Home Business What Is NIST Compliance and Why Is It Important?

What Is NIST Compliance and Why Is It Important?


It’s no secret that the world has gone digital. Technological advances have allowed everything to take place online, from keeping up with friends on social media to running businesses. These advances have made so many things easier and more convenient – including undesirable behaviors like hacking. And there are many people in the world that take full advantage of this fact.

Unfortunately, this leads to many issues for your business. Whether you run a small business that caters to your local community or contracts your services to the federal government, you have information in your system that needs to be protected. Sometimes, though, basic security protocols just don’t cut it.

What Is NIST Compliance

NIST or the National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed a set of standards that can help. In short, these standards help organizations secure their systems against ransomware, malware, and other cyber security threats.

While not every business is required to meet these standards, working toward NIST compliance can be a smart move for every business – regardless of size or purpose. Beyond meeting basic but vital security measures, NIST standards help businesses meet certain federal requirements, such as:

  • HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  • SOX or Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • FISMA or Federal Information Security Management Act

You may be thinking that since you don’t work in certain industries, these requirements don’t really apply to you. That may or may not be true, but consider this: if your security protocols are good enough to meet those requirements, you’ve got an effective system in place to protect the information you do have.

Additionally, just because you are not in one of those industries does not mean you’ll never want to do business with a company that is. It also doesn’t mean that you’ll never want to do contract work with the federal government. By putting NIST standards into place now, you’re moving your business towards more opportunities.

NIST Is Not A Comprehensive or One-Time System

Implementing NIST standards is definitely a wise move, but it’s important to understand a few things. First, it doesn’t cover every single cyber security requirement out there. Depending on the type of business you run, you may need to set up several different sets of standards, but you’ll often find that they overlap.

Another thing to understand is that setting any security standards in place – including NIST – is not a one-and-done kind of deal. Hackers learn to adapt to security protocols, so protocols also have to be adapted to new threats.

This means that you’ll have to continually monitor for threats, keep up to date on new standards, and be prepared to update your system as needed. You’ll also need to have ongoing training for your employees so that they are aware of the threats and what steps they should take in the face of one.

Implementing NIST standards, keeping your systems up-to-date, and training employees might seem like a challenge you’re not quite ready to take on. If that’s the case, consider outsourcing the job to professionals that are familiar with these standards.

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