NIST unveils new cybersecurity workforce framework

The framework defines more than 50 work roles to help organizations identify cybersecurity tasks and develop cybersecurity talent.
By Jessica Davis
01:26 PM

The National Institute of Standards and Technology released a draft NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework to help U.S. employers better identify, maintain, recruit and develop cybersecurity talent.

The goal is to help organizations build a well-educated staff, which will, in turn, protect data and systems. Officials said the framework is much like a 'workforce dictionary,' designed to both define security terminology and share data.

The framework was developed by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) over the course of a few years and is based on a collaboration between academics, industry and government agencies. Two major contributors were the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

"When identifying their cybersecurity staff, many organizations overlook cybersecurity tasks being performed by lawyers, auditors and procurement officers," said Bill Newhouse, NICE deputy director, in a statement. "NCWF can help an organization identify cybersecurity tasks within a work role that are vital to its mission and then examine if its current staff can perform those tasks and, if not, hire staff who can."

[Also: Security tips for a 'cyber workforce']

NCWF defines over 50 work roles, such as 'cyber legal advisor' and 'vulnerability analyst,' through sets of related knowledge, skills, abilities and tasks. Further, it organizes the workforce into a structure of seven high-level categories that group work and employees with common functions.

These categories contain over 30 specialty areas like incident response and legal advice and advocacy.

The framework is focused on employers, cybersecurity staff, educators, workforce trainers and IT providers, students and those considering a career in the security field. As part of the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act of 2015, the government will soon use the NCWF to identify its cybersecurity workforce.

Further, NCWF terminology has been incorporated into two online resources for the cybersecurity field: CyberSeek, which graphically displays U.S. cybersecurity job demand and availability; and Career Pathway, which helps students and job seekers develop career plans.

Both tools were announced on Tuesday at the NICE conference and Expo in Kansas City, Missouri.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
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