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3_NIST SP 800-37 (rev 2) changes

NIST 800 37 Revision 2 – RMF for Information Systems and Organizations: A System Life Cycle Approach for Security and Privacy

NIST 800 37 Revision 2 Risk Management Framework for Information Systems and Organizations A System

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This is an overview of NIST 800-37 Revision 2. I discuss the changes, the sources and Cybersecurity Framework.

NIST Special Publication 800-37, Revision 2
Risk Management Framework for Security and Privacy
Initial Public Draft: May 2018
Final Public Draft: July 2018
Final Publication: October 2018

NIST 37-800 Rev 2:

Executive Order:


Cybersecurity Framework:

NIST SP 800-53 (Revision 5):

Source of Changes:
President’s Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure
Office of Management and Budget Memorandum M-17-25 – next-generation Risk Management Framework (RMF) for systems and organizations
NIST SP 800-53 Revision 5 Coordination

risk management framework steps

nist risk management framework 800-37

NIST risk management framework 800-37, Guide for Applying the Risk Management Framework to Federal Information Systems (revision 1) marked a change from the old NIST 800-37 that was based on Certification & Accreditation.   The adjustment stems from FISMA 2002 and includes the following changes:

  1. Revised process emphasizes
  2. Building information security capabilities into federal information systems through the application of state-of-the-practice management, operational, and technical security controls
  3. Maintaining awareness of the security state of information systems on an ongoing basis though enhanced monitoring processes
  4. Providing essential information to senior leaders to facilitate decisions regarding the acceptance of risk to organizational operations and assets, individuals, other organizations, and the Nation arising from the operation and use of information systems

The DoD has recently adopted the NIST risk management framework 800-37 steps (called the DIARMF process).  There are 6 step: Categorize, Select, Implement, Assess, Authorize and Continuous Monitor.

risk management framework steps
risk management framework steps

nist risk management framework 800-37 – Step 1. Categorize

The first risk management framework step is categorization.  This step consists of classifying the importance of the information system.   This is done by the system owner with FIPS 199 and NIST 800-60.

Categorization is based on how much negative impact the organization will receive if the information system lost is confidentiality, integrity or availability.


nist risk management framework 800-37 – Step 2. Select

With FIPS 200 and NIST SP 800-53, the organization responsible for the systems security will select the security controls required to limit the risk to their organization.  The selection of the controls is based on the categorization of your system.  A system security plan is created as a guide to what will be installed and/or configured on the system.

More on DIARMF – Select

nist risk management framework 800-37 – Step 3. Implement

Using the System Security Plan, the organization responsible for the categorized system can begin risk management framework step 3.  This step is implementation which is installation and configuration of security patches, hotfixes and security devices where necessary.   Guidance for actual implantation has to come from technical manuals, system administrators, system engineers and others technically competent enough to do the work.

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nist risk management framework 800-37 – Step 4. Assess

The organization has to make sure that the security controls are implemented properly.  This is done in risk management step 4, assess.  Using NIST SP 800-53A, Guide for Assessing the Security Controls in Federal Information Systems and Organizations  is used to determine which controls have been fully implemented to limit the risks to the organization.

More on DIARMF – Assess

nist risk management framework 800-37 – Step 5. Authorize

Even after implementation and assessment of the security controls that limits the over all risk to the organization, there is some remaining (residual) risk.  The organization must have someone who has enough authority of over the system to accept the residual risk.  This person is known as the Authorizing Official.

In risk management framework step 5, an Authorizing Official makes a formal, written acceptance of the risks.  The AO makes a decision on whether or not to accept the risk based on the authorization package.  The authorization package consists of the system security plan, plan of action and milestone, security/risk assessment report and any other supporting documents.


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nist risk management framework 800-37 – Step 6. Continuous Monitoring

After acceptance of risk by the organization, they must develop a program that monitors the ongoing changes to the systems security posture.   They take a proactive approach to watching for advanced persistent threats, configuration changes and new vulnerabilities. Risk management framework step 6 handles all of this.

More on DIARMF – Continuous Monitoring