By William Jackson
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has finished the
third and possibly final draft of its revised guidelines for assessing
the adequacy of IT security. Special Publication 800-53A, Guide for
Assessing the Security Controls in Federal Information Systems, will be
released for comment June 4.
NIST is charged under the Federal Information Security Management Act
with developing standards and guidance for implementing IT security
programs. SP 800-53 is part of a series of documents developed for
selecting the proper level and types of IT security controls. The core
of the series is Federal Information Processing Standard 200, which
establishes minimum security requirements under FISMA. Once those
requirements have been established, agencies select the appropriate set
of controls from NIST SP 800-53, Recommended Security Controls for
Federal Information Systems. SP 800-53A is an addendum that sets out the
framework for conducting mandatory assessments of security controls
required under FISMA.
Comments on previously released drafts have resulted in significant
changes in the third draft version, according to NIST. Changes are
expected to include a greater emphasis on two-factor authentication,
trust relationships to assure adequate security controls at IT vendors
and greater restrictions on remote access to sensitive data.
Comments on the current version will be accepted by the Computer
Security Division of NISTs IT Laboratory through July 31. Comments can
be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All of the FISMA-related security
standards and guidelines can be found at http://csrc.nist.gov/sec-cert .
Final publication of SP 800-53A is expected early next year. NIST will
decide on whether additional public drafts are needed based on comments
received on the present draft.
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