that access is granted only when the user needs it. If access is needed outside of your predefined rules, users can submit an in-the-moment request. IT staff can respond to these requests in real-time with the click of a button – no more waiting hours or days for a ticket to be processed.
  • Implementing Zero-Trust Principles – NIST recommends integrating zero-trust principles into your cybersecurity strategy. This means that all users must be authenticated and verified before receiving access. PAM plays an integral role in zero-trust strategy by enforcing least privilege, removing standing privileges, automating access requests, and preventing privilege escalation attacks. 

Protect Your Network Environment with CyberFOX

The expanded scope of NIST 2.0 is good news for organizations seeking to update their cybersecurity protocols. The clearly stated guidelines provide strategic direction to address emerging threats, especially in the area of identity access management. 

If you’re looking for the right tools to help you implement the suggested protections, we can help! CyberFOX Privileged Access Management and Password Management solutions put you in the driver’s seat with tools that keep your data safe without frustrating users. Contact us today to schedule a demo