What Are NIST Controls and How Many Are There?

Published December 10, 2019 • < 1 min read

The National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication (NIST SP) 800-53 contains a wealth of security controls. NIST SP 800-53 R4 contains over 900 unique security controls that encompass 18 control families. 

NIST controls are generally used to enhance the cybersecurity framework, risk posture, information protection, and security standards of organizations. While NIST 800-53 is mandatory for federal agencies, commercial entities have a choice in leveraging the risk management framework in their security program. 

Federal information systems and organizations working with the federal government have rapidly become the example that others seek to emulate. Programs such as insider threat, risk assessment, incident response, access control, and continuous monitoring top the list of many government agencies’ information security programs.

Information technology is rapidly changing and the NIST 800-53 is on its fifth revision to keep up with emerging technology like the internet of things (IoT). The NIST SP adaptability is one of the primary reasons why organizations continue to leverage the security controls for security assessments and overall security program management.

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