Who needs to follow NIST SP 800-171 and how to implement?

For manufacturers and vendors dealing with the government, DFARS compliance can mean additional revenue and growth. However, complying with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement and the Federal Acquisition Regulation is no easy feat. 

 If you are a government contractor, you might have come across the acronyms like FAR and DFARS. FAR is a set of guidelines and rules that governs the contracting procedures of the U.S government. DFARS is an addition to the FAR regulation.

NIST SP 800 171 is a special publication that outlines requirements that all government contractors should fulfill to safeguard and secure Controlled Unclassified Information. By implementing the requirements, the government contractor can demonstrate that they have appropriate security in place to protect sensitive information. Any vendor who is a part of the government supply chain should be NIST 800 171 compliant.

In this blog, we have covered some aspects of NIST 800 171 requirements and how manufactures can implement them.

How to Implement NIST SP 800-171?

Manufacturers and vendors working directly and indirectly with the government often ask how to implement the requirements mentioned in the NIST 800 171 and become DFARS compliant. Another question asked by such agencies is whether there are available resources to help them become compliant. It’s worth mentioning that to become DFARS compliant, government contractors should work with the government infrastructure and cybersecurity consultants who are aware of the nitty-gritty of NIST SP 800 171 rules.

What Does a Successful Plan Entail?

Vendors and manufacturers should have a clear plan of action for implementing NIST 800 171 guidelines to retain their government contracts. The DFARS cybersecurity norms further detail how government contractors should deal with the Controlled Unclassified Information processed and stored by them.

How to work toward NIST SP 800 171 Compliance?

For manufacturers working on government contracts, the MEP National Network provides comprehensive resources on how DFARS compliance can help their organization. Manufacturers can refer to such resources to understand whether they are required to implement such guidelines or not.

Besides this, the MEP National Network also offers resources like the NIST Self-Assessment Handbook. One can refer to such resources to understand how they can go out self-assessment and who to be made responsible for ensuring data protection. Upon going through the handbook, a manufacturer may find that some requirements don’t apply to them.

If you are in a similar situation, you take another route to data protection. However, your approach should be effective in keeping the data secure and protected against cyber-attacks.

By working with third-party cybersecurity consultants, government contracts can successfully navigate the complexities of implementing DFARS guidelines.

Many manufacturers and vendors find compliance requirements complex. This is especially true for small agencies and subcontractors. However, there are various accessible resources and expert Managed Service Providers to help such agencies become DFARS compliant.

With these resources, manufacturers and vendors working on government contracts can secure compliance certification and get new contracts easily. Although the compliance process is complicated, it only opens more possibilities for the government vendors.