The Risk Management Framework is a United States federal government policy and standards to help secure information systems (computers and networks) developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The two main publications that cover the details of RMF are NIST Special Publication 800-37, “Guide for Applying the Risk Management Framework to Federal Information Systems”, and NIST Special Publication 800-53, “Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations”.
NIST Special Publication 800-37, “Guide for Applying the Risk Management Framework to Federal Information Systems”, developed by the Joint Task Force Transformation Initiative Working Group, transforms the traditional Certification and Accreditation (C&A) process into the six-step Risk Management Framework (RMF).
The Risk Management Framework (RMF), illustrated at right, provides a disciplined and structured process that integrates information security and risk management activities into the system development life cycle.
The RMF steps include:
- Categorize the information system and the information processed, stored, and transmitted by that system based on an impact analysis. Vested party is identified.
- Select an initial set of baseline security controls for the information system based on the security categorization; tailoring and supplementing the security control baseline as needed based on an organizational assessment of risk and local conditions. If any overlays apply to the system it will be added in this step
- Implement the security controls identified in the Step 2 SELECTION are applied in this step.
- Assess third party entity assess the controls and verifies that the controls are properly applied to the system.
- Authorize the information system is granted or denied an Authority to Operate (ATO), in some cases it may be postponed while certain items are fixed. The ATO is based off the report from the Assessment phase.
- Monitor the security controls in the information system are monitored in a pre-planned fashion documented earlier in the process. ATO is good for 3 years, every 3 years the process needs to be repeated.