Why IT and Security Standards Are Important For All Small Business
If you are starting a small business for the first time, then you may not yet be aware of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and what the different standards mean for you and your small business. Many entrepreneurs mistakenly think of NIST as an agency that strictly observes the manufacturing industry and the impact that large, established businesses have on the United States. NIST is a federal agency intended to advance science and technology, and more specifically for small business, “NIST develops cybersecurity standards, guidelines, best practices, and other resources to meet the needs of U.S. industry, federal agencies and the broader public.” NIST standards can actually offer many benefits to small businesses, and there are many reasons why the NIST standards are so important.
What Is The NIST?
The NIST is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce, and the NIST standards provide excellent resources that U.S. businesses can follow in order to improve their security and advance their research and technology. By following the NIST standards, you can ensure you are keeping your business as secure as it could possibly be.
The NIST standards can help you learn to protect your information systems from being exposed by hackers. In a sense, you can imagine the NIST standards for your small business as guidelines that are similar to the building standards which keep your physical home safe and up to code. For the same reasons that you should opt to live in a home that is up to code for your physical health and safety, you should always strive to follow NIST standards so that you can provide your customers with a safe experience while they work with you.
Where Can I Find The NIST Standards?
The NIST is responsible for supplying the United States with over 1,300 standard reference materials that can be used to improve the security of a wide range of businesses. Additionally, the NIST is also a measurement standards laboratory that works to ensure all numbers and measurements remain consistent across the country.
All the NIST standards are available to the public for free on the NIST website.
What Is The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF)?
The NIST CSF was developed in collaboration with industry and provides basic guidance for managing cybersecurity risk. The NIST standards can improve the physical and cybersecurity of your company. No matter who you are, there is always a risk of a data breach or a cyber attack on you, your employees, and your company that could result in some private data, such as names, addresses, and phone numbers, being exposed to hackers or deleted from your records. Data breaches can lead to public embarrassment, monetary or stock market loss, or negative reputation within your community. For obvious reasons, your customer base is more likely to trust you with their private data if you have a strong cybersecurity process in place to protect it.
What Can The NIST Offer Small Businesses?
The Small Business Cybersecurity Corner is made specifically for small businesses, and these resources are full of tips that can protect you and your business while you take your early steps into highly competitive industries. Review these tips for information on how to handle:
As a small business owner, we also suggest that you read up on “Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Cyber Risks” to ensure your business is following NIST standards as much as possible. When your small business adheres to the NIST standards, you are much better prepared to manage your customer security and protect them, your employees, your data, and the reputation of your business from any malicious hackers out there.
Are you looking to learn even more about why NIST standards are important for small businesses, how you can mitigate your risk, or how you can obtain Managed IT Services and Security support for your company? Then you’re in the right place. Just one option is schedule a free consultation with Intelligent Integration technologies today. Finally, be watching for the next article in this series, “How and Why NIST and CMMC Standards are a starting point for All Small Business ”
Peter Frasco is the owner and CEO of Intelligent Integration Technologies and CMMC Registered Practitioner with over 30 years of experience in Information Technology and Cybersecurity including work for the US Army as a Chief Warrant Officer, Silicon Valley Startups, and BlackBerry during their pivot to a cybersecurity powerhouse.