Knowing NIST Special Publication 800-171 and Its Requirements
At the rate that many qualified service operators have been outsourced by the US federal government to do a wide range of projects and business functions that rely heavily on the federal government’s information system, a new major requirement is being insisted on by the Department of Defense on these service operators, whether they are contractors or subcontractors, so that they take necessary measures on cyber security as they are in access to the government’s Covered Defense Information (CDI) and that as early or on December 31, 2017, all their systems must be NIST Special Publication 800-171compliant.
NIST Special Publication 800-171 is an outlined general procedure and information that delineates how information systems and policies are to be set-up and complied by service operators to protect government information, particularly called Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), which can directly affect the normal activities of the federal government to successfully deliver its operations. Many delicate and routine processing works are being done by outsourced service providers for the federal government, such as the following: providing financial services, Web, electronic email, cloud services, background investigations for security clearances, processing healthcare and developing communications satellite systems and weapons systems, all of these are serious data information that must pass and comply through government security clearance by way of NIST Special Publication 800-171.
If you are one of these hired contractors, you need to comply with the requirement or else you lose your precious contract, thus, here are suggested steps that can be taken to start in the compliance procedure: perform a gap analysis and establish an incident response plan.
The gap analysis is a security analysis which you need to work through all of the controls based on the NIST Special Publication 800-171 and check where your project and performance is compliant and where you have to put work on areas that need to comply and which involves discussing this with your staff, investigating on your network maps and configurations and comparing and checking with the compliance checklist, especially in the processing of Controlled Unclassified Information and other vital information specifically mentioned by NIST Special Publication 800-171. It is important that you have a thorough gap analysis and report of the overall investigation of your system so that changes can be introduced such as a two factor authentication to make sure that there are no shared passwords and that an incident response plan will also be required which is providing solutions in situations when there is a cyber intrusion or when there is an insider investigation.