Being compliant with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is necessary for government agencies or private contractors who cooperate with those agencies. FISMA was adopted in 2002 and ultimately updated in 2014.

The legislation is designed to help enterprises that work with federally-generated data to safeguard important information and systems on behalf of the US government.

Obtaining a FISMA report is necessary to affirm that the company protects government information and assets. It also provides the interested parties with evidence from an autonomous auditor who has assessed the enterprise’s internal controls.

Gaining a deeper understanding of the advantages of being FISMA compliant requires comprehending how it can help your organization.

Risk-Management Centered Approach

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With new devices being used for daily business operations, the risk is ever-increasing. Consequently, developing and implementing a risk-management approach to information security is at the core of FISMA.

Enterprises using the FISMA framework assume that they are constantly under attack and make risk-management-centered operative decisions. Such an approach allows organizations to create a framework for implementing a flexible data program for cyber security that can quickly adapt to current but also future threats.

Ongoing Monitoring and Risk Evaluation

Advanced and persistent threats mark the current cyber threat landscape. Handling these threats requires adopting an ongoing process to evaluate their cybersecurity execution and enhance it over time.

Being compliant with FISMA means that federal companies and enterprises that work with them implement a security plan that includes continuous monitoring and updating security procedures and policies. As a result, the company’s security team will notice the system vulnerabilities promptly and prevent a potential attack.

At the same time, it will inform continuous operating decisions about how to allocate resources to address the threats.

Better Employee Cybersecurity Training and Awareness

About 95% of cyber breaches are connected directly to workers who lack a proper understanding of cyberattacks. They simply don’t acknowledge the extent to which their actions can affect the company’s security and lead to potentially damaging cyber security incidents.

One of the main benefits of FISMA is that it addresses this issue by requiring organizations to implement a continuous training program for security practices.

Implementing training also creates a company culture centered around cybersecurity which is helpful for any enterprise now and in the future.

Immediate Threat Response

Companies still have security programs focused on preventing a breach from ever occurring. This is important, but it’s also essential to create a strategy for responding to an attack if and when it happens. FISMA mandates companies to enforce a threat response program, and mitigation procedures can have a considerable impact on the extent of the attack’s effect.

The threat response unit should provide services that are an essential part of any complete cybersecurity program. The response team’s goal is to recognize a data breach, contain it, assess its impact identify the vulnerabilities that allowed the breach to happen, and define the severity of the harm.

A prompt response to an attack can restrict the degree of impact and damage while also letting the security team address the susceptibility that caused the breach. Ultimately, such an approach makes companies more resilient to cyber threats.

FISMA Compliance Best Practices

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Attaining FISMA compliance requires organizations to classify data based on sensitivity. This practice helps prioritize security controls and policies to apply the highest level of protection to the most sensitive data.

Moreover, companies should automatically encrypt sensitive data. Ideally, they should encrypt sensitive data based on its classification level or when it’s at risk.

Finally, enterprises should maintain written evidence of FISMA compliance. Keeping detailed records of the steps taken to achieve compliance can help with FISMA audits.

Final Thoughts

FISMA compliance helps the organization keep loyal clients, attract new ones, operate more efficiently, and comply with state regulations. However, the benefits of being FISMA compliant go beyond simply achieving compliance.

For example, it assures the clients that their sensitive data is protected. Moreover, it allows contractors from the private sector to work with federal agencies.

Additionally, the FISMA regulatory requirements are the best methods for devising a thorough security program. Finally, companies that adopt the FISMA framework are more aware of the risks they may face, better equipped to address potential risks, and more resilient if a breach happens.

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