An Easy to Follow NIST Risk Assessment Framework

Healthcare organizations can rely on the NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) to establish a simplified IT security program that’s usable, testable, complete and secure.

By using the risk analysis framework from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), healthcare organizations can streamline their information security and improve existing risk management practices.

Divided into six steps, the NIST RMF documents a holistic and comprehensive risk management process that integrates the Risk Management Framework into the system development lifecycle (SDLC).

To learn more, this article will focus on how healthcare organizations can conduct a high-quality, government-approved risk assessments with the following six steps.

Step 1: Prepare

Prepare is a recently added step to the NIST Risk Management Framework. It aims to help organizations manage their security and privacy risks while using the risk analysis framework.

Successful completion of this step should aid in:

  • Identifying key risk management roles
  • Pinpointing common security controls and risk tolerance
  • An accurate and thorough  risk assessment of your entire organization, with no gaps

Step 2: Categorize

Categorize determines the criticality of the information and systems according to potential worst-case scenarios, adverse impacts and business functions.

Outcomes of this step include:

  • Documentation of system characteristics
  • A security categorization of the information and system
  • A categorization review/approval by an authorized official

Step 3: Select

Select is usually the longest step in the enterprise risk management framework template because it aims to select, tailor and document the security controls necessary to protect a system and organization commensurate with risk.

Successful deployment of this IT risk assessment framework step should deliver:

  • Selected and tailored control baselines
  • A security and privacy strategy reflecting control selection, personnel designation, and future plans
Want to Learn More About Security Controls? Read these Articles.

Step 4: Implement

The fourth step of the NIST technology risk management framework is to implement the security and privacy strategy for the system and organization.

To implement the risk assessment criteria of this step, healthcare organizations may have to:

  • Configure settings in the OS and applications
  • Install tools or software to automation control implementation
  • Write and follow policies, plans or operational procedures

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Step 5: Assess

The assessment step takes a numerical risk analysis approach to determine the security control effectiveness. This step includes assessing whether:

  • Controls are properly implemented
  • Controls are operating as intended
  • Controls are meeting or exceeding security requirements

Identifying risk areas across information systems is a primary benefit of this assessment framework step.

Risk Assessment Framework

Step 6: Authorize

The authorized step is vital for an organization’s risk assessment and management accountability as senior leadership, acting for the organization, examines the output of the security controls assessment to determine whether or not risk levels are acceptable.

Following an initial authorization, ongoing authorizations are deployed using outputs from continuous monitoring of the controls.

Step 7: Monitor

The final step of the technology risk framework by NIST is to maintain active awareness regarding the privacy and security of the system and organization.

Through continuous monitoring, and integrating all monitoring into an organization-wide monitoring program, organizations can minimize their compliance risks.

In industries like healthcare, where many regulations exist, achieving compliance is challenging and time-consuming which is where experience becomes invaluable.

Having served more than 1,030 healthcare organizations, our experts at Techumen are more than equipped to help you carry out the rigorous steps of the NIST risk assessment framework.

To find out more, speak with one of our risk assessment specialists today.