What is Important to Know About NIST 800-171?

Adherence to security protocols is nothing new for people who work in federal cyber and data security circles. NIST SP 800-53 has been around for a while, and edition 5 is in the final official draught. The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Publication 200 control categories and the NIST SP 800-53 basic security control baseline served as the foundation for the security controls outlined in NIST 800-171, which are simpler to understand. The controls in SP 800-171 are focused on preserving CDI’s secrecy, but integrity and availability shouldn’t be disregarded as they are fundamental components of an information security program. Since these controls can be complicated to understand, DoD companies prefer hiring CMMC consulting firms.

Although NIST 800-171 only covers a portion of the standards outlined in NIST 800-53, it is a complicated process to comply with, particularly for small and medium-sized federal contractors. 110 security standards are outlined in NIST 800-171 over 14 control families. The following are some of the specifications that government vendors should pay close attention to since they demand more effort to comply with (either technically, procedurally or both):

Accountability and Audit (3.3.5 and 3.3.6): A crucial area of government control is auditing. The who, what, when and where of operations on an information system are revealed through audit events. The contractor (and the government) are essentially left in the dark when attempting to reconstruct events that transpired on the network in aid of an investigation without the inspection logs recording the activities happening on the information system. The correlation between the auditing process, assessment, and reporting processes is outlined in requirements 3.3.5 and 3.3.6, which also outline the necessity of audit reporting and reduction to allow on-demand analysis and reporting.

This goes beyond the conventional method of configuring the information system’s components to produce Syslog events and deliver them to a centralized Syslog server. The inspection and analysis procedure must make the substance of the audit logs known to the contractors. To facilitate “on-demand analysis,” specific activities of interest must be recognized, selected from the comprehensive audit information collection (reduced), and reported on. There are various technical ways to meet these criteria. Still, contractors shouldn’t undervalue the time it takes to comprehend the systems’ auditing capabilities, configure them properly, and create a baseline – all of which must be done before a technical execution can be implemented.

Multifactor authentication (MFA) for internal and network access is required by Identification and Authentication (3.5.3). There are numerous MFA options available, and it’s nice to know that neither a DOD Common Access Card (CAC) nor a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) from the federal government is necessary. MFA needs to be a well-integrated architectural solution for the system that communicates, analyzes, and retains CDI. Users already find passwords, and the complex regulations they must follow are frustrating. While adding another layer of authentication is vital, if it is not handled in a way that has minimal adverse effects on users, it may cause more user annoyance.

The requirement is for an “operational” incident handling capability, with “operational” denoting that the issue handling capability is functional and addresses every stage of the incident management process. Incident Response (3.6.1). A shelf-ware plan and set of procedures cannot support incident handling as a standalone program. CMMC compliance and cybersecurity incident handling is a specialist field that requires specialized knowledge and technical proficiency.

A group of people from administration down to those with the technical know-how to conduct forensics, solve the issue, and restore the system are also involved. To keep up with the constant changes in people and technology within a company, the plan must be periodically used (preferably quarterly). All employees of the incident management team must take part in an exercise at least once a year, even if it is not a lengthy or time-consuming occurrence.

Assessment of security (3.12.1 and 3.12.3): The system’s security controls must be “regularly assessed” and “monitored…on an ongoing basis” to make sure they remain functional. Put simply, start a regimen of ongoing observation. Constant monitoring necessitates active participation from organizational workers, including network and security administrators, just like incident response. Controls that address the system’s high-risk areas should be regularly monitored, while SP 800-171 is not prescriptive about which controls must be scanned or how frequently (e.g., at least monthly).

One instance is maintaining the security settings for information system components (see 3.4.2). Security configurations, such as system hardening, must be supported continuously and consistently. This is a useful control to automate as well. Automate as much of the program for continuous monitoring as you can.…

What is Information Security Governance, and why should businesses be Aware of it?

Buzzwords such as “information security governance,” “cyber security organizational structure,” and “CMMC government contracting” may seem hip but have no real practical application. A governance framework for information security, then, what is that? And how do governance and compliance differ from one another?

An organization’s daily operations involve managing its employees, goals, and corporate strategy. A company’s governance model establishes how it will be administered. An information security administration system is how security is handled and managed within a company regarding your information security strategy.

Compliance can be viewed as the “what” – the obligations or goals you are working toward. The “how-to” of meeting industry requirements for cybersecurity and IT accountability frameworks can be envisioned as an information security governance framework. Defining a company’s regulations, rules, and practices to consider a variety of the organization’s IT compliance needs is the goal of a competent information security governance framework.

What Justifies Information Security Governance?

Priorities and goals in business conflict. Customer happiness, profit ratios, and sales and revenue should be an organization’s primary priority. However, suppose information security is not incorporated into every part of your business, entrenched in every discussion, and seen as a critical component of your company’s and product’s strategy. In that case, you risk each of those values in today’s environment of greater reliance on information technology. 

If for no other motive than to reduce the danger of becoming the subject of a subsequent security breach, you must have an information security management structure to compete in today’s technologically driven world.

Businesses frequently have conflicting compliance responsibilities on top of their duties to maintain the lights on. As more businesses outsource services and technology, there is a greater demand for compliance and evidence of compliance. Although there are many standards, HIPAA, HITRUST, and GDPR frequently top the list.

What Advantages Does Information Security Governance Offer?

Information security governance has the advantages of assisting with priority alignment, removing duplication, and lowering inefficiencies. When properly implemented, an information security governance framework considers a company’s strategy, operations, and compliance needs. It offers a structure to manage the goals of each in a balanced and systematic way.

What Are Frameworks for Compliance?

The well-known IT regulatory standards are probably already recognizable to you. Does the list of regulations ever end, including SOC 1 and 2, HIPAA, HITRUST, FEDRAMP, NIST, NIST CSF, CMMC compliance, PCI, ISO 27001, GDPR, and CCPA? Several IT compliance frameworks are regarded as setting the bar for the industry. Navigating through it can be stressful and overwhelming. Each was created with various but related goals in mind.

As an illustration, SOC 2 was created as a way for service businesses to show they have safeguards to reduce risks to their services. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants created the SOC 2 criteria (AICPA). However, HIPAA was established mainly to offer national guidelines for preserving the confidentiality and anonymity of electronic health records. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implements federal law as the foundation for HIPAA’s regulations (HHS).

The norms and criteria are customized to fit the given compliance framework based on the specified aim. CMMC report can serve as a great starting point for the controls that must be in place to prove compliance with the DFARS Security Rule in the DFARS Vs CMMC example because both frameworks address data security risks. However, other controls should be taken into account specifically for CMMC.…