Understanding NIST 800-171 Compliance for Cyber Security: Process & Benefits

On 8 Jun., 2022

Cyber security challenges panning throughout the world has left several questions unanswered.

Understanding NIST 800-171 Compliance for Cyber Security: Process & Benefits

Cyber security challenges panning throughout the world has left several questions unanswered. In the matters of security, parameters need scale up for protecting safety interests from large-scale violations and prevent breach into serious administrative requisites. NIST 800-171 compliance serves one of those crucial ways to protect the confidentiality of CUI or Controlled Unclassified Information.

The CUI or unclassified information in the nonfederal system must be protected, which contains military or space-related technical information. As said in some quarters, CUI program has ‘significantly simplified’ as compared to agencies way of rules and regulations, markings, information classifications and so on.

NIST SP 800-171 Briefly Explained

National Institute of Standards and Technology – NIST Special Publication 800-171 – governs CUI storage, process, and transmission in nonfederal organizations and information systems. To explain it simply – it is the defined and streamlined security requirements for safeguarding and distributing CUI or Controlled Unclassified Information in nonfederal organizations, such as defense contractor companies, partners, etc.

NIST SP 800-171 Compliance

In the above it clearly highlights which are the entities that deal with CUI. The DFARS or Defense Federal Acquisition Supplement clause requires these entities, whether companies, contractors or organizations, to comply with NIST 800-171 for CUI. Not doing so will have a risk-impact of losing Dept. of Defense contracts. DFARS also requires even lower-tier contractors to report breaches or incidents in the cyber space within 72 hours of discovery to Dept. of Defense.

As a matter of fact, various organizations that don’t comply with NIST 800-171 regulations have less chances of getting contracts. Therefore, every contracting organization must fulfill NIST 800-171 compliance requirements, which involves strengthening system access security, employee education and training, configuring system security settings, installing risk analysis and monitoring software, and different measures of preventing CUI breach.

What is the impact of non-compliance?

Every contracting organization wants to learn the best methods of acquiring projects. However, they miss out on several reasons, including this major reason of non-compliance. Perhaps, a bit of detailing is necessary for those who want to rush into decisions without thinking twice.

Even active contracts are terminated by Dept. of Defense in case of non-compliance. As it happens, any violation of contracts may lead to severe fines and penalties, creating a further impact of rejections in the future. On the other hand, a contracting or subcontracting company solidifies its presence by following NIST 800-171 compliance and CMMC certification standards.

How to make your organization NIST 800-171 compliant

Some of the key areas or components of NIST 800-171 include access control, awareness and training, incident response, risk assessment, personnel security, system and communication protection, etc.

If you are into CUI and cyber-related procedures in defense and space, you will require expertise in information security and industrial applications to help with training, assessment and gap analysis. As a result, it will further lead to compliance program management and procedure development, followed by compliance monitoring. You need expert consultants in NIST 800-171, ITAR and EAR compliance programs.

Author Info:-

Linqs Group discusses why every contracting or nonfederal organization for CUI needs NIST 800-171 compliance. In addition to that, he highlights a bit about CMMC certification with respect to current cyber security networks and challenges attached to it. One is likely to gain upper-hand with top-notch security access systems and monitoring solutions.