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Risk Management Framework Update: NIST Publishes SP 800-37 Revision 2

NIST has published an update to its Risk Management Framework specification, in NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-37 Revision 2.

Today, NIST is publishing NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-37 Revision 2, Risk Management Framework for Information Systems and Organizations: A System Life Cycle Approach for Security and Privacy. This update to NIST SP 800-37 develops the next-generation Risk Management Framework (RMF) for information systems, organizations, and individuals, in response to Executive Order 13800, Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure, OMB Circular A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource, OMB Memorandum M-17-25, Reporting Guidance for Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure, and OMB Memorandum M-19-03, Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Agencies by enhancing the High Value Asset Program

This is the first NIST publication to address security and privacy risk management in an integrated, robust, and flexible methodology.

There are seven major objectives for this update:

  1. Provide closer linkage and communication between the risk management processes and activities at the C-suite or governance level of the organization and the individuals, processes, and activities at the system and operational level of the organization;
  2. Institutionalize critical risk management preparatory activities at all risk management levels to facilitate a more effective, efficient, and cost-effective execution of the RMF;
  3. Demonstrate how the NIST Cybersecurity Framework can be aligned with the RMF and implemented using established NIST risk management processes;
  4. Integrate privacy risk management processes into the RMF to better support the privacy protection needs for which privacy programs are responsible;
  5. Promote the development of trustworthy secure software and systems by aligning life cycle-based systems engineering processes in NIST SP 800-160 Volume 1, with the relevant tasks in the RMF;
  6. Integrate security-related, supply chain risk management (SCRM) concepts into the RMF to address untrustworthy suppliers, insertion of counterfeits, tampering, unauthorized production, theft, insertion of malicious code, and poor manufacturing and development practices throughout the SDLC; and
  7. Allow for an organization-generated control selection approach to complement the traditional baseline control selection approach and support the use of the consolidated control catalog in NIST SP 800-53 Revision 5.

The addition of the Prepare step is one of the key changes to the RMF—incorporated to achieve more effective, efficient, and cost-effective security and privacy risk management processes. The primary objectives for institutionalizing organization-level and system-level preparation are:

  • To facilitate effective communication between senior leaders and executives at the organization and mission/business process levels and system owners at the operational level;
  • To facilitate organization-wide identification of common controls and the development of organizationally-tailored control baselines, reducing the workload on individual system owners and the cost of system development and asset protection;
  • To reduce the complexity of the information technology (IT) and operations technology (OT) infrastructure using Enterprise Architecture concepts and models to consolidate, optimize, and standardize organizational systems, applications, and services;
  • To reduce the complexity of systems by eliminating unnecessary functions and security and privacy capabilities that do not address security and privacy risk; and
  • To identify, prioritize, and focus resources on the organization’s high value assets (HVA) that require increased levels of protection—taking measures commensurate with the risk to such assets.

By achieving the above objectives, organizations can simplify RMF execution, employ innovative approaches for managing risk, and increase the level of automation when carrying out specific tasks.

Released December 20, 2018, Updated February 5, 2019