NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0: A Comprehensive Approach

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the public draft of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) 2.0, representing a substantial update to the original CSF published in 2014. With the continually evolving and increasingly perilous cybersecurity landscape, the CSF 2.0 draft offers enterprises a flexible and comprehensive approach to managing cybersecurity risks. NIST is actively seeking feedback on this draft, and the final version of CSF 2.0 is anticipated to be published in early 2024. This article explores the key elements of the CSF 2.0 draft, emphasizing the importance of governance and its expected impact on cybersecurity practices.

The Evolving Cybersecurity Landscape

The CSF 2.0 draft is a response to the ever-changing and escalating cybersecurity threats faced by organizations. Its primary objective is to provide enterprises with a versatile framework that enables them to manage cybersecurity risks effectively. This update aims to adapt to the evolving threat landscape, and it encourages organizations to take a more comprehensive approach to cybersecurity, emphasizing leadership involvement.

The Core Functions of CSF 2.0

The CSF 2.0 is built on six core functions, with a significant addition being the new “Govern” function. These functions are as follows:

  • Identify: This function focuses on developing an organizational understanding to manage cybersecurity risks related to systems, assets, data, and capabilities.
  • Protect: This function entails developing and implementing appropriate safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical infrastructure services.
  • Detect: This function revolves around developing and implementing activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event.
  • Respond: This function involves developing and implementing activities to take action in response to a detected cybersecurity event.
  • Recover: This function centers on developing and implementing activities to maintain plans for resilience and to restore any capabilities or services impaired due to a cybersecurity event.
  • Govern: The new “Govern” function underscores the importance of governance in managing cybersecurity risk.

The Significance of the “Govern” Function

The “Govern” function introduces a framework for developing and implementing a cybersecurity governance program within enterprises. Governance comprises the rules, policies, and processes used to make decisions and manage operations within an organization. This function emphasizes the prioritization of cybersecurity and the effective management of cybersecurity risks.

“Govern” offers a set of activities that enterprises can employ to enhance their cybersecurity governance, including the development of a strategy aligned with the organization’s overall business strategy, the establishment of a dedicated cybersecurity risk management program, the implementation and maintenance of controls, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

Moreover, the “Govern” function enables enterprises to measure and enhance their cybersecurity governance maturity. The framework incorporates guidelines to assess the current maturity level and identify areas for improvement, fostering the adoption of a comprehensive framework with leadership buy-in and continuous management.

Notable Updates in CSF 2.0

Besides the addition of the “Govern” function, the CSF 2.0 draft introduces other significant updates:

  • Increased Flexibility: The CSF 2.0 offers enterprises more flexibility in the implementation of the framework, allowing them to focus on specific functions or categories that align with their unique needs.
  • Expanded Scope: The CSF 2.0 is no longer confined to critical infrastructure enterprises and can be utilized by organizations of all sizes and across various industries.
  • Improved Guidance: The CSF 2.0 provides enhanced guidance based on best practices and lessons learned from the cybersecurity community, making it a valuable tool for a wide range of enterprises.

The Role of AI in Cybersecurity

The draft CSF 2.0 recognizes the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in enhancing cybersecurity practices. It provides guidance on how enterprises can leverage AI to manage cybersecurity risks effectively, including:

  • Identifying and assessing cybersecurity risks.
  • Detecting and responding to cybersecurity incidents.
  • Improving the effectiveness of cybersecurity controls.

The guidance emphasizes the responsible and ethical use of AI in cybersecurity and suggests the development of policies and procedures for AI use, along with monitoring and evaluation to ensure alignment with an organization’s values and ethical principles.

The Expected Impact of CSF 2.0

The CSF 2.0 is expected to bring about several notable changes in cybersecurity practices. It will encourage organizations to expand the maturity of their governance models, update risk assessments to consider supply chains, and adopt a more comprehensive framework with leadership support.

The increased flexibility and inclusivity of the CSF 2.0 will enable organizations of all sizes and sectors to better organize and manage cybersecurity risks. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that the high-level nature of the framework means that each organization’s implementation will be unique, tailored to their specific risks, vulnerabilities, and risk tolerance.


The NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0 represents a significant step in the ongoing battle against evolving cybersecurity threats. By emphasizing governance and flexibility, it empowers organizations to proactively manage their cybersecurity risks, improve their cybersecurity posture, reduce the risk of cyberattacks, enhance compliance with regulations, cut costs, and bolster customer confidence. This comprehensive framework is poised to benefit a wide range of enterprises, from small businesses to large corporations and government agencies, providing a valuable tool to protect against cybersecurity threats in an ever-changing digital landscape.

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