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What is NIST?

What is NIST?

The world of cybersecurity is often shrouded in mystery, but that doesn’t help your organization stay compliant and safe. The Data Magic team is always looking for ways to help make cybersecurity more approachable for our clients.

We often receive questions around government cybersecurity standards, with one of the key concerns being NIST. What exactly is NIST, and how will it impact your organization?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, is a non-regulatory federal agency that is considered a part of the Department of Commerce. Within NIST’s purview are the methods and standards for promoting U.S. industrial competitiveness and innovation, as well as protecting data and business application standards.

Your organization is considered to be in compliance with NIST standards by following the recommendations set forth in the Special Publications (SP) 800-series. While these standards are controls are generally for information systems at federal agencies, they have been widely adopted in the corporate world as best-practices.

How Does NIST Address Cybersecurity Concerns?

The NIST Special Publication 800-171 is considered the common standard for cybersecurity protocols that govern controlled, unclassified information. This type of information is found in most organizations, and these standards address how to handle and store material that is deemed sensitive, but not classified. This information is sensitive and relevant to the United States, but not strictly regulated by the federal government.

This particular standard was developed after the Federal Information Security Management Act, or FISMA, was passed in 2002. Eventually, the standards were upgraded in 2014 to the Federal Information Security Modernization Act, or FISMA 2014. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has full authority over the implementation and administration of policies for organizations throughout the country.

How Does the Federal Data Classification Process Work?

One of the key concerns for corporations around the world is the safety of various data points within an organization. As data is moved between business applications, customers, staff members and vendors, there are multiple points of potential failure for your security. The data classification methodology used by the federal government includes sorting data according to the level of confidentiality, the integrity that needs to be protected within data sets and the availability of data access and how it will need to be used.

The level of security needed for data sets is generally determined based on the most secure data that is being stored. For instance, if you are storing or sending personal health information, you will need a greater level of protection for your data sets than if you were gathering impersonal data points that could not be traced back to an individual.

How Can the Data Magic Team Help Improve My Company’s Security?

As a proactive team of IT and security professionals, the Data Magic team is constantly searching for new ways to maintain a high degree of security for our clients. We work closely with internal IT teams and business partners to ensure our clients gain access to best-practice standards for data and business application security. Contact us at (469) 635-5500 to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.

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