The NICE Framework is a blueprint to categorize, organize, and describe cybersecurity work into Categories, Specialty Areas, Work Roles Tasks, and Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs). It provides a common language to speak about cyber roles and jobs and can be referenced by those who wish to define professional requirements in cybersecurity.
NICE Framework: How it’s organized
The NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (refer to official NIST pdf) aims to organize and clearly define cybersecurity work into Categories, Specialty Areas, Work Roles and Tasks, and Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs). By developing a common language and standard of communication in the cybersecurity workforce, the NICE Framework defines professional requirements for cybersecurity job positions and creates a common standard of knowledge for each position within the industry.
NICE Cybersecurity Categories
- Securely Provision
- Operate & Maintain
- Oversee & Govern
- Protect & Defend
- Collect & Operate
Cybersecurity Specialty Areas
Categories contain groupings of cybersecurity work, which are called Specialty Areas. Each specialty area represents an area of concentrated work, or function, within cybersecurity and related work roles.
Cybersecurity Work Roles
Work roles are the most detailed groupings of cybersecurity and related work which include a list of attributes required to perform that role in the form of Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Tasks (KSATs) performed in that role.
Categories provide the overarching organizational structure of the NICE Framework. There are seven Categories and all are composed of Specialty Areas and Work Roles. This organizational structure is based on extensive job analysis, which group together work and workers that share common major functions, regardless of job titles or other occupational terms.
Knowledge – is a body of information applied directly to the performance of a function.
Skills – needed for cybersecurity rely less on physical manipulation of tools and instruments and more on applying tools, frameworks, processes and controls that have an impact on the cybersecurity posture of an organization or individual.
Abilities – is competence to perform an observable behavior or a behavior that results in an observable product.
Tasks – is a specified defined piece of work that, combined with other identified Tasks, composes the work in a specific speciality area or work role.
Utilizing the NICE Framework for Employers, Individuals & Educators
The use of the NICE Framework’s common lexicon enables employers to inventory and develop their cybersecurity workforce. CyberKnights enables employers and organizational leadership to:
- Establish a shared terminology between hiring managers and human resource staff for recruiting, retention, and trainings
- Inventory and track their cybersecurity workforce to gain a greater understanding of the strengths and gaps in KSATs performed;
- Identify training and qualification requirements to develop KSATs;
- Improve position description and job vacancy announcements by selected relevant KSAs by for an existing employee or candidate for automatic match;
- Identify the most relevant work roles and develop career paths to guide staff in gaining requisite skills for each role
Using the CyberKnights online platform, employers looking for cybersecurity talent can match with the exact talent they need based on the NICE framework. Cybersecurity recruiting is made easy as employers can quickly match with individuals of specific talents to provide the cybersecurity intellect that their company needs.
The NICE Framework supports those in the cybersecurity field, and those who might wish to enter the cybersecurity field, to explore tasks within cybersecurity categories and work roles. The framework also assists those who support these workers, such as human resource staffing specialists and guidance counselors, to help job seekers and students understand the cybersecurity work roles and which associated KSATs are being valued by employers for in-demand cyber security jobs and positions.
CyberKnights leverages the NICE Framework’s common lexicon to provide clear and consistent descriptions of jobs and automatically matches the needs of the employer to what the individual has. Leveraging CyberKnights as a means to upskill and/or reskill is an important feature to making yourself more marketable within cybersecurity. CyberKnights also enables an individual to create a career map that helps keep them focused on their goals and how to achieve them.
Educators and Trainers
The NICE Framework provides a reference for educators to develop cybersecurity curriculum, certificate or degree programs, training programs, courses, seminars, and exercises or challenges that cover the KSATs described in the NICE Framework. Human resource staffing specialists and guidance counselors can also use the NICE Framework as a resource for cybersecurity career exploration.
Within CyberKnights, cybersecurity professors can understand their student KSATs and realize how their cybersecurity curriculum supports the student. This enables professors to look at future course development or a modification of existing courseware. CyberKnights helps to connect cybersecurity academics with cybersecurity training providers in order to support collaboration and increase classroom enrollment. CyberKnights also helps students obtain high-paying job opportunities before, during, or after their education is complete, making the job searching process easier.
CyberKnights Cybersecurity Portal
CyberKnights has enabled the NICE Framework to be operationalized for use by the cybersecurity industry, educational providers, and individuals.
Excel in the Field
CyberKnights focuses on the root of the NICE Framework which is consistent with the KSAs. If you understand an individual’s KSAs, you can map to any other portion of the framework as needed. The intent of this is to support the common language throughout the workforce for individuals to more easily obtain employment, create a cybersecurity career plan, track progress, modify as needed, and excel within the cybersecurity field.
Recruit & Retain Talent
Next, CyberKnights enables businesses to leverage the common language to recruit and retain talent, manage job descriptions with human resources specialists, connect with educational providers and help their organization grow.
Planning for the Future
Finally, CyberKnights helps educational providers ultimately increase enrollment by connecting directly with individual and business needs, realizing student KSAs and how that impacts existing course offerings and enables planning for future courses that meet student needs. CyberKnights also helps educational providers ensure that students identify employment in an effort to help close the critical vacancies within cybersecurity.