September 28, 2023 2 min read

NIST 800-53, Revision 5 System Security Plan (SSP) Template - MOD Impact

A NIST System Security Plan (SSP) is a comprehensive document that describes the security controls and safeguards implemented or planned for an information system. It provides an overview of the system's security posture, including its security objectives, requirements, and the measures in place to protect the system and its assets.

The purpose of an SSP is to document the security controls and their implementation details, as well as to support risk management and decision-making processes related to the system's security. The SSP serves as a roadmap for managing and maintaining the security of an information system.

Here are some key elements typically included in a NIST SSP:

  1. System Overview: A description of the information system, its purpose, and its intended use. This includes details such as the system name, system owner, system identifier, and system categorization.
  1. System Boundaries: Clearly defining the boundaries of the information system, including its hardware, software, and network components. This helps identify interfaces with other systems and any external connections.
  1. Risk Assessment: Identifying potential threats, vulnerabilities, and risks to the information system. Assessing the likelihood and impact of these risks and prioritizing them based on their significance.
  1. Security Controls: Documenting the security controls selected from the NIST 800-53 control catalog that are relevant to the system. These controls outline the specific measures in place to protect the system and its assets.
  1. Control Implementation: Describing how each security control is implemented within the information system. This includes details on how the controls are designed, configured, and managed to meet the specific security requirements.
  1. Control Assessment: Assessing the effectiveness of the implemented security controls in mitigating risks. This may involve testing, audits, or other evaluation methods to validate the controls' performance.
  1. Contingency Planning: Developing contingency plans that outline procedures for responding to and recovering from incidents that may impact the system's availability or integrity. This includes backup and recovery strategies, incident response procedures, and communication protocols.
  1. Personnel Security: Documenting the measures in place to ensure that individuals who have access to the system are trustworthy and adequately trained. This may include background checks, security awareness training, and role-based access controls.
  1. Physical and Environmental Protection: Describing the physical security measures in place to protect the information system. This includes access controls, visitor management, equipment protection, and environmental monitoring.
  1. Security Awareness and Training: Outlining the security awareness and training programs provided to system users and administrators. This includes details on the content, frequency, and delivery methods of the training sessions.
  1. System Maintenance: Describing the procedures and practices for maintaining the security of the information system. This includes patch management, configuration management, vulnerability scanning, and system documentation updates.
  1. System Monitoring: Documenting the monitoring mechanisms in place to detect and respond to security incidents. This includes the collection and analysis of system logs, intrusion detection systems, and security event monitoring.

The SSP should be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the system's environment, address emerging threats and vulnerabilities, and ensure the ongoing effectiveness of security controls.