What Is NIST?
Every business operating in a particular industry in the United States has a set of regulations that govern how they run their operations. For companies to remain on the right side of the law, they must abide by these rules. However, if you are working with the government and data security is involved, these regulations become more stringent.
Although data security has always been vital for clients, it is amplified when the federal government shares confidential and sensitive information with your organization. The government demands high standards of cybersecurity to ensure the safety of its data. To satisfy this demand, it developed NIST to provide organizations with cybersecurity guidelines. But what exactly is NIST?
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What Exactly Is NIST?
The National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory federal agency within the United States Department of Commerce and was founded in 1901. It aims to drive industrial competitiveness and innovation at organizations in the US by establishing standards for technology.
As part of its directive, NIST develops and documents data security standards for federal information systems to help state and commercial agencies meet the requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). FISMA is a federal law in the US that made it compulsory for government agencies to develop, document, and implement a data security program.
One of the commonly followed NIST guidelines is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.
What Is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework? The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides guidelines on which security controls should be implemented to ensure data security and provides businesses with fundamental protocols to ensure that their IT infrastructure is secure. According to a report, 50% of companies are projected to use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework as their benchmark for data security. Standards outlined by NIST have developed a sense of uniformity for cybersecurity across all organizations. Before NIST, each company had its own set of regulations for processing and storing data. These inconsistent procedures and security protocols posed a challenge and created potential data security threats.
What Does the NIST 800 Series Entail? The NIST 800 Series publications were established and have progressed due to continuous research to find more efficient ways of enhancing data security. This publication outlines all NIST-recommended protocols for monitoring and evaluating risks and ensures that all businesses contracted by the government meet the IT security standards.
In May 2015, NIST released Special Publication 800-171, a document that guides how non-governmental organizations should store sensitive unclassified government information in non-federal IT systems and protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). This publication clarifies the role of these non-governmental organizations in cyberattack incidents. It also specifies what data they should 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.
What Is NIST 800-171? NIST 800-171 provides recommended cybersecurity guidelines for protecting the confidentiality of CUI to both non-federal and federal agencies. It was designed to enhance data security after several well-documented data breaches in the previous years. It was developed after FISMA was passed in 2003, resulting in the development of several security standards.
NIST 800-171 Compliance: Although all organizations should be concerned with cybersecurity compliance, NIST compliance is particularly vital for companies that conduct business with the US government, particularly the Department of Defense.
Non-compliance to NIST regulations puts your business at risk of losing or not getting valuable government contracts.
Are You Looking to Partner With a NIST 800-171 Compliance Solutions Provider?
Would you like to know more about NIST, or are you thinking about being NIST compliant? Consulting the right IT partner will make the process easier.
Here at K² Technologies, we offer years of expertise and experience in helping businesses in Wyoming become and remain NIST compliant.
Consult with us today, and let us help you keep your company compliant.