The Importance of NIST Compliance for MSPs and SMBs


Does your business meet the mark on NIST compliance?

The NIST, or National Institute of Standards and Technology, is a federal agency focused on innovation and security in the science and technology fields. And as part of this overarching mission, they’ve set out cybersecurity guidelines that help businesses safeguard their data and adapt to the rapidly evolving technology landscape.

For Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), NIST compliance serves as a basic threshold that should be met in order to ensure ongoing data security. But to achieve it, you need to know exactly what’s expected of you – plus the benefits of taking these essential protective steps.

Here’s what to know, including why when it comes to the NIST, MSP and SMB organizations should always make compliance a top priority.

What Does NIST Do?

The goal of the NIST is to help standardize cybersecurity practices across industries, and particularly for any business that interacts with government data. In doing so, they support the establishment of stronger, safer systems, as well as increased economic security in the data and technology fields.

What is NIST Compliance?

Compliance with NIST standards refers specifically to compliance with the NIST 800-53 publication. This documents lays out key security controls for businesses to put in place, including best practices related to:

  • Contingency planning
  • Access controls
  • Incident response
  • Audits and accountability
  • User identification and authentication
  • System maintenance
  • Security controls training
  • Configuration management

Any business can benefit from NIST 800-53 compliance, but especially any business that currently handles government data or may do so in the future. In fact, some government contracts may require NIST compliance in order to qualify, or at least prioritize bids from companies who can prove that they do comply.

Importance of NIST for MSPs and SMBs

Even if you have no plans to take on a government contract with your MSP or SMB, complying with NIST cybersecurity standards is still a good idea for shoring up your data infrastructure for preventing and responding to data breaches and attacks.

By integrating NIST best practices into your own internal processes, you take a lot of the guesswork out of how you’re going to keep your IT systems safe. Things like providing comprehensive training to employees and setting out a clear contingency plan are a must in today’s technology-based world, and are outlined in detail in the NIST 800-53.

Use the NIST standards as a baseline for your MSP’s or SMB’s cybersecurity policy. And if you want to take it a step further, demonstrate compliance via a third-party NIST security assessment or an approved self-assessment (or both).

Get Help Building a Better Cybersecurity Policy for Small Business

Just because a business is small doesn’t mean that it doesn’t handle a lot of data.

No matter the size of your business or your industry, make sure that you’re doing everything that you can to safeguard your data and the data of your customers. This includes complying with the NIST cybersecurity framework so that you can efficiently protect your data and respond to and recover from data breaches if and when they occur.

Just as important is to pursue dedicated IT support for actually incorporating NIST standards into your policy. And that’s where we can help. Learn about our legal IT related services, or contact us for information on how we can put together a tailored plan for boosting your company’s data security policy and making sure that you have adequate protections in place.

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