Efficiency in Defense

Risk management is among the most critical processes for organizations dealing with classified information. The main goal of RMF is to identify, assess, and manage possible risks that have the potential to negatively impact the performance, operations, and outcomes of given establishments.Ā 

The Risk Management Framework is a noteworthy template originally created by the National Institute of Standards to safeguard information systems in the United States. It was adopted by the Department of Defense to standardize and strengthen the risk management process applied in information security organizations. Even so, these organizations must incorporate the NISP eMASS DCSA services to boost their efficiency in risk management.Ā 

So how does that happen? In this article, we discuss the process of leveraging NISP eMASS for RMF automation and compliance. 

Understanding NISP eMASS DCSA

NISP eMASS DCSA is an alliance of three power-packed entities that aim to enhance security and risk management practices for organizations that deal with classified government information. Here is a brief description of the entities:

National Industry Security Program (NISP)

NISP is a U.S. government program that oversees and regulates security procedures adopted by entities in the private sector, precisely those that work with classified information. The program has measures that guarantee the protection of data and materials from unauthorized access, disclosure, and security risks. 

Enterprise Mission Assurance Support Service (eMASS)

The US government also has a web-based application- eMASS, whose services include providing fully integrated and comprehensive cybersecurity management. It offers support to the U.S. Defense Department risk management framework.

Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agencies (DCSA)

The DCSA agency offers support when it comes to insider threats, counterintelligence, and security. It conducts security clearance investigations, oversees security practices, and joins forces with organizations to keep up with high-security standards. It ensures that all institutions adhere to the NISP compliance requirements.

Leveraging NISP eMASS for RMF Automation and Compliance

Below are some of the steps required by organizations dealing with classified information in the defense and government sectors.

Access and Authorization

The first step is ensuring your organization has the required security clearances to access NISP eMASS. Decide who needs access to NISP eMASS in your organization. It may be security officers, information system owners, or system administrators. You must use the need-to-know principle when giving access. It should only be limited to the individuals who carry out their specific job responsibilities related to classified information and RMF. 

Determine Your Objectives

You need to define clear objectives to successfully leverage NISP eMASS for RMF automation and compliance. Understand your organization’s goals and missions across the board. Moreso, those that directly relate to security and classified information. Outline all the compliance requirements you must meet as an organization. Ensure that you also determine your RMF goals in the context of NIPS eMASS.Ā 

Categorization of Information

Putting information systems into categories is one of the most fundamental steps toward leveraging NISP and eMASS for the Risk management framework. Categorization enables you to identify appropriate security requirements and controls for every system. 

You must be familiar with the NISP classification levels and understand their implications regarding security requirements. The levels are unclassified, confidential, secret, and top secret. You will then need to clearly identify the asset or information system you require to categorize in NISP eMASS. For example, the networks, software, hardware, or data repositories.

Choose and Tailor Security Controls

Here, you review the specific NISP and RMF requirements aligning with your organization, information system, and classification level. Get the catalog for security controls in NISP eMASS. You can access them in the NISP Special Publication 800-53. The controls are put into categories called families. After selecting the controls, you can then customize them to fit the needs and characteristics of your information systems.

Document Security Artifacts

Security artifacts provide evidence of the security efforts your organization has made. Here is how you can document security artifacts using NISP eMASS effectively. 

Check RMF, NISP, and organizational requirements to identify the security artifacts you should document for your information system. They include but are not limited to:

  • Security assessment plan
  • System security plan
  • Security assessment report
  • Configuration management plan
  • contingency plan

You will find forms and templates for the above security artifacts in the NISP eMASS. Use the templates to verify alignment and consistency with NISP requirements. Always use the eMASS template to update or create system security plans. It ensures precise details of the information system in the organization, its security controls, and the security policies and procedures.