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8/7/2017
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NIST Releases Cybersecurity Definitions for the Workforce

In an effort to bring consistency when describing the tasks, duties, roles, and titles of cybersecurity professionals, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released the finalized draft version of its framework.

Employers and recruiters may have an easier time describing the type of infosec professionals they are seeking to hire or advance in their careers now that the government's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the finalized draft version of its cybersecurity lexicon framework.

NIST's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework aims to provide organizations with a common vocabulary when describing the role, area of specialty, category of work, and the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) of cybersecurity professionals.

"The NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework improves communication, about how to identify, recruit, develop, and retain cyber security talent," according to the NIST report. "It is a resource from which organizations or sectors can develop additional publications, or tools that meet their needs to define or provide guidance on different aspects of workforce development, planning, training, and education."

Employers, recruiters, and guidance counselors, for example, may use the framework as a resource when writing cybersecurity job descriptions, or use it to define with greater clarity the types of IT security professionals in the workforce, according to the NIST report.

As for cybersecurity professionals, the IT security vocabulary framework may aid in giving job seekers and employers a common language and understanding when various skills and abilities are listed in job openings, NIST states.

In the education and training fields, the framework may provide guideposts in developing curriculum or training certificate programs, because industry players will have a common understanding of the skills and tasks that will be needed in a job.

Definitions for Cybersecurity Workers
The creation of the framework relied on more than 20 government departments and agencies, the private sector, and academia to create a broad understanding of the cybersecurity market. The committee has created two earlier versions of the framework before this final version was approved, according to the report.

The definitions that emerged addressed the broader categories of work roles, which include a detailed list of cybersecurity work role groupings and the tasks that they perform. Specialty areas, meanwhile, include functions or concentrated work done in the cybersecurity industry, the report states. KSAs represent the required tasks needed to get the job done, as well as relevant education and training.

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Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

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