If you are a contractor in the United States of America, then you will need to follow the federal rules and regulations in order to be sure that you are doing business the right way and in accordance with the law. In case you’re not sure what independent contracting is, you could go here to check. Anyway, my point is that rules are there in order to be followed. Now, while you do know that the rules are tabteck there to be followed, there is one thing that nobody can deny. Those rules can sometimes be quite confusing. For example, people have definitely found it initially rather difficult to understand the entire concept of NIST compliance.
Nowadays, however, it is perfectly clear that compliance with these rules is mandatory by the law. You might have heard about NIST already, but the fact that you’re here tells me that you are not quite knowledgeable about it. Well, that is about to change.
To put things simply, you are now going to learn about NIST compliance and also understand if you need to follow it or not. By getting your facts straight regarding these particular rules, you will also understand how to be more successful as a contractor. Apart from being more successful, you’ll also understand how to be sure that you are following the necessary rules.
Read more about NIST compliance here: https://digitalguardian.com/blog/what-nist-compliance
There are a few important questions that you need to have answered in order to get your facts straight on everything. For starters, you want to get the answer to the question of what NIST compliance is in the first place. Then, you want to check whether you need to follow it at all.
Once you get a better understanding about all of this, you will learn how to start working towards complying with these specific rules and regulations. That is practically the whole point, isn’t it? After all, if this turns out to be mandatory, you will definitely need to learn how to follow the rules.
What Is NIST Compliance?
Since we are now well aware of the questions that are bothering you, let us begin by addressing the first one. Basically, you want to know what this entire concept actually entails. If this is your first time coming across it, you might find it rather confusing and you might still not understand it completely, which is perfectly normal.
Once you get the NIST compliance explained, though, you’ll definitely start understanding everything perfectly. Well, that is precisely what you want, which is why we are beginning with this particular question. You cannot start digging deeper on the topic if you still don’t know the basics, so here are the basics.
NIST stands for National Institute of Standards and Technology. Does the full name ring any bells yet? Or, to put it differently, did the full name give you any hints of what this specific compliance could actually entail? If not, let us keep explaining.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is actually a non-regulatory federal agency which exists within the Department of Commerce in the United States. It has a rather specific goal. And, the best part is that it is working hard towards achieving that goal.
Basically, this Institute aims at improving measurement science, standards, as well as technology in order to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness in the United States. Most government contractors are already very well aware of this non-regulatory agency and the need to comply with the NIST rules. So, it is about time for you to get acquainted with it all as well.
First things first, you need to understand that many companies outside of the federal chain of supply want to comply with these regulations as well. Why? Well, it’s because it helps increase their cybersecurity, which is highly important for businesses (additional info), as you probably know already.
The initial document was actually intended to serve as a sort of guidance to contractors. It was aimed at clearly explaining on how to protect the important data and how to understand their own role in data breaches. There are now also new versions to this document, with the latest one updated in February, 2020.
Who Needs To Comply?
Since you now probably have a better understanding on what NIST is, you are probably wondering ne specific thing. Do you need to comply with it? That is the question that all contractors have in mind once they first learn about this agency and these regulating documents.
So, let us now clear things up on that and thus lead you towards understanding basically everything. Basically, all prime contractors, subcontractors, as well as those subcontractors who are working for other subcontractors within the federal supply chain need to follow these regulations. In these cases, complying with NIST is mandatory.
As mentioned above, however, some contractors decide to follow these rules even if they are not mandatory for them. You are now probably wondering why. Well, as I have previously mentioned, this has to do with cybersecurity and it is by now perfectly clear to everyone how important it is for every single business. If you go to https://diversityinsteam.com/2018/11/growing-importance-cybersecurity-business/, you’ll get an even better idea of its importance.
To make things even clearer, NIST documents provide contractors with the best security practices. This basically means that they will help companies protect their data the best way they can. We all know how dangerous data breaches can be, which is why understanding the importance of NIST is significant.
So, as you can see, if you are working within the federal supply chain, you will need to follow these rules. On the other hand, if you are not working within that chain, you won’t need to follow them, but you will benefit greatly from doing so. This is why we can come to the conclusion that every single contractor in the United States should comply with NIST for their own benefit.