What Exactly Is NIST?
If you are operating a business in the United States, there are specific regulations you must abide by set by the US government. If you are working with the federal government and data security is involved, these guidelines become more rigid.
Enhanced data handling and record-keeping have always been crucial to keeping the confidence of contractors and clients. However, this cruciality is amplified when the federal government shares sensitive data with your company, as it demands high standards of cybersecurity. To cater to this demand, NIST has outlined several security standards to enable businesses to protect government data. But what exactly is NIST?
Check out our latest video to learn more about NIST:
What Is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?
As part of its mandate, NIST is responsible for developing information security standards for federal information systems to help federal agencies and commercial industries meet the requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). FISMA is a federal law in the United States that made it compulsory for government agencies to develop, document, and implement an information security program. If a product doesn’t meet these standards, then it cannot be used.
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides guidelines on what security controls should be implemented to ensure data security. According to a report, 50% of companies are projected to use the cybersecurity Framework as their cybersecurity benchmark. Standards outlined by NIST have created a level of uniformity for cybersecurity across all organizations. Before these standards, each company had its own unique set of regulations for processing, storing, and discarding data. These inconsistent procedures posed a challenge and a potential data security threat for many organizations.
The NIST 800 Series publications were established and have progressed due to research to find more efficient solutions for enhancing IT systems’ security. This publication entails all NIST-recommended procedures for monitoring and assessing risks and ensuring that software vendors meet the government’s IT security standards.
In May 2015, NIST released Special Publication 800-171, a publication that guides how non-governmental organizations should store sensitive unclassified federal information in non-federal IT systems and environments and protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). This document clarifies the role of these non-governmental organizations in data breach incidents. It also offers guidance on the type of data they are to protect and how to protect it.
What Is Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)? Controlled Unclassified Information is data that is unclassified, sensitive, and relevant to the interests of the United States. The federal government, however, does not strictly regulate this data.
Some of the data that falls into the CUI category includes:
- Research data.
- Financial data for the government.
All companies must create a public registry of CUI categories and define why the data is considered CUI.
What Is NIST 800-171? NIST 800-171 provides both non-federal and federal agencies with recommended guidelines for protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) confidentiality. It was designed to enhance cybersecurity after several well-documented data breaches in the previous years. It was developed after FISMA was passed in 2003, resulting in several security standards and policies.
NIST 800-171 Compliance: Although every organization should be concerned about cybersecurity, NIST compliance is particularly crucial for companies that conduct business with the U.S government, particularly the Department of Defence. Lack of compliance puts your business at risk of losing valuable government contracts.
Compliance may require you to dive deep into your systems to ensure appropriate security procedures are implemented. For this, you’ll need an expert.
Are You Looking For A Reliable NIST 800-171 Compliance Partner?
Although becoming NIST compliant may seem daunting, having the right IT partner will make the process easier.
At Realized Solutions, we offer years of expertise and experience in helping businesses in Connecticut become and remain NIST compliant.
Consult with us today, and let us help you keep your company compliant and your data safe.