What is NIST 800-53?
NIST 800-53 is published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which creates and promotes the standards used by federal agencies to implement the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and manage other programs designed to protect information and promote information security. Agencies are expected to meet NIST guidelines and standards within one year of publication. This is also a commonly used standard by many commercial organizations. NIST 800-53 is also known as NIST Special Publication 800-53.
Why NIST 800-53?
The implementation of appropriate security controls for an information system is an important task that can have major implications on the operations and assets of an organization. Security controls are the management, operational, and technical safeguards or countermeasures prescribed for an information system to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the system and its information. There are several important questions that should be answered by organizational officials when addressing the security considerations for their information systems:
- What security controls are needed to adequately protect the information systems that support the operations and assets of the organization in order to accomplish its assigned mission, protect its assets, fulfill its legal responsibilities, maintain its day-to-day functions, and protect individuals?
- Have the selected security controls been implemented or is there a realistic plan for their implementation?
- What is the desired or required level of assurance (i.e., grounds for confidence) that the selected security controls, as implemented, are effective3 in their application?
Effective IT Security Programs
Should include the following…
- Periodic assessments of risk, including the magnitude of harm that could result from the unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction of information and information systems that support the operations and assets of the organization;
- Policies and procedures that are based on risk assessments, cost-effectively reduce information security risks to an acceptable level, and ensure that information security is addressed throughout the life cycle of each organizational information system;
- Subordinate plans for providing adequate information security for networks, facilities, information systems, or groups of information systems, as appropriate;
- Security awareness training to inform personnel (including contractors and other users of information systems that support the operations and assets of the organization) of the information security risks associated with their activities and their responsibilities in complying with organizational policies and procedures designed to reduce these risks;
- Periodic testing and evaluation of the effectiveness of information security policies, procedures, practices, and security controls to be performed with a frequency depending on risk, but no less than annually;
- A process for planning, implementing, evaluating, and documenting remedial actions to address any deficiencies in the information security policies, procedures, and practices of the organization;
- Procedures for detecting, reporting, and responding to security incidents; and
- Plans and procedures to ensure continuity of operations for information systems that support the operations and assets of the organization.
It is critical today that companies understand what their risk profile is in regards to cybersecurity. MainNerve’s technicians act with your security, IT and other assigned POCs to extract the information necessary to compile an accurate portrayal of your risk and to offer recommendations for mitigation. With our in-house risk assessment templates and off site (or on site) customer interviews we identify critical strengths and possible vulnerabilities and determine the potential risk involved if a vulnerability were acted upon by an outside actor. Additionally, we review policies and trainings, and interview key staff to gain as much information as we can about the organization and then help the client by providing suggestions for ways to mitigate the risk and reducing their vulnerabilities. For those customers that are lacking in resources MainNerve can even provide policy templates for organizations that are lacking in this area.