Future of Federal Cybersecurity Readiness a Mix of Tech & Framework Consolidation

Effectively assessing and addressing federal cyber risks within your organization is a complicated but unquestionably vital aspect of doing business. And without the right tech and a consolidated approach, your organization is far more likely to be at risk.

As any CIO well knows, there are a huge number of variables to consider as outlined in the Risk Management Framework (RMF) policies and standards set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), so a comprehensive cybersecurity solution is imperative.

To comply, organizations must implement hierarchical, structured, transparent and repeatable cybersecurity methodologies to prevent gaps in network visibility, IT tool and capability standardization, and common operating procedures. Activities like tracking authorizations, completing RMF processes, providing system documentation, and tracking vulnerability compliance and remediation are integral to this process and must be managed from an administrative standpoint as well.

This is why so many organizations are investing in RMF tech solutions to provide an effective, comprehensive cybersecurity solution.

9 Must-Have Features of Modern Risk Management Solutions

Cybersecurity Manager System Package Dashboard

A strong cybersecurity management system should provide guided, step-by-step processes for managing the NIST Risk Management Framework (or RMF) activities, and allow you to track authorization and compliance, manage system security plans, automate assessment and authorization, and operationalize end-to-end continuous monitoring.

Key benefits and features to look for include:

1. Expediency in Addressing Vulnerabilities

Although compliance is a complicated function, with a good RMF tech solution, it shouldn’t slow you down. Look for RMF tech that allows you to complete the RMF and Assessment & Authorization (A&A) process in days, not months.

2. Flexible Role-Based UI

Your RMF tech should be flexible and allow for central tracking of RMF activities, processes, and tasks whether for a single system or an entire portfolio of systems, applications, and networks. Whether staying on top of POA&Ms or assessing system vulnerabilities, custom views and dashboards should drive the user interface.

3. Simplifying Cyber Portfolio Management and Authorization Tracking

Any RMF tech solution should provide a guided process to create and manage your system profiles, RMF packages, and achieve ATO (Authority to Operate). You should be able to monitor and track the RMF process and ongoing authorization of your system or portfolio of systems and track your cyber workforce and assignments all in the same tool.

4. Guided Completion of RMF Process

An effective solution should use automation, inheritance and re-use functions to guide you through categorization, selection, implementation, assessment, and authorization steps in a navigated environment, and provide managed completion and task/milestone reporting of the RMF process.

5. Real-Time System Documentation

With an effective, comprehensive RMF tech solution, you should be able to download or export a completed System Security Package (SSP) directly for review, auditing, and submission. It should also allow you to continuously monitor your information systems and stay current on IAVA and IAVB vulnerability reporting in real-time.

6. Vulnerability Compliance & Remediation Tracking

Your RMF tech solution should allow you to manage and track compliance with information assurance vulnerability alerts and bulletins (IAVA and IAVB), rapidly identify vulnerabilities and automatically map mitigation activities against your environment’s systems and equipment.

7. Compliance Task Management Capabilities

Security Technical Implementation Guides (or STIGs) should act as a cybersecurity methodology for standardizing security implementation and compliance in your environment. A good RMF tech solution should ensure STIG compliance with tasks, assignment rules and deadlines to enhance security for software, hardware, physical and logical architectures to reduce vulnerabilities.

8. Automated Plan of Action & Milestones Authorization

Look for a solution that allows you to automatically create and assign Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M) to ensure the resolution of information security vulnerabilities. Make sure POA&Ms can be tailored to include detailed lists of the resources, task milestones, and scheduled completion dates.

9. Full Situational Awareness Capabilities

It’s also hugely beneficial to maintain full situational awareness using easy-to-read charts and infographics, reports and dashboards. Look for tech that’s fully responsive across all platforms from mobile devices to command center screens.

By some estimates, businesses are spending upwards of $5.6 billion on cybersecurity tools, and yet enterprise-wide gaps still remain. A robust, comprehensive and consolidated RMF technology solution can close those gaps to limit vulnerability and manage risk.

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