An Overview of DFARS for companies with Defense-related revenue
If you are a DoD contractor, government agency, or any organization that generates DoD-related revenue? If the answer to any of these questions is affirmative, you fall under the DFARS cybersecurity category. When DFARS was first introduced, the 225.204-7012 clause made it mandatory for DoD contractors to become compliant with NIST 800 171 by the end of the year 2017. The main aim behind launching the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement was to ensure the Controlled Unclassified Information or CUI stored in the nonfederal information systems were protected from cyber-attacks. Since this can be overwhelming for any DoD contractor, one must hire DFARS consultant.
In this blog, we have covered some essential aspects of DFARS.
What Is The DFARS Mandate?
The federal government relies on other organizations and resources to carry out its missions. Such external agencies are called contractors and subcontractors. Often, federal contractors and subcontractors have to process, store, or disseminate sensitive information and data in their network. Contractors have to assure the DoD and federal agencies that their IT infrastructure and systems are secure and robust enough to dodge cyber-attacks. Failure to provide the assurances means the contractor can lose the contractor.
According to the DFARS compliance, the contractors and subcontractors will have to protect the Controlled Unclassified Information if and when,
- It is stored in nonfederal information systems.
- The information systems containing the CUI are not used or operated by federal contractors directly or indirectly.
- When the CUI Registry doesn’t include specific requirements for safeguarding CUI.
In practice, all the agencies and companies working for and with the department of defense are required to be compliant. However, now, the protection has gone beyond the agencies directly under the DIB supply chain. Moreover, being compliant or not can affect the business and its future.
Who Is Impacted By NIST 800-171?
The NIST 800-171 requirement applies to all the components that are part of the nonfederal information systems. Any system out of the DIB that stores, shares, processes, or transmits controlled unclassified information or MSPs that provide security to such components will get impacted by the NIST 800 171 compliance.
Making The Business Decision
Implementing NIST requirements is nothing like a typical MSP service. It’s much more complex and overwhelming for any organization. You will experience many difficulties and will have to make investments in IT infrastructure at the initial stage. However, you must remember that NIST standards are the best industry practices. Every organization must implement the requirements as soon as possible if they haven’t before. Doing so will not only strengthen the security of your system; it will also increase your chances of acquiring new government contracts. The NIST document has mentioned every detail one should know in order to implement the requirements.
How to go about DFARS compliance?
Assessment: before implementing the NIST requirements, conduct a thorough evaluation of your systems. Initial assessment will help you identify any control gaps and determine your standing in the market.
Implementation: Once you have identified the areas you need to fill the gaps, you can take the necessary steps to remedy the situation. In this stage, you should create an implementation plan to track your progress.