Are Your Systems NIST 800-171 Compliant? What You Need to Know

Are Your Systems NIST 800-171 Compliant? What You Need to Know

May 07, 2020


Reading time
4 mins

If your organization stores federal data on devices and servers, you’re required to comply with guidelines set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST provides guidance to security teams as they set up and monitor their systems. As a supplier in the public sector and owner of a non-government system, these recommendations are designed to help you comply with the guidelines to keep your data secure.

This white paper explains the recent NIST 800-171 guidelines and how to safeguard data or controlled unclassified information in non-government systems against cyberattacks.

What Is NIST?

Founded in 1901, the National Institute of Standards and Technology falls under the U.S. Department of Commerce. For cybersecurity professionals, the agency’s Cybersecurity Framework document has detailed steps that can help you minimize risks. About half of all of the country’s organizations are expected to be using this framework this year.

The framework is so important that the federal government requires that defense contractors and government suppliers, as well as all their subcontractors, comply with NIST’s guidelines. The goal of NIST is to protect any unclassified federal information that may pass across non-governmental servers or systems.

Following NIST 800-171 Guidelines

If you have plans to work with the federal government in any capacity, NIST compliance can help your organization build a secure data system. The latest version of NIST’s guidelines, NIST 800-171, was released in February 2020 and provides updated guidance on protecting information. As the publication points out, federal agencies are working with external service providers more than ever, making it important to maintain comprehensive guidelines.

Government agencies work with many external providers and so do most businesses. In fact, much of the technology used by businesses today is provided by a third party. Your cybersecurity team needs to not only worry about your own efforts to safeguard information, but whether any software you’re using puts your organization at risk of non-compliance. This is especially important as a government contractor or subcontractor, where you’re required to follow guidelines.

By familiarizing yourself with NIST 800-171, your organization can ask the right questions of your solutions providers. If you choose to dig into their documentation, you’ll also know what to look for there. Perhaps most importantly, though, it will give you the guidelines you need when you’re evaluating your providers, letting you check off any who can’t promise NIST 800-171 compliance.

Exabeam and NIST Regulations

Exabeam solutions can directly address any NIST 800-171 compliance concerns. Exabeam Security Management Platform has been built to ensure that all security controls are in place to give you the peace of mind of knowing you’re in full compliance. Below are some details of the sections of NIST 800-171 that Exabeam fulfills.

  • Access Control—Exabeam’s solutions use behavior analytics to detect suspicious behavior.
  • Audit and Accountability—Exabeam’s logging features ensure that you have a full record of all activity.
  • Configuration Management—All users accessing Exabeam solutions are tracked to spot anomalies.
  • Identification and Authentication—Real-time monitoring of activity in an organization quickly identifies unauthorized access.
  • Incident Response—Incident tracking and reporting makes it easy to quickly identify threats and take action.
  • Media Protection—With Exabeam you’ll have a record of any data that’s transferred to an external device.
  • Personnel Security—When an employee leaves, Exabeam sends an alert if access isn’t terminated in a timely manner.
  • Physical Protection—Using Exabeam log connectors, you can identify any unauthorized access to your systems, even if it happens within your own data center or office spaces.
  • Risk Assessment—Monitoring your level of risk can help you prevent issues. Exabeam issues risk scores based on unusual activity.
  • Security Assessment—Once you have your infrastructure in place, Exabeam monitors your systems to detect anomalous activity.
  • System and Communications Protection—If there’s ever unusual activity on your firewalls, Exabeam can monitor for it and alert you to it.

For details on how Exabeam’s solutions protect the organizations using them, download the white paper, “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information with Exabeam”.


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