Understanding NIST Compliance
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is a framework used to create NIST security controls or standards applicable across various industries. NIST is basically based on best practices for security controls.
The most popular NIST standard is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), which businesses use to identify and seal cybersecurity gaps. NIST compliance is more of a self-defense method than a compliance requirement. As such, employing a NIST standard in your organization can help you mask yourself against the rising prevalence of cyber-attacks. Other benefits of the same include:
- NIST is a baseline for other compliance requirements: If you’re already NIST compliant, you can easily qualify for other compliance requirements in your industry, for example, Federal Information Security Management Act, HIPPA, CMMC, etc.
- Help you in getting contracts: Most customers, including government agencies, will require businesses to be NIST compliant before signing an agreement with them. Therefore, NIST compliance helps you grow your business and as well as maintain a good reputation.
What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?
This is a risk management framework used by hundreds of companies across multiple industries to assess, manage, and prevent cybersecurity risks. The framework compiles the best practices taken from the NIST and ISO (International Standards Organization) standards. NIST CSF is based on 5 pillars that are used to evaluate security controls, including:
- Identify: Involves determining the current cybersecurity loopholes in the system.
- Protect: Activity of sealing the loopholes detected in the system
- Detect: Laying measures to monitor the system proactively and automatically detect when there is an intruder
- Respond: Detailed plan of how to respond to incidents such as breaches or attacks
- Recover: This is a remediation plan that details how the system can be restored to its previous good state after an incident, hence reducing costs and downtime
This framework is more of a lifecycle that starts with identifying the current gaps in the system.
Essentially, CSF has no one-fits-all method to implement. You can start small by applying only those requirements you currently need and progressively expand as your system grows, and clients demand more compliance requirements.
How to Become NIST Compliant
If you want to get contracts from the federal government, you’ll need to be NIST 800-171 compliant. This NIST compliance involves “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and organizations” and has been effective since May 2015.
Whether you want to apply NIST standards for your IT environment security or become compliant, hence eligible for federal contracts, we can help. Get in touch now!