NIST 800-53

NIST 800-53 is an information security standard applicable to all U.S. federal information systems excluding those for national security.

What Is NIST 800-53?

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Special Publication 800-53, often abbreviated as NIST 800-53, is a document that provides guidelines and recommendations for securing information systems and managing risk within U.S. federal systems. Compliance with NIST 800-53 is mandatory for all U.S. federal government agencies and contractors, except those related to national security. However, it can be adopted by any organization. In fact, many state and local governments and private organizations use NIST SP 800‐53 as their security controls framework.

The full title of the document is "Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations.” Federal agencies must comply with NIST guidelines and standards within one year of their publication. The controls outlined in NIST 800-53 are the basis for FISMA as well as FedRAMP, DFARS, CJIS, HIPAA, FedRAMP +, FedRAMP.

Consequences of Non-Compliance with NIST 800-53

The consequences of non-compliance with NIST 800-53 can be far-reaching, affecting the legal standing, financial resources, operational effectiveness, and reputation of organizations subject to it. 

  • Legal and Regulatory Penalties. Failure to comply with NIST 800-53 can have severe consequences, including potential legal actions and regulatory penalties. Federal agencies are obligated by law and regulations to meet specific cybersecurity standards, and non-compliance can result in sanctions being imposed.
  • Financial Consequences. Non-compliance with cybersecurity standards can have significant financial repercussions, potentially leading to funding cuts or even complete loss of funding for federal agencies. This can greatly hinder their capacity to fulfill crucial functions and initiatives.
  • Increased Vulnerability to Cyber Threats. Failure to implement the recommended security controls exposes federal agencies to cyber threats and attacks, potentially resulting in unauthorized access to data, compromise of sensitive information, and disruptions to operations.
  • Reputational Damage. Failure to comply with cybersecurity standards can have negative impacts on the reputation and credibility of federal agencies, eroding the trust and confidence of stakeholders including the general public, partners, and other government entities.
  • Loss of Interagency Cooperation. Non-compliance with NIST 800-53 may impede the collaboration among federal agencies, state and local government entities, hindering their joint efforts to address shared cybersecurity challenges and efficiently respond to cyber incidents.
  • Increased Oversight and Audits. Federal agencies failing to comply with NIST 800-53 may face increased oversight and audits from regulatory bodies, congressional committees, and internal oversight entities. This can lead to additional resource allocation and operational disruptions as agencies work to address deficiencies and implement corrective actions.
  • Impact on National Security. The failure of federal agencies to comply with cybersecurity standards can have broader implications for national security, potentially exposing vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors to disrupt critical government functions or compromise sensitive information.

Compliance Requirements for NIST 800-53

NIST 800-53 provides a well-defined organization and structure for the required security and privacy controls, which are organized into 20 families. Each family contains controls that are related to the specific topic of the family. A two-character identifier uniquely identifies each control family (e.g., SC for System and Communications Protection). The 20 security and privacy control families and their associated family identifiers are listed below.

  1. Access Control (AC)
  2. Awareness and Training (AT)
  3. Audit and Accountability (AU)
  4. Assessment, Authorization, and Monitoring (CA)
  5. Configuration Management (CM)
  6. Contingency Planning (CP)
  7. Identification and Authentication (IA)
  8. Incident Response (IR)
  9. Maintenance (MA)
  10. Media Protection (MP)
  11. Physical and Environmental Protection (PE)
  12. Planning (PL)
  13. Program Management (PM)
  14. Personnel Security (PS)
  15. Personally Identifiable Information Processing and Transparency (PT)
  16. Risk Assessment (RA)
  17. System and Services Acquisition (SA)
  18. System and Communications Protection (SC)
  19. System and Information Integrity (SI)
  20. Supply Chain Risk Management (SR)

Blue Cedar Can Help with NIST 800-53 Compliance

Blue Cedar can help all types of organizations ensure compliance with NIST 800-53 through Blue Cedar Mobile App Security. With it, organizations can use the advanced security and privacy controls that include data protection (e.g., data encryption, secure access controls, encrypted network transmission, etc.) and runtime protection (e.g., jailbreak/root detection, Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) detection, etc.) to ensure their mobile apps adhere to the requirements of NIST 800-53.

Specifically, Blue Cedar Mobile App Security can help with the following NIST 800-53 control families and associated controls. 

  • Access Control (AC)
    • Our local PIN/passphrase and privacy screen features help to address the requirements for the AC-11: Session Lock control.
    • The in-app VPN assists in meeting the criteria for the AC-17: Remote Access control.
    • Our jailbreak detection and root detection features aid in fulfilling the requirements for the AC-19: Access Control For Mobile Devices control.
  • Identification and Authentication (IA)
    • Our federated authentication capability facilitates compliance with the IA-2: Identification And Authentication (Organizational Users) control.
  • System and Services Acquisition (SA)
    • Our code encryption, code obfuscation and data obfuscation features, which constitute the App Protection part of Blue Cedar Mobile App Security, aid in satisfying the criteria for the SA-12: Supply Chain Protection control. 
    • Anti-debugging, anti-hooking, anti-tampering, emulator detection, simulator detection, and minimum OS requirement, which are part of Blue Cedar Mobile App Security’s Runtime Protection, help with the SA-22: Unsupported System Components control.
  • System and Communications Protection (SC)
    • Blue Cedar Mobile App Security’s Data Protection features such as DLP (Data Loss Prevention) and grouped apps, and Runtime Protection features such as anti-debugging, anti-hooking, anti-tampering, emulator detection and simulator detection assist in meeting the requirements for the SC-4: Information In Shared Resources control.
    • Our device-independent local data encryption capability helps with the SC-13: Cryptographic Protection control.
    • Our certificate pinning features, which helps to prevent Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks, aid in addressing the requirements for the SC-17: Public Key Infrastructure Certificates and SC-23: Session Authenticity controls.
Blue Cedar also makes it easy to seamlessly integrate these security features into mobile apps with its Enhance no-code integration service, streamlining the journey towards NIST 800-53 compliance.

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Blue Cedar Mobile App Security and Blue Cedar Enhance are delivered by the Blue Cedar Platform, a CI/CD friendly SaaS solution. 

Experience the full range of Blue Cedar's offerings without any cost, allowing you to explore the benefits of Blue Cedar Mobile App Security, Blue Cedar Enhance, and the Blue Cedar Platform. Enjoy the freedom to use these powerful tools for as many mobile apps as you desire, completely free of charge until your integrated or secured mobile apps are ready for production.

Experience the power of Blue Cedar with a complimentary trial and effortlessly conquer the intricacies of NIST 800-53 using the cutting-edge features of Blue Cedar Mobile App Security.