NIST 800-171 Compliance in South Florida
If you’re wondering how to implement NIST 800-171 compliance requirements in your organization, you came to the right post. As you may be aware, it is mandatory for all external contractors working under federal contracts to comply with NIST 800-171 requirements in South Florida.
In this short yet comprehensive guide, we take a deeper dive to understand what NIST 800-171 is, its benefits, and compliance best practices. Let’s get started!
What Is NIST 800-171?
NIST or the National Institute of Standards and Technology is a non-regulatory agency whose mission is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness. The agency establishes and oversees the implementation of guidelines on several topics, including cybersecurity.
Today, we’ll solely focus on one of the agency’s special publications – NIST 800-171. It provides the recommended guidelines and best practices that federal contractors and subcontractors must imply to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) confidentiality.
In essence, if you or a company you partner with has a contract with any South Florida federal agency, then you’re mandated to implement the NIST 800-171 recommended requirements. That’s the only means of guaranteeing that you’ve put in place maximal security to protect the classified information included in the federal contracts. Thus, enhancing multilateral security posture.
Below are some of the contractors and organizations that need to comply with NIST 800-171 requirements:
- Department of Defense (DoD) contractors
- General Service Administration (GSA) contractors
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contractors
- South Florida research and learning institutes receiving federal grants
- Manufacturing companies under the federal or state agency’s supply chain
- Lastly, consultants and other service providers with federal contracts
What Are the Benefits of Compliance?
Complying with NIST 800-171 recommended standards comes with some fantastic incentives you can’t afford to forfeit. The most obvious one is that compliant companies get the go-ahead to bid government contracts but stand at a higher ground to winning them, as well. From a security perspective, you also want to meet the compliance standards for the following reasons:
- Complying helps organizations enhance their data and network security. That way, they eliminate or suppress the chances of cyber-attacks like ransomware, phishing, and malware.
- Complying with NIST standards also makes it easy to comply with other federal or industrial regulations. For instance, by complying with NIST 800-171, you automatically meet HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) prerequisite standards.
- NIST 800-171 also serves as a rock-solid framework for protecting sensitive data and managing risks.
How Do You Implement NIST 800-171 in South Florida?
If you’re a business or company in South Florida eyeing federal contracts, implementing the steps discussed below is the right pathway towards that course.
Step 1: Identify and Define the CUI You Should Manage
The primary reason for complying with NIST 800-171 standards in the first place is to protect CUI. Therefore, you’ll start by marking all the systems and networks that store or transmit CUI within your organization. While at it, you want to assess their security statuses; are they airtight enough to hold CUI?
Step 2: Categorize CUI
So far, you’ve identified the systems that all sorts of data get stored or transferred, right? Next, separate the data that qualifies as controlled unclassified information from those that don’t. This exercise reduces the amount of effort and time you’ll spend securing CUI.
Step 3: Implement the Necessary Controls
Here, you want to encrypt all sensitive data and files to match NIST 800-171 standards. That way, you can convince the regulator that CUI is beyond unauthorized users’ reach. Ensure to implement the access controls for encrypting CUI wherever it’s stored, more so in your file sharing, storage, and hard drive solutions.
Step 4: Monitor Your CUI
NIST 800-171 compliance doesn’t stop after implementing the required controls. Then, your next assignment should be constant monitoring CUI to watch out for any security breaches. This involves auditing all your activities on CUI data and sounding an alarm over any abnormally.
ECW Is Here to Help!
The NIST 800-171 framework is rich in technical elements requiring a professional touch from a reliable managed security services provider. Indeed, that’s where we come into play. We’ll efficiently handle the challenging work like implementing the required security controls and training your employees, enabling you to win that federal contract unrivaled and remain compliant.
If you’re a South Florida contractor or sub-contractor looking for a hassle-free, efficient, and affordable means of complying with NIST 800-171, ECW is your trusted MSSP. Thus, contact us today for the best solution.
ECW Computers is an information technology company. Headquartered in Deerfield Beach, FL, we specialize in providing unique, specially-tailored Managed IT solutions to businesses in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami and across South Florida.