What Exactly Is NIST 800-171?

Does your business deal with the central government? If this is the case, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has this significant directive for you.

In the present tightly controlled business world, you’re most likely well acquainted with several compliance standards, especially if your company is under agreement with a Federal organization. With years of experience delivering dependable IT solutions in NYC, Network Outsource understands the importance of your information handling practices in keeping the trust of partners, vendors, contractors, and customers.

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NIST 800-171, otherwise called NIST SP 800-171, is an essential security standard regardless of whether your business is a government subcontractor or contractor. Eager to learn all you need to know about this significant standard? How about we start with some key definitions.

What Is Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)?

Before we begin talking about NIST 800-171, we first need to highlight what Controlled Unclassified Information implies. More or less, CUI is information that isn’t classified under the law but is nevertheless thought to be sensitive and important to the United States. Clearly, this doesn’t mean a rundown of special forces now working behind enemy lines. Instead, CUI typically involves information covered by HIPAA or SOX, for instance.

Each organization is tasked with specifying to the National Archives and Records Administration (the executive agency responsible for creating and enforcing standards for unclassified information) precisely what data it labels as CUI. Every organization needs to come up with a public registry of the information types that constitute CUI, and they also need to clearly state why.

Let’s take the “financial” category, for example, which has subcategories covering the roles of monetary institutions and US fiscal functions, including:

  • Contractors.
  • Mergers.
  • Electronic fund transfers.

What Is NIST 800-171? NIST 800-171 in full is the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-171. It administers CUI in non-government organizations and information systems. NIST 800-171 is intended to shield and circulate information that is viewed as sensitive but not classified.

After multiple data breaches, the government finally passed FISMA in an attempt to strengthen cybersecurity regulations. NIST followed soon afterward with NIST 800-53 and lastly NIST 800-171.

Does Your Business Need to Comply With NIST 800-171? Simply put, if your organization transmits, stores, or processes CUI for a federal or state agency, you have to follow the NIST 800-171 guidelines. That said, achieving compliance with NIST 800-171 could easily turn into a long, drawn-out project taking up to 6-8 months.

On the off chance that you aren’t quite sure whether you have to stress over NIST 800-171 requirements, here are some of the organizations that need to be compliant:

  • Contractors for the Department of Defense (DoD).
  • Contractors for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • Contractors for General Services Administration (GSA).
  • Consulting companies with government contracts.
  • Manufacturers and service companies that provide goods and services to federal agencies.
  • Universities and research institutions supported by federal grants.

What Are the NIST 800-171 Requirements?

  1. Access Control: Who’s approved to see this information?
  2. Awareness and Training: Are your staff trained on the best way to deal with CUI?
  3. Audit and Accountability: Do you document access to CUI?
  4. Configuration Management: Do you stick to RMF rules to oversee change and guarantee secure configurations?
  5. Identification and Authentication: Do you review and manage access to CUI?
  6. Incident Response: What are your procedures in case of a data breach?
  7. Maintenance: Who is in charge of maintenance, and what are your standard timelines?
  8. Media Protection: How are physical and digital records stored?
  9. Physical Protection: Who has access to your CUI’s physical location?
  10. Personnel Security: How do you screen staff prior to allowing access?
  11. Risk Assessment: Have you conducted a Risk Assessment?
  12. Security Assessment: Do you need to fortify existing security strategies?
  13. Systems and Communications Protection: Are your correspondence channels secure?
  14. Systems and Information Integrity: How rapidly do you pinpoint and address new system weaknesses?

Looking to Leverage the Most Reliable NIST 800-171 Compliance Support in NYC and Long Island?

Our experienced IT experts at Network Outsource are eager to help your business achieve NIST 800-171 compliance through our range of reliable IT solutions.

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