Brief Explainer: What is NIST Compliance?

Brief Explainer: What is NIST Compliance
Have you ever heard of NIST? It stands for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is a non-regulatory government agency that develops technology, metrics, and standards to drive innovation and economic competitiveness at U.S.-based organizations in the science and technology industry. Among other things, NIST produces standards and guidelines to help federal agencies meet the Federal Information Security Management Act requirements.
NIST is a key resource for technological advancement and security at many of the country’s most innovative organizations. With that said, compliance with NIST standards and guidelines has become a top priority in many high-tech industries today. Being compliant with NIST regulations is a must for any business aiming to land contracts with larger federal agencies. To win federal government contracts, companies have to prove that they comply with the strictest standards against the threat landscape.

What does it mean to be NIST compliant?

In many cases, complying with NIST guidelines and recommendations will help companies ensure compliance with other regulations, such as HIPAA, FISMA, or SOX. NIST guidelines are elaborated to help agencies meet specific regulatory compliance requirements. For example, NIST has outlined nine steps toward FISMA compliance:
  • Categorize the data and information you need to protect
  • Develop a baseline for the minimum controls required to protect that information
  • Conduct risk assessments to refine your baseline controls
  • Document your baseline controls in a written security plan
  • Roll out security controls to your information systems
  • Once implemented, monitor performance to measure the efficacy of security controls
  • Determine agency-level risk based on your assessment of security controls
  • Authorize the information system for processing
  • Continuously monitor your security controls
  • NIST compliance for small and mid-sized businesses.

    NIST compliance can be beneficial for SMBs even if they have no intention to work with government institutions. Adopting the NIST Security Framework helps SMBs understand cybersecurity better and implement the best practices for more reliable data protection. It results in better customer service and keeping a decent business reputation. If your company lacks the resources and expertise to meet NIST standards, we can help you finish that checklist. Just give us a message.
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