Table of content

July 11, 2024

NIST and MDR: A Combined Approach to Enhance Cyber Resilience

Enabling cybersecurity frameworks like NIST require organizations to invest in human capital resources, consultants, and support resources for post-security operations. The NIST framework provides industry-proven standards, processes, and architectures that align with compliance mandates for several industries, including the Federal government, energy, finance, and healthcare.

As organizations invest time and resources to deploy the various NIST cybersecurity framework (CSF) components within their organization, equally important is the decision to either hire internet security operations (SecOpS) engineers or partner with a managed detection and response (MDR) providers like ForeNova.

ForeNova, a global MDR provider, understands its clients' challenges when maintaining their current NIST CSF deployments, incident response activities, and threat modeling. MDR providers like ForeNova offer a variety of coverage models, including 24x7 support, after-hours coverage, and staff augmentation.

Are you considering an NIST CSF deployment and need help with post-security operations? Make ForeNova is your MDR partner of choice.

Understanding the NIST Cybersecurity Framework

“The NIST CSF was first released in 2014 to help organizations improve cybersecurity. The first major update, Version 2.0, was released in 2024.”

“The updates in NIST CSF 2.0 incorporate user feedback and aim to reflect the current cybersecurity environment more effectively.” The framework addresses unknown risks and technologies to maintain the framework's importance, effectiveness, and ability to help organizations improve their cybersecurity posture.


What is Managed Detection and Response (MDR)?

Managed detection and response (MDR) are a service offered by cybersecurity providers. These providers help organizations address the shortcomings in staffing incident response SecOps function. MDR providers handle incident response, threat modeling, cybersecurity incident case management, and post-remediation services.

  • Besides these services, MDR providers help clients determine root-cause analysis (RCA). In addition to collaborating with clients for RCA, MDR providers also recommend additional adaptive security tools, architectures, and policies their clients should consider.
  • MDR services also provide a stopgap for organizations facing shortages in cybersecurity talent or requiring additional overflow incident response capabilities. Most organizations engaging with MDRs prefer their internal resources to focus more on strategy initiatives and less on 24/7 monitoring functions.
  • MDRs often are cost-effective, saving their clients valuable savings compared to hiring additional in-house staff.

The Synergy Between NIST and MDR for EU Organizations

Organizations in the EU benefit from adopting many of the NIST-800-53 risk management cybersecurity frameworks to meet their various compliance and privacy mandates, including NIS2, DORA, and GDPR. For many EU members, especially small-to-medium enterprise (SME) organizations, adopting NIST and sustaining the framework requires more financial and human capital resources.

Leveraging an MDR, SMEs gain access to experienced SecOps resources and experience supporting EU members to help with incident response and reporting. Along with access to experienced SecOps talent, SMEs can now align their internal resources to look ahead to other elements of NIST frameworks become deployed to address future risks to their organization. MDR helps provide sustainability of investments made by the SMEs by supporting day-to-day service operations at a much lower cost.

Benefits of Integrating NIST with Managed Detection and Response for GDPR

GDPR in the EU requires strict rules for privacy and personal data protection. Organizations can use NIST 800-53 controls to meet GDPR security requirements like access control, encryption, incident response, and data breach notifications.

  • Incident response required under GDRP. MDR services help organizations meet this requirement.
  • MDR services help reduce the mean-time-to-detect (MTTD) and the meet-time-to-respond (MTTR) key performance indicators (KPI).
  • MDR providers like ForeNova have extensive domain knowledge around NIST. With ForeNova, organizations can easily adjust the client’s current framework deployment while modifying their MDR coverage.

Enhanced Threat Detection With MDR Services

Experienced MDR providers like ForeNova continuously add additional detection monitoring and response to help protect their clients and stay ahead of next-generation attacks. These extra tools include adopting extended detection and response (XDR). XDR captured security telemetry from all cybersecurity collection points, including network, endpoints, applications, identity management platforms, SD-WAN, SASE, and virtualization hosts.


XDR collects this telemetry and processes the data through large language models (LLMs). However, deploying an XDR solution and maintaining this capability is expensive. MDR providers like ForeNova offer managed XDR solutions for organizations deploying several detection technologies.

Improved Incident Response

Scaling incident response, especially with the rise in adversarial AI attacks, compels organizations to hire additional SecOps engineers or partner with an MDR provider like ForeNova. Enabling additional resources is only one part of the puzzle. Automation is another critical component within the new realm of incident response. With the increase in the velocity of attacks from hackers investing in AL and ML, automation is the foundation component to help respond to attacks well beyond what engineers are capable of.

ForeNova's expertise in incident response automation within its MDR offering helps keep its clients secure even with increased attack velocity.

Continuous Monitoring and Compliance

Organizations investing in digital transformation strategies expect these new capabilities to produce a lower operating cost, faster time-to-market for their solutions and services, and a better customer success experience for their clients. Cybersecurity attacks cause these expected business outcomes to become less realized.

Along with ensuring incident response, the SecOps strategy integrates automation needs to include continuous monitoring and compliance reporting. Monitoring new infrastructures supporting digital transformation initiatives is critical for organizations to realize their expected gains. The value gained by integrating cybersecurity protection layers within the transformation solutions is essential to the survivability of the investment.

Continuous monitoring requires resources like those within other cybersecurity protection layers. Organizations needing additional resources to handle this function become strong candidates for a managed services engagement. A critical part of ForeNova's MDR services includes 24/7 monitoring of all endpoints, hosts, network devices, and cloud virtual instances.

Implementing NIST and MDR in Your Organization

The NIST framework is complex and overwhelming, particularly for those without expertise in cybersecurity. To make it easier to apply controls, NIST created an extensive resource library for companies aiming to enhance their cyber resilience.

MDR solutions help organizations support NIST CSF requirements and maintain security controls. These managed solutions play a significant role in cybersecurity strategies by assisting organizations with the enablement of the correct NIST CSF framework domains. There is a 100’s of functions, controls, and processes with NIST. MDR providers assist the client in aligning the correct domain and control needed to protect their environment and the most optimal MDR service.

Case Studies: Successful Integration of NIST and MDR Globally

“NIST collaborates with international standards-developing organizations to promote consistent approaches that other countries and international entities have adopted. NIST has also translated the CSF into many languages.”

Supply Chain Case Study

NIST 800-53 Revision 5 recently introduced a new control family focused on supply chain risk management (SCRM). Due to various federal requirements and industry-specific regulations, SCRM has become a significant topic for many federal government IT leaders.

Best Practices for Achieving Cyber Resilience with NIST and MDR

NIST has several frameworks, domains, and standards for organizations. Six different yet integrated domains help organizations become more resilient to cyberattacks.


Identify the various security risks within the organization. It is critical to determine the level of priority and type of architecture that should be deployed to help reduce the risk.


Enable the recommended cybersecurity protection architectures to help reduce the identified risk.


Enable endpoint, network, and host-based detection capabilities to ensure all security breach attempts become discovered.


After detecting a security attack, the organization needs to respond with prevention tools, threat analysis, and notification capabilities—the development and staffing for incident response are critical to all organizations.


Once an organization has suffered a cybersecurity breach, processes, and procedures must be implemented to manage the post-attack recovery process, including lessons learned, remediation, and engaging third-party assessment teams to validate that all post-recovery efforts have resolved known vulnerabilities and possible future exploits.


Organizations mandated by compliance regulations leverage NIST CSF components to help meet these obligations. Developing and enabling to support the compliance and privacy mandates requires the board of directors' leadership and financial support.

Without executive oversight and funding, most NIST frameworks lack ongoing investment into human capital to sustain compliance regulations.


Enabling NIST frameworks and standards is an essential step for organizations. However, enabling is only one part of the strategy. Ongoing SecOps processes, procedures, and maintenance of the NIST investment are critical to the organization's success.

MDR services from ForeNova deliver an exceptional, cost-effective model to help you meet your monitoring, incident response, and reporting requirements.

Contact our NIST MDR specialist today to discuss your needs for managed services.


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