THE NIST 800-171 Services for small Businesses

NIST 800-171 was established after FISM (Federal Information Security Management Act) was passed in 2003.It is a unit of US Commerce Department. NIST is represented as (National Institute of Standards and Technology). The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created Special Publication 800-171 to help protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).Its goal was to protect the Legal information of Business man, citizens, and government. It also provides Services for a small businesses. NIST 800-171 services for small business helps the US Government to attain the confidence of small businessman in US states which lead them towards achieving their goals.

Whenever the government comes up with new compliance regulations, it becomes difficult task or hypertension for businesses, especially small ones, to oblige in a timely manner. Fortunately, NIST 800-171 services for small business is not so much complicated to comply with.

Fundamentally, Department of Defense (DOD) wants businesses who are dealing with Covered Defense Information (CDI) to take their IT and online security seriously. This regulation is a step that DOD has taken to insure businesses safeguard the confidential information in an effective manner.

NIST 800-171 services for small business proposed framework which outlines how your information systems and policies are required to be set up to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Here’s what you can do to ensure compliance with NIST 800-171.

Preliminary Feasibility Assessment:

First and foremost, you need to determine whether you and your IT staff are qualified enough to access your business information system and policies in an objective manner. Secondly, if that’s the case, the next question you need to answer is whether your time, human and financial resources are worth doing it on your own. If not, you can always outsource your IT DOD compliance to a company which can expedite the process making the transition cheaper and faster.

Where to Begin:

If you have decided to take up the IT compliance process manually, all you have to do is follow the below steps:

  1. Identifying & Categorizing Information Systems
  2. Carry out through assessment and locate the information system in your business network which holds CUI. This includes local storage such as SharePoint and CIFS files, cloud storage such as Dropbox, even portable hard disk. Once you have identified every information system, categorize specific files that align with definitions of CUI and isolate them from unqualified information. This will assist you in demonstrating NIST 800-171 compliance to concerned personnel or authorities in the event of an audit.

  3. Encrypting Data & Limiting Access
  4. Next, you need to put in to place access controls and ensure their implementation. They only authorized employees can, access, see, download and share files containing CUI. Furthermore, assign expiration dates to files and folders that have CUI to restrict access once a particular project or task has been completed. Encrypt all of your data, whether it is being sent or simply stored. This is a relatively simple way to add an additional layer of security over CUI, the information systems on which your data is stored, and the protocols responsible for transmitting your data.

  5. Training & Monitoring Employees
  6. Regularly conduct a formal mandatory training course for new and existing employees about the basics of information exchange governance along with best practices. Make sure that all of your employees know the security risk related to their day-to-day task management involving CUI. Make them aware about the decisions that can put CUI at risk.

    Next step is related to monitoring. Put initiatives in place so you are aware who is accessing CUI and for what purpose. NIST 800-171 services for small business to monitor the actions of individual users so they can be traced for accountability purposes, intentional or unintentional.

  7. Have an Incident Response plan in place
  8. An Incident Response plan simply outlines your reaction protocol in the event of a cyber-attack or insider investigation. This is the step where small business mostly becomes overconfident only to find out later that the entire process should have been outsourced in first place. Your Incident Response Plan makes easy to document and identify issues.

    Last Words

    Being NIST 800-171 compliant is mandatory for small business who are DOD contractors or sub-contractors to a DOD contractor. You first need to determine if you want to initiate the compliance process in house and spend services or outsource the compliance process to services provider who specializes in this area. Bring all small business to DOD’s NIST 800-271 services for small business compliance requirements do not have to be headache.