Top Tools for NIST Framework Compliance

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Top Tools for NIST Framework Compliance

Battling the bogeymen of cybercrime is an ongoing effort for every organization. It requires lasting vigilance and exceptional attention to detail to maintain defenses against a sea of enemies looking to exploit every chink in the armor to penetrate corporate networks and do some very bad things.

SMBs are particularly susceptible to cybercrime because of their limited resources and more casual approach to security. While a vast enterprise might make for a more lucrative score, cybercriminals are happy to feast upon the low-hanging fruit of smaller, more weakly protected firms and “make it up in volume.”

Further complicating things for SMBs is the sheer variety of attacks cybercriminals have at their disposal. Their arsenal of attack options includes everything from password leaks to malware to ransomworms to advanced persistent threats and footholds.

A framework for addressing cybersecurity

With so many potential paths for the bad guys to break in and cause havoc, organizations must approach cybersecurity as a holistic exercise and not just a patchwork collection of point solutions against specific threats. To ensure companies are adequately assessing and addressing their comprehensive security needs, National Institute of Standards and Technology developed the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.

The five key phases of the framework are:

  • Identifying risks
  • Protecting systems and networks
  • Detecting cybersecurity events
  • Responding to cybersecurity events
  • Recovering from cybersecurity events

For many of these phases, there are corresponding tools that can simplify and automate the steps required to adhere to the framework. Relying on these solutions greatly decreases the chances of a cybersecurity event – and mitigates the related harm firms might suffer as a result of one – as counting on human-driven prevention opens up too many possibilities for lapses, mistakes and oversights.


The objective of this step is identifying what information is stored and used, assessing its value, and building out an inventory. With this in hand, companies can understand their vulnerabilities to potential threats and create policies and procedures to ensure information security.

Network Detective can address these needs by conducting automated data collection and then generating reports on risks, assets and configuration. It also features a personal data scanner, as well as internal and external vulnerability detection.

The detailed reports give a top-down view of everything in the network, including the ability to export information about those assets to other tools. It calls out specific vulnerabilities that can be examined during business reviews along with data breach liability reports.


Phishing is a common point of entry for cybercriminals looking to penetrate a corporate network and gain access to valuable data. All it takes is a careless click of a link to turn an innocent email into the start of a crisis.

BullPhish ID from ID Agent helps organizations prevent employees from falling victim to phishing scams by simulating phishing attacks. These tests help gauge how susceptible each individual is to clicking through on suspect emails and entering credentials on fake web fronts.

This is a powerful assessment of an organization’s readiness and an effective education tool. Follow up video training and reporting gives organizations another line of defense against falling prey to these scams.


The next phase is dedicated to spotting problems within the network. Even though these bad elements have gotten through the gates, there’s still an opportunity to sniff them out and minimize the damage.

Cyber Hawk helps address this phase by showing companies what they don’t know if happening within their own networks. It’s on the lookout for a variety of suspicious behaviors, including employees accessing inappropriate systems, after-hours logins, unusual granting of administrative rights, and employees running software that creates vulnerabilities. It also scans the network for credit card information, social security numbers of other personal information being stored on end-user systems, along with malware.  

By providing an ongoing scanning, detection and alerting service, violations of security policies and unusual or unauthorized behaviors get flagged immediately so companies can take action. Cyber Hawk also helps organizations create and enforce security policies that restrict access, control user management and ensure patches and security updates are promptly applied.

Dark Web ID from ID Agent takes a different approach, scanning the Dark Web for information that shouldn’t be there. By monitoring identities and searching for compromised credentials, organizations can be alerted as soon as possible that there’s been a breach and take action to address it.


After putting out the fires started by malicious attackers laying siege to an organizations networks and systems, it’s essential to get the business back on its feet and restore operations as quickly as possible. This is where backup and recovery solutions can literally save the day.

Solutions like Unitrends Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery as a Service ensure business continuity by frequently backing up critical information and enabling speedy restoration to stand up systems again after an event causes a disruption. Automation is a must for backup and disaster recovery activities, as there’s no telling when an event could occur.

And, if businesses were smart enough to protect themselves with cyber risk insurance, ensuring they can successfully complete their claims requires an extensive amount of documentation. To prove that all possible steps were taken to adopt best practices and defend networks and systems from common cyberthreats, companies need a “paper trail” highlighting what was done when to guard against attacks.

Compliance Manager helps clients accurately complete their cyber risk insurance applications – where the devil is in the details – and then automates the entire compliance process. The generated reports provide sufficient documentation to ensure claims get paid instead of denied on a technicality or missed provision.

Gear up for the game

The NIST framework is a fantastic playbook for MSPs to follow. It creates a comprehensive and consistent approach to cybersecurity and, with its government pedigree, serves as an independent level set on best practices and scope.

Covering all of those bases is a big ask for MSPs, who have more than just cybersecurity to worry about. But with tools like these at their disposal, MSPs can develop automated, programmatic solutions to safeguard their clients and increase the value of each relationship.