Before they can handle classified or Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), organizations are required to comply with minimum standards for cybersecurity established by governing bodies like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Because the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) requires federal agencies to comply with NIST standards, it is imperative for organizations that work with the federal government to be familiar with the latest NIST guidance.
This guidance is a vital component of national security: not only does it mandate and codify basic cybersecurity practices for organizations in both the public and private sector, but it also helps organizations to identify blind spots and prepare for emerging threats they have not encountered before.
The cybersecurity standards produced by NIST are among the most important for businesses and federal contractors in the United States. Adherence to NIST standards is required by many federal contracts; outside the federal space, they have become an industry benchmark for cybersecurity programs across small governments, academic institutions, and enterprise organizations
Important NIST standards include:
- NIST SP 800-53: SP 800-53 outlines recommended security controls for federal information systems and a methodology for selecting them. Until recently, this standard has applied directly to any federal agencies except for national security agencies, and indirectly to non-federal organizations via SP 800-171. The controls in SP 800-53 are also referenced by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).
- NIST SP 800-171: SP 800-171 outlines rules for non-federal systems that handle sensitive information and data that do not merit a “classified” designation, including email systems, FTP, CMPs, cloud-based storage and project collaboration tools. The use of SP 800-171 by Department of Defense (DoD) contractors is mandated in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation, DFARS, and governed via the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) process.
- NIST SP 800-37: this standard provides organizations with a comprehensive risk management and response plan in six stages. SP 800-37 helps organizations to formalize and maintain a security strategy to protect themselves and their customers.
- NIST CSF: NIST’s cybersecurity framework (CSF) – soon updating to CSF 2.0 – is a set of cybersecurity guidelines and best practices which enjoys wide adoption among federal organizations and private businesses of every size. While CSF compliance is not mandatory in most cases, it provides a solid cybersecurity foundation essential for compliance with other regulations.
Recently, core pieces of NIST legislation have been consolidated and – in some cases – supplanted by the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which will likely become the most important federal cybersecurity standard in coming years.
Preparing for Compliance with CMMC 2.0
Without a doubt, CMMC – and its most recent revision CMMC 2.0 – is the biggest change to cybersecurity legislation in a decade. For now, it primarily impacts contractors working directly with the DoD, but other government agencies are beginning to require CMMC certification, and this trend will likely continue into the indefinite future.
CMMC has three main goals:
- Consolidate – and therefore supersede – multiple cybersecurity standards, including NIST documents SP 800-53 and SP 800-171, and several international standards like ISO 27001.
- Prevent organizations from winning a contract until they can demonstrate cybersecurity preparedness to a third party.
- Gauge the maturity of a company’s cybersecurity practices and processes, as they have been institutionalized.
For some businesses, CMMC will ease the burden of compliance through five escalating tiers of cybersecurity with increasing levels of rigor. For others, it will raise the bar for what it means to be compliant, forcing organizations to take responsibility for risk and successfully pass tests that will demonstrate their adherence to the rules.
Securicon is certified as a Registered Provider Organization (RPO) by the CMMC Accreditation Body (AB), or Cyber AB. After years of experience helping our clients to comply with DFARS and NIST SP 800-171, our Registered Practitioners have undergone extensive training to prepare your organization for third-party assessment.
As an RPO, Securicon ensures that you make the best use of your time, resolve obstacles to compliance and achieve your desired CMMC level in record time. With a DoD background, our world-class experts are ready to take stock of your IT assets and build a comprehensive security response plan that is tailored to your organization’s needs.
Compliance with NIST standards and CMMC have become non-negotiable for any businesses in the federal space, and as the number of cyberthreats increase at a rapid pace, meeting the minimal standards for cybersecurity has become necessary for any organization to protect their revenue and customers.
Securicon can help your business to comply with increasingly complicated federal and regulatory requirements through program and risk assessments. Our team comprises veterans from the U.S security community – including DoD, DHS and the U.S. Cyber Command – who provide guidance in gap analysis, compliance consulting, support for conducting mandated assessments and assessing audit readiness. We will:
- Assess your program for compliance with the latest federal security standards.
- Find gaps between your program and federal regulations.
- Identify and implement security controls.
- Train your organization to follow proper procedures.
- Conduct risk assessments and implement a comprehensive cybersecurity program based on your organization’s needs.
In spite of their best efforts, bodies like NIST struggle to produce regulations quickly enough to keep up with an ever-changing threat landscape, while many organizations show complacency towards legislation as it already exists. We help our clients to stay one step ahead of regulations by protecting them from the strongest threats to their customers and revenue.
Are You Struggling With CMMC/NIST Compliance?
Learn more about Securicon’s expert solutions by giving us a call at (571) 253-6565 or fill out the form to schedule an appointment.