Federal contractors tasked with adhering to NIST 800-53 for contingency planning must prioritize several best practices to ensure compliance and enhance their overall cybersecurity resilience. First and foremost, thorough risk assessment is crucial. Contractors should conduct comprehensive risk assessments to identify and understand potential threats, vulnerabilities, and the potential impact of disruptions to their systems and operations.
This knowledge forms the foundation for effective contingency planning. Additionally, federal contractors should prioritize business impact analysis (BIA) to assess the criticality of their systems and data. This enables them to prioritize resources and efforts on protecting the most crucial assets, ensuring that their contingency plans are aligned with their organizational priorities.
Secondly, a well-documented and regularly tested contingency plan is essential. Contractors should develop detailed plans that outline the steps to be taken in the event of various contingencies, including data breaches, natural disasters, and cyberattacks. These plans should be regularly reviewed, updated, and tested through exercises and simulations to ensure they remain effective and up-to-date. Moreover, federal contractors should establish clear communication and coordination protocols, both internally and with relevant government agencies.
Effective communication is vital during an incident to ensure a coordinated response and minimize disruption. Finally, ongoing training and awareness programs for employees are critical. Ensuring that all staff members are well-informed about contingency plans and their roles during an incident can significantly improve response times and outcomes, helping federal contractors meet NIST 800-53 requirements and protect sensitive government data effectively.
Specifically, Per CP-1 of NIST SP 800-53, organizations are to “Develop, document, and disseminate…” a contingency planning policy and procedures. The keyword here is “document”, which means you need a policy in place for CP-1.
How to Get Started
Start by downloading our world-class NIST RMF Security and Privacy Policies and Procedures templates at the Arlington Security Portal (ASP), which includes access to our contingency planning policy template, along with access to our contingency plan template for DoD & cleared contractors, Non-DoD contractors, and for federal contractors utilizing Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.
How Arlington Can Help
We have years of experience working within the broader federal agency apparatus in helping federal contractors develop high-quality, well-written, policies and procedures and additional NIST RMF information security and privacy materials. Our NIST RMF information security and privacy policies, procedures, programs, and plans have been used by thousands of federal contractors in helping organizations develop customized documentation for their growing security and compliance needs.
We are Arlington, a team of innovative, solution-oriented, highly agile, and well-versed professionals with decades of experience in working with America’s defense industry. From emerging cybersecurity regulations to helping our clients solve complex security & compliance solutions – and so much more – you can trust Arlington, the firm that’s Dedicated to Defense®. Learn more at arlingtonintel.com.