Security Tips for The Average Joe

How to be NIST Special Publication 800-171 Compliant

At the rate that many qualified service operators have been outsourced by the US federal government to do a wide range of projects and business functions that rely heavily on the federal government’s information system, a new major requirement is being insisted on by the Department of Defense on these service operators, whether they are contractors or subcontractors, so that they take necessary measures on cyber security as they are in access to the government’s Covered Defense Information (CDI) and that as early or on December 31, 2017, all their systems must be NIST Special Publication 800-171compliant.

NIST Special Publication 800-171 is an outlined general procedure and information that delineates how information systems and policies are to be set-up and complied by service operators to protect government information, particularly called Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), which can directly affect the normal activities of the federal government to successfully deliver its operations. Many delicate and routine processing works are being done by outsourced service providers for the federal government, such as the following: providing financial services, Web, electronic email, cloud services, background investigations for security clearances, processing healthcare and developing communications satellite systems and weapons systems, all of these are serious data information that must pass and comply through government security clearance by way of NIST Special Publication 800-171.

If you are one of these hired contractors, you need to comply with the requirement or else you lose your precious contract, thus, here are suggested steps that can be taken to start in the compliance procedure: perform a gap analysis and establish an incident response plan.

When you, as a government contractor, have to comply on your own on the NIST Special Publication 800-171 requirement, the first important step is to conduct a security analysis through all your control systems and compare the analysis results to the policies of the NIST Special Publication 800-171and determine which areas need to be worked on so they can be compliant, which requires discussing this with your staff, investigating on your company’s network maps and configurations especially related into the treatment process of Controlled Unclassified Information. It is important that you have a thorough gap analysis and report of the overall investigation of your system so that changes can be introduced such as a two factor authentication to make sure that there are no shared passwords and that an incident response plan will also be required which is providing solutions in situations when there is a cyber intrusion or when there is an insider investigation.

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