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Put into effect on December 31, 2017, the NIST 800-171 is a set of guidelines that standardizes how executive agencies and federal government contractors protect controlled unclassified information (CUI). Published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the document’s purpose is to ensure the safety and confidentiality of this data. NIST 800-171 compliance is mandatory for all entities that handle sensitive information from the government and is enforced by the Department of Defense.

 NIST 800-171 specifies how a company’s information systems are setup and utilized to protect information that is shared between the DoD and the contractor.  This information is typically referred to as Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).  Ensuring that this information is protected can be done via a cybersecurity and network assessment performed internally by the network professional.

 As it can be difficult to maintain compliance on your own, many organizations tend to rely on the help of a third-party IT provider. A good IT provider can make implementation and compliance with these requirements an easier and more manageable task.

 At WCCS, we’ll help you remain compliant with NIST SP 800-171. Our robust security processes and compliance standards are designed to keep your network safe and secure from external threats. If you would like to learn more about our services give us a call today!

What Exactly Does NIST 800-171 Cover?

The NIST 800-171 is a special publication used to govern the control of CUI in non-federal information systems and businesses. Many government bodies, such as the Department of Defense (DoD), work alongside non-governmental bodies to achieve certain objectives. Specific NIST compliance agreements are included in contracts to ensure any information stored, processed, or transferred is protected from potential hackers. Information shared between the DoD and the contractor is protected through NIST 800-171 compliance. 

The current edition of the NIST compliance document was published in 2017 to protect some of the most important government agencies, including the DoD, General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Under the latest agreement, all organizations associated with these agencies must check and document their compliance in handling data.

  • Access control for the data

  • Awareness and training information on how they were taught to handle the data

  • Accountability and records of all authorized and unauthorized access to the data

  • How network and safety protocols are developed and documented

  • Incident response plan for security breaches

  • Maintenance protocol and the responsible individuals

  • Media protection for hard and soft copy records and how they are safely stored

  • Physical protection for systems, equipment, and storage environments, as well as who has access

  • Risk assessment and whether simulation testing takes place for emergencies

  • Regular security assessment protocols and how improvements are implemented

  • Regular system and communication protection schedules and how data is monitored and controlled at all transmission points

  • The speed at which potential threats are detected, identified and alleviated

Does Your Business Need to Be NIST Compliant?

NIST Compliance refers to the minimum requirements necessary for taking part in a DoD or related government body project. If your digital security measures stand up to these requirements, you are in a position to bid for a DoD contract. 

If your business deals are with CUI or you’re contractually obliged to meet NIST requirements, you’ll need to incorporate these measures into your information systems. Failure to do so can result in the termination of contracts and automatically ruled out for any future DoD work.

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One of the best ways to guarantee NIST compliance is to partner with an expertly managed IT service, like West Coast Computer Solutions (WCCS). We have experience providing the highest cybersecurity standards, ensuring your network and data are kept safe and secure from any external threats. 

Operating out of the California area, some of our premier services include:

We specialize in working with small to medium-sized businesses, enabling them to compete for lucrative contracts. Contact us today for more information on the security services we offer.

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