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FISMA is one of the most crucial data security regulations to impact the U.S. government and its supporting contractors. Compliance ensures the federal systems that collect, circulate, and store data adhere to a set of standard safety and security controls. But if you’re an agency or organization subject to FISMA, how do you maintain compliance or check for non-compliance? It’s a meticulous process that can be broken down into seven component parts. This is our summarized FISMA compliance lifecycle checklist that can help you define the security parameters relevant to your organization’s level of risk.

  1. Maintain an Inventory of Information Systems

Put together a detailed list of the information systems you use (including date of purchase, upgrades, and repairs) and how they interact with other systems in a network.

  1. Categorize Information Systems

Classify these systems according to confidentiality, integrity, and availability, then further stratify them into low, medium, and high risk level to align sensitive data with the appropriate security ranking.

  1. Develop a System Security Plan

Compose a plan outlining your organization’s security policies, which should be continually updated to reflect reviews, modifications, timetables, and milestones for implementing additional controls.

  1. Utilize Security Controls

Implement security controls relevant to your objectives, risk tolerance, and operational environment, including authentication, personnel security, configuration management, incident response, and accountability.

  1. Conduct Risk Assessments

Assess and validate your security controls to identify any potential gaps and weaknesses. Are additional controls needed to better protect data, assets, and organizational operations?

  1. Achieve Certification and Accreditation

Demonstrate your rigorous system documentation and properly functioning controls through review and certification. After a successful audit, you will be awarded accreditation.

  1. Perform Continuous Monitoring

Accreditation does not mean completion. Ongoing scrutiny of your security controls and systems is required to manage configurations, scan for vulnerabilities, flag entry points, and report incidents.

Avoid noncompliance with FISMA regulations

Any organization in violation of FISMA regulations, whether a federal agency or contractor, is subject to penalties that could include revocation of contracts, decreased funding, admonition by Congress, limited future opportunities, and reputational harm. Compliance is crucial for mission success. That’s why GovDataHosting offers full FISMA Assessment and Authorization package preparation support for all federal government information systems. Discuss your project with a FISMA compliance expert today.

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