Guarding the Galaxy: Why Your MSP Provider's NIST Compliance Matters

OK, the need of top-level cybersecurity for your business isn’t exactly a secret these days. Any competent IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) will tell you that as part of the reason for needing their services.  

BUT what guarantee do you have that your MSP—with access to all your innermost secrets and confidential information—is handling your data securely within their own network and systems?  

While nothing can absolutely guarantee 100% security, the IT sector does, indeed, have a great tool at its disposal to verify and maintain internal security and the shared information of clients. Yet, you might be surprised at just how few MSPs currently comply and abide by it!  

Simply put, if your MSP is not operating under a NIST 800-171 framework, you just don’t know how safe any of your shared confidential information really is. And, even more alarmingly, neither do they! Efforts to firm up security within your organization could all come to nothing due to a gaping security hole in the very organization that you’re paying to keep you protected!  


What is NIST 800-171? 

NIST 800-171 is a set of guidelines developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to safeguard Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) in non-federal systems and organizations. The framework outlines 14 families of security requirement guidelines covering aspects like access control, incident response, security assessment, and configuration management as well as system and communications protection.  Furthermore, to ensure alignment with the established guidelines, various controls like strict data handling and access procedures, system scans, and audits of security measures are undertaken and thoroughly documented on a regular basis. 


Why Should You Care if Your MSP is NIST Compliant? 

It’s really a case of “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. Regardless of how rigorously your data security is maintained internally, you need your MSP IT provider to be NIST 800-171 compliant to ensure that they follow rigorous cybersecurity standards to safeguard their (and your!) sensitive data from unauthorized access and potential breaches within their systems.  

NIST compliance demonstrates a provider’s commitment to robust information security practices, fostering trust and confidence in their ability to handle and protect critical business information.   

Why would you ever risk your organization and its confidential information on a Managed IT Service Provider that has NOT undertaken NIST 800-171 compliance!? 


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