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How to be NIST Special Publication 800-171 Compliant

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.

Creating and requiring the NIST Special Publication 800-171, which is a general framework of procedures to protect government information, particularly called Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), vital information that are accessible to service operators and are basically used in the federal government’s day-to-day operations, and, thus, the Defense Department aims to achieve total cyber security protection and compliance from these outsourced providers. These outsource service providers are hired to perform many routine works, such as the processing, storing and transmitting of federal information in their information computer system, delivering these data information (for example, providing credit card and financial services, providing Web and electronic mail services, conducting background investigations for security clearances, processing healthcare, providing cloud services, developing communications satellite and weapons systems) to federal agencies and, therefore, it is of paramount importance that a system be adopted to protect the sensitivity of this form of work by way of requiring all outsourced service providers to be compliant to NIST Special Publication 800-171.

To be NIST Special Publication 800-171 compliant, as a hired government contractor, you can either follow the step-by-step process requirements, using these procedures – gap analysis and providing an incident response plan, or hire a professional group to help you comply with the requirement.

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.

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