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NIST compliance: What is it?

NIST stands for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


If you run a company and have an IT department, then you will no doubt already be aware of NIST. This is an incredibly important resource for any firm and organization that is continually developing the technology and IT processes that they use. It’s important that all tech use complies with the NIST standards. If it doesn’t, then you could end up in some hot water.

In this blog post, we’ll go through the basics of NIST compliance and everything that CTOs, CIOs, and CISOs need to be aware of.

What Is NIST?

NIST is a department of the United States Department of Commerce and are a federal agency. It develops technology, metrics, and standards to drive innovation and economic competitiveness at U.S.-based organizations in the science and technology industry. Thanks to NIST, a lot of complex creations and small technologies are supported so that the firms that create them can take and develop them even further than before.


Related: How to Obtain PCI DSS Compliance Automatically

How To Be NIST Compliant

If you follow all of the various regulations and standards provided by NIST then you and your organization will be following the best practice controls set out for a range of industries. So, whether you are a small company or a large federal agency, it’s really important that you are always compliant.

Here are nine steps that NIST has compiled for organizations to follow to make sure that they are in fact continually complying with their standards.

  1. Make sure that all of the data and information that you need to protect is effectively categorized.
  2. Regularly carry out risk assessments for the baseline controls. This will help you review and refine all of the controls that you have set in place.
  3. Set up a baseline for the absolute minimum controls you need to protect all information.
  4. Record your baseline controls in a written plan.
  5. Create security controls for all of your IT and online systems.
  6. Once all of the various security systems have been implemented, make sure you continually monitor their performance to measure their effectiveness.
  7. Find an authorized information system for all your processing needs.
  8. Continually monitoring all of your security controls on a regular basis.

The Benefits Of Being NIST Compliant

You’re probably reading all of this and wondering why your specific business should be NIST compliant. What exactly are the benefits of following these standards and regulations? Well, you will be happy to learn that there are numerous advantages that come with NIST compliance.

Here are just a few of the main ones that you will experience.

  • The NIST framework provides a common framework that all companies can share. Once you do start to follow the NIST regulations, you will find that it provides you with a common language for security measures that a lot of other firms and organizations also use. Even though other companies follow NIST regulations, they can also be tailored to each individual company’s needs. You will find that it can uniquely complements your company’s current IT setup.
  • NIST highlights where current areas of data and IT security can be improved and strengthened. You will create a Framework Profile when you start to follow the NIST regulations. During the process of setting up this kind of profile you will discover some areas that can be improved. Setting up a profile will also help to greatly improve your internal communications.
  • It helps protect some of your most important assets. You will be safeguarding all of your information and data systems. The framework for the NIST compliance standards will greatly improve your cybersecurity efforts, so you don’t have to worry as much about a data breach or being at risk from criminal hackers.
  • The framework will help you retain customers. Many companies find that customers are more likely to do business with them once they become NIST compliant. Following these best practices builds trust with the general public and consumers. Most customers will cut ties with a company once a breach occurs. With NIST compliance, there is little chance of a breach taking place, so there isn’t much reason to worry about losing customers.
  • It protects your company’s overall reputation. Your company’s reputation is so important. The longer you operate without any mishaps or negativity, the better your reputation will be. One of the biggest things that can hurt a company’s reputation is a data breach or other incidents relating to cybersecurity. As long as you follow NIST compliance, these will rarely (if ever) occur so there is very little risk in your organization’s reputation being harmed.

Related: Comparing NIST to CMMC


These are just a few of the main benefits that you will experience if you do decide to follow the NIST compliance framework. Hopefully, this blog post has shown you that it really is in your company’s best interest to move forward with it.

BitLyft can help you assess your current state of security with our FREE ASSESSMENT. Then, we can you formulate plan to become NIST compliant. We offer many of the services at a fraction of the cost of an in-house team. Give us a call today to get started!

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Jason Miller

Jason Miller, Founder and CEO of BitLyft Cybersecurity, has dedicated his 20-year IT career, including co-founding SaaS pioneer Reviora, to removing cybersecurity barriers for mid-sized enterprises. Establishing BitLyft in 2016, Jason set out to unburden security teams with innovative, approachable, and affordable solutions, a vision which has made BitLyft a respected managed detection and response provider. Outside his cybersecurity pursuits, Jason is an avid tree farmer and outdoor enthusiast, planting nearly 300 trees on his ten-acre plot and finding joy in hiking, hunting, and driving his white Tesla Model 3. His diverse passions mirror the balanced blend of expertise, dedication, and joy he brings to BitLyft.

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