What Is NIST 800-53?

NIST 800-53 is a recommended set of security controls and assessment procedures created by the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST).  NIST 800-53 works alongside NIST 800-37, which was developed to provide federal agencies and contractors with guidance on implementing risk management programs. NIST 800-53 compliance focuses on the controls which can be used along with the risk management framework outlined in 800-37.


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Who Must Pursue NIST 800-53 Compliance?

NIST 800-53 is designed to address the security and privacy requirements/controls for federal agencies and their information systems. With that said, any organization that works with the federal government is also required to comply with NIST 800-53 to maintain the relationship.

NIST 800-53 Control Classes and Families

NIST 800-53 categorizes into three classes, Low, Moderate, and High, based on the level of adverse impact if lost. From there, controls are further split into 18 security control families, allowing organizations to select only the controls that are most applicable to their requirements:

NIST 800-53 Compliance Meeting

How to use NIST 800-53 to help secure your data

NIST 800-53 is just a starting point for developing a secure organizational infrastructure, and is by no means the ultimate goal.

NIST guidelines recommend that you should assess all of your data and prioritize the most sensitive and urgent matters first to build out your security program. Some things you can do to help build a secure infrastructure are:

Analyze: First you must understand the threat that are facing your data. A good starting point is utilizing solutions that automate the monitoring of the NIST 800 series compliance. 

Educate: In order for your business to become compliant, your employees need to become compliant as well. Educating them is key. You can utilize software solutions to remind staff about unsafe behavior to help prevent careless actions from violating NIST 800-53 standards. 

Assess: The most difficult part of compliance is maintaining your posture. Utilize tools that allow you to measure and assess your security processes so that you can stay on top of any deviations from your required compliance standards.

Let Red Lion Assist in your NIST 800-53 Compliance

Do you still have questions regarding NIST 800-53? Our compliance professionals can help you to understand and comply with the NIST 800-53, regardless of complexity.

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Other Regulations & Services That You May Be Interested In:


Federal Information Security Management Act


National Institute for Standards and Technology Cyber Security Framework
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