If you are running your business operations in the United States, you’re likely aware of the importance of compliance. You are also mindful that any sensitive information shared with you by the government is subject to high-security standards. With the rise in cyberattacks, you need to take your cybersecurity seriously. For this reason, NIST has outlined several guidelines to help businesses protect government data. But what exactly is NIST?
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), founded in 1901, is a non-regulatory government agency responsible for establishing technology, standards, and metrics that drive economic competitiveness and innovation at U.S-based organizations in the technology and science industry.
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NIST develops and maintains an extensive collection of guidelines, standards, recommendations, and research that helps commercial industries and government agencies meet the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) regulations. FISMA guidelines apply to any organization in the public and private sectors.
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework offers standards on what security measures should be in place to ensure data is safe. According to a report, it’s projected that by 2020, 50% of companies will be using the Framework as their benchmark for cybersecurity. By having NIST-outlined standards, there’s a level of uniformity when it comes to cybersecurity. Before these regulations, each company had a unique set of rules for handling, safeguarding, and disposing of data. These inconsistent standards posed a challenge and a potential security concern.
The NIST 800 Series publications were created and have evolved due to research into finding efficient solutions for optimizing IT networks’ security. The publication includes all NIST-recommended procedures and criteria for tracking and evaluating threats and vulnerabilities for implementing IT security controls to minimize risks and attacks.
In 2015, NIST released Special Publication 800-171, a document that guides organizations looking to protect sensitive unclassified federal information stored in non-federal information systems and environments and help protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Before we delve into NIST 800-171, let’s discuss what exactly constitutes CUI.
What Is Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)? Controlled Unclassified Information is data that is sensitive, unclassified, and relevant to the interests of the United States but not strictly regulated by the federal government.
Some of the data that falls into CUI territory includes:
Every company must create a public registry of CUI categories and subcategories to handle all sensitive, unclassified information and define why it is considered CUI.
What Is NIST 800-171? NIST 800-171 is a codification of requirements that any non-federal computer system must follow to store, process, or transmit Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and provides security protection for such systems. It was developed after FISMA was passed in 2003, resulting in several security standards and guidelines.
NIST 800-171 Compliance: Though most organizations should be concerned with cybersecurity, NIST compliance is particularly vital for organizations that conduct business with the U.S. government. Achieving NIST 800-171 compliance may require diving deep into your networks and procedures to make sure appropriate security procedures are adequately addressed.
Being compliant with the NIST 800-171 guidelines offers your organization immense cybersecurity benefits and minimizes your risks.
The process of becoming compliant with the standards set may seem daunting. However, the right IT partner makes the process easier for you. At BIOS Technologies, we offer years of expertise and experience in helping New Orleans businesses remain compliant.
Consult us today, and let us help you keep your company compliant and data safe.
BIOS Technologies’ mission is to deliver superior IT support to the SMB market in the New Orleans Metro Area. We focus on companies that understand the business/security risks of unmanaged technology and want to maximize efficiency and profitability.