Mastering FISMA Compliance: How NIST SP 800-53 Elevates Security And Privacy

If you have ever experienced a data breach, you know it is one of the most unpleasant experiences ever. Data breaches can risk your identity, finances, and personal information. Unauthorized parties could also have access to your intellectual property or trade secrets, putting you in danger. Imagine if that happened to one of the federal organizations that handle crucial information about the U.S.

The rise in technological advancement has caused its fair share of challenges. Unlike in the past, today, national adversaries are developing technological proficiency very fast. That’s why the NIST Special Publication 800-53 is compulsory for the federal information systems in the US. Organizations operating information systems with regulated or sensitive data should also adopt these guidelines. So, how does NIST SP 800-53 elevate security and privacy?

Read on.

What Is NIST 800-53

NIST 800-53 is a comprehensive security compliance standard developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The institute joined forces with the U.S. Department of Commerce to create this publication to offer protection against threats like hostile attacks and natural disasters.

It has since evolved to merge security and privacy controls and to enhance integration with other risk mitigation and cyber security procedures. NIST aligns with the standards of Federation Information Processing. (FIPS). Abiding by the NIST standard also translates to the federal organizations complying with the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA).

How NIST 800-53 Elevates Security And Privacy

NIST aims to protect operations, individuals, assets, and the United States from various cyber threats. It focuses on natural disasters, hostile attacks, and human errors.

So, let’s see how NIST SP 800-53 achieves that.

It Has A Comprehensive Control Catalog

NIST SP 800-53 framework has well-detailed privacy and security controls. It covers a wide range of areas that include but are not limited to:

  • Incident response
  • Access control
  • Configuring management
  • Continuous monitoring
  • Cryptography

The controls allow organizations to establish privacy and security within their operating systems.

Security Control Families

Security Control Families

These are families addressing particular security aspects. NIST SP 800-53 families are organized in a way that makes it easier for organizations to pick and implement the most suitable controls for their operations. Examples of families include:

  • Audit and accountability – It tracks and monitors system activities.
  • Access control – Manages access to data and information systems
  • Configuration management – Establishes and maintains a secure configuration for information systems.
  • Incident response and management – It manages security incidents as well as effectively responding to them.

Risk-Based Approach

This framework follows a risk-based approach that encourages organizations to analyze their unique risks. The organizations then choose controls that are relevant to their specific contact. A risk-based approach helps organizations allocate their resources effectively and proactively identify and mitigate risks, among other benefits.

Tailoring And Customization

Since different organizations have unique needs, NIST SP 800-53 allows organizations to customize their privacy controls. The framework ensures that organizations use effective and appropriate measures that align with their context.

Continuous Monitoring

The framework ensures that privacy and security controls undergo continuous assessment and monitoring. It sees to it that organizations are vigilant to identify and address any threats, vulnerabilities, and environmental changes that could affect security.

Security Control Baselines

NIST SP 800-53 has three district control baselines. The three offer different levels of security depending on how critical or sensitive the information an organization is protecting. It begins with the institution choosing their desired baseline and then customizing it to their preference. The baselines include:

  • Low – In which loss would cause a limited adverse impact
  • Moderate – Where loss would have a serious adverse impact
  • High – Where the effect will be catastrophic

Integration With Risk Management

Integration With Risk Managementc

The framework is closely linked to risk management procedures. It directs organizations on how they will conduct risk assessments to recognize potential vulnerabilities and implement controls that can mitigate the risks. Through integration, organizations can make informed decisions about resource allocation.

Aligning With Industry Standards

NIST SP 800-53 is in alignment with other relevant guidelines and standards to foster interoperability. It makes it easier for organizations to integrate recommendations in the NIST framework into their existing security programs.

Evolving To Address Emerging Threats

To stay current with the threats and technologies of cyber security, NIST regularly revises and updates  SP 800-53. It is a way to ensure that organizations are aware of the latest procedures and can address new challenges effectively.

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Abdul Aziz Mondol is a professional blogger who is having a colossal interest in writing blogs and other jones of calligraphies. In terms of his professional commitments, he loves to share content related to business, finance, technology, and the gaming niche.

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