Introducing NIST 800-171

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Cutting-edge technology and highly trained team members protect the US government’s classified data. But what about unclassified data? A distinction that seems clear at first glance becomes blurry when you start to consider information that isn’t technically classified but shouldn’t be shared publicly either.

Take, for example, the travel schedules of government officials. Or military health records. While not technically classified, we don’t want this information to fall into the wrong hands. So in 2016, the US Federal Government categorized this sensitive and proprietary information as Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). 

CUI is defined as “government created or owned information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls consistent with applicable laws, regulations and government-wide policies.” And along with this classification, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published Special Publication 800-171: Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations. Or NIST 800-171 for short.

Government agencies have teams dedicated to keeping their systems and CUI secure. But there are approximately 3.7 million contract workers

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