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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) advises on technology standards and sensitive data protection. NIST helps keep information safe while establishing uniformity in the way cybersecurity is addressed across public and private sectors, protecting networks from malware, ransomware, cyberattacks and internal or external threats. For Federal agencies and their supporting contractors, NIST compliance isn’t just a recommendation – it’s both a roadmap and a mandate to adhere to benchmark security controls for information systems.

The benefit of NIST cloud computing security compliance in protecting data is clear, but the framework also helps Federal agencies meet compliance requirements for other regulations, like HIPAA. Should an organization fail to maintain compliance with NIST, it could mean declined proposals, termination of contracts, legal risk, and reputational damage. Best then to follow the guidelines, but what makes a business NIST cloud computing security compliant?

NIST Cloud Computing Security Compliance Depends on Your Data Needs and Sensitivity

NIST guidelines are often developed to address specific regulations, like FISMA or FedRAMP, that are required of government contractors and Federal agencies needing to meet strict security controls on confidential data. FISMA and FedRAMP are just two of these controls (discover the difference between FISMA and FedRAMP). The regulations an agency must follow will vary depending on their mission and security needs. For FISMA compliance, NIST directs organizations to:

  1. Maintain an Inventory of Information Systems
  2. Categorize Information Systems
  3. Develop a System Security Plan
  4. Utilize Security Controls
  5. Conduct Risk Assessments
  6. Achieve Certification and Accreditation
  7. Perform Continuous Monitoring

Our complete FISMA compliance checklist can provide you with further detail on these guidelines. Two NIST special publications, 800-53 and 800-171, help clarify what compliance regulations are required of different organizations based on their unique circumstances. NIST even publishes a National Checklist Program Repository that provides detailed guidance on setting security configurations of operating systems and applications for various industries, products, and categories.

How to Become NIST Cloud Computing Security Compliant

Independent verification via a third-party audit is a crucial step to achieving NIST compliance. After determining which designation(s) you must meet, the NIST compliance specialist can conduct a full review of your organization’s systems and cloud computing security framework (assessment phase), and then create a roadmap specific for your mission and requirements (creating NIST compliant access controls). The plan will further include ongoing controls to maintain compliance (audit documentation), so that your organization can continue working with the Federal government in good standing.

NIST cloud computing security compliance is critical for organizations operating in the Federal sphere, but compliance is complex. GovDataHosting can help you navigate the regulations and ensure you meet or exceed every standard required by NIST cloud computing security solutions. Speak with one of our NIST compliance specialists to see how our managed government information assurance services can help you maintain your ATO.

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