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Interested in learning more about the SafeHouse Initiative?  Want to talk with some of our expert contributors?  Or maybe you want to become a contributor?  Contact us today to explore how the SafeHouse Initiative can help you!

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Most popular questions

Here, we aim to address your queries and shed light on how the SafeHouse Initiative can help you improve your operational resilience.

NIST stands for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce that plays a key role in developing and promoting standards and technology to enhance economic competitiveness and improve public safety.

NIST’s mission encompasses a wide range of activities, including:

  1. Standards and Measurement: NIST develops and maintains a variety of standards, including those related to technology, measurement, and cybersecurity. These standards help ensure consistency and interoperability in various industries.

  2. Technology Research and Development: NIST conducts research and development in areas such as advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, information technology, and materials science. The institute aims to advance innovation and address challenges in these fields.

  3. Metrology: NIST is known for its work in metrology, the science of measurement. It establishes and maintains the U.S. standards of measurement and provides calibration services to ensure the accuracy of various instruments.

  4. Cybersecurity: NIST is particularly influential in the development of cybersecurity standards and guidelines. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework, for example, is widely adopted by organizations as a guide to managing and improving their cybersecurity risk management programs.

  5. Public Safety: NIST works on projects related to public safety, including research in areas such as disaster resilience, fire safety, and forensic science.

One of NIST’s well-known roles is its development of standards and guidelines that are widely used in various industries, both in the United States and internationally. Organizations often look to NIST publications for guidance on best practices in areas such as cybersecurity, information security, and technology standards.

Zero Trust is a cybersecurity approach and model that assumes threats may exist both outside and inside a network. In contrast to traditional security models that typically focus on securing the perimeter and trusting everything inside, the Zero Trust model advocates for a “never trust, always verify” philosophy. The core idea is to eliminate the notion of trust based solely on the user or device’s location and, instead, continuously authenticate and verify the identity and security posture of anyone trying to access resources.

Key principles of the Zero Trust model include:

  1. Verification of Identity: Every user and device attempting to access resources must authenticate and verify their identity, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the corporate network.

  2. Least Privilege Access: Users and devices are granted the minimum level of access necessary to perform their tasks. Excessive or unnecessary privileges are avoided to limit the potential impact of a security breach.

  3. Continuous Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of users, devices, and network activities is essential. This involves actively assessing the security posture and behavior of entities throughout their interaction with the network and resources.

  4. Micro-Segmentation: Network segmentation is implemented both at the perimeter and throughout the internal network. This limits lateral movement for attackers and contains potential breaches.

  5. Encryption: Data in-transit and at-rest should be encrypted to protect it from unauthorized access.

  6. Policy Enforcement: Strict access control policies are enforced based on user roles, device status, and other contextual factors. Automated policy enforcement mechanisms help ensure compliance with security policies.

Zero Trust is particularly relevant in today’s dynamic and distributed computing environments, where users may access resources from various locations and devices. Implementing a zero-trust architecture helps organizations enhance their security posture by minimizing the risk of unauthorized access and reducing the potential impact of security incidents.

Multifactor Authentication (MFA), two-factor authentication (2FA) or two-step verification are security processes requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification to access a system, account, or application. MFA aims to add an extra layer of security beyond the traditional username and password combination, making it more difficult for unauthorized users to gain access.

The three typical factors used in multifactor authentication are:

  1. Something You Know: This is typically a password or a personal identification number (PIN).

  2. Something You Have: This involves a physical device or token the user possesses, such as a smartphone, security key, or smart card.

  3. Something You Are: This refers to biometric data, such as fingerprints, retina scans, or facial recognition.

To authenticate, a user must provide credentials from at least two categories. For example, a common scenario involves entering a password (something you know) and then receiving a one-time code on a mobile device (something you have) that must be entered to complete the login process.

Multifactor authentication significantly enhances security because even if one factor is compromised (e.g., a password is stolen), an attacker still needs the other factor(s) to gain access. Many online services, banking institutions, and organizations implement MFA to protect sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access.

Learn about MultiFactor Authentication on the NIST website.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) designed to deny access to a computer system or files until the victim pays a sum of money (the  ransom). In a typical ransomware attack, the malware encrypts the files on the victim’s computer, making them inaccessible. The attackers then demand payment for a decryption key that can unlock the files.

Ransomware attacks can target individuals, businesses, or even entire organizations. The methods used to deliver ransomware vary and can include phishing emails, malicious links, or exploiting vulnerabilities in software. Once the ransomware infects a system, it often displays a ransom note informing the victim of the encryption and providing instructions on paying the ransom.

Paying the ransom does not guarantee that the attackers will provide the decryption key, and it may also encourage further criminal activity.

The Safehouse Initiative encourage you to take preventive measures, such as regularly backing up important data, keeping software up to date, and implementing robust cybersecurity practices to minimize the risk of a ransomware attack.

More information on ransomware can be found on the NIST website.