The Department of Defense’s final guidance requires the review of a System Security Plan (SSP) in the assessment of contract solicitation during the awards process. In other words, that means that DoD contracts will be assessed on the ability of the Contractor to provide proof of compliance with NIST 800-171. Without an SSP, DoD contractors may not be awarded any DoD contracts. Therefore, if your business relies heavily on contracts with the DoD, it is vitally important to create an SSP that meets all the requirements of NIST 800-171.
Use the following guidance to produce an SSP that allows your company to compete for DoD contracts and enjoy a smooth working relationship with the Department of Defense.
What is an SSP?
A system security plan or SSP is a document that identifies the functions and features of a system, including all its hardware and the software installed on the system. This document also defines the security measures that have been or will be soon put in place to limit access to authorized users, as well as to train managers, users and systems administrators in the secure use of the system. It includes details of processes for auditing and maintaining the system, in addition to information about how you plan to respond to security incidents that occur on the network. An SSP is a comprehensive summary of all security practices and policies that will help to keep DoD data secure if the contractor is awarded a DoD contract.
What Are Your Options for Writing an SSP?
NIST supplies a template to help contractors create an SSP. Some companies have their internal IT staff fill in this template to create a system security plan. This approach can work well if you are sure that your IT employees have the relevant knowledge and experience to create a comprehensive SSP. However, the disadvantage of creating an SSP in house is that it forces internal IT staff to take time away from their core duties, which could cause day to day operating difficulties for your business.
Another option for creating an SSP is to hire a NIST 800-171 consultant to do it for you. Many small DoD contractors shy away from this option because they assume it will be expensive, but in fact it can be much more cost-effective than trying to create your own SSP in house.
Which Option for Creating an SSP is Best For Your Business?
The advantage of working with a specialist NIST 800-171 consultant is that you can be sure that the SSP they create on your behalf will meet all the requirements set out in DFARS. Reputable IT companies that specialize in working with DoD contractors have a lot of experience of writing SSPs on behalf of businesses like yours, which means they are likely to be able to complete the job much more efficiently and effectively than your in house IT staff. All you have to do is ensure you choose a reliable IT company that has a strong background in helping DoD contractors meet the requirements of DFARS and NIST 800-171.
How to Get Started With Creating an SSP
Every contractor that hopes to win contracts with the DoD must produce an SSP that gives an overview of their systems and the security measures they have in place. To take the first step toward producing a robust SSP that can help your business compete for and win DoD contract awards, get in touch with SysArc today.