NIST 800-171 and CMMC

Do you have contracts with the United States Department of Defense (DoD) or are you a subcontractor to a prime contractor with DoD contracts? If so…are you prepared for NIST 800-171 requirements? Do you understand about Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)?

The NIST 800-171 publication outlines “basic” security standards and controls designed to provide guidance for the protection and safeguarding of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) by federal contractors and subcontractors who process, store, or transmit information as part of their “routine” business operations.

process, store, transmit

NIST 800 171

NIST 800-171 Defined

NIST 800-171 is a framework designed to provide guidance to anyone that handles Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI):

  • When the CUI is resident in nonfederal information systems and organizations
  • When the information systems where the CUI resides are not used or operated by contractors of federal agencies or other organizations on behalf of those agencies;
  • Where there are no specific safeguarding requirements for protecting the confidentiality of CUI prescribed by the authorizing law, regulation, or government-wide policy for the CUI category or subcategory listed in the CUI Registry.

Currently, there is no certification process for 800-171. By implementing the recommended 800-171 security controls, organizations essentially are self-attesting they meet and comply with the stipulated requirements. You can download the NIST 800-171 Self-Assessment Methodology here.

CMMC auditing is conducted by accredited 3PAO (Third-Party Assessment Organizations).

How does this impact my Organization?

The deadline to comply with 800-171 requirements was December 31st, 2017 and it is currently estimated that less than 1% have met those requirements. While the impact for non-compliance may not be apparent or obvious at this moment, it is only a matter of time before 800-171 obligations are strictly enforced. The impact of non-compliance could potentially result in contract termination, criminal fraud and possibly lawsuits claiming breach of contract.

As a response to the initially low take-up of NIST 800-171, the CMMC has now been introduced to provide a graded, and therefore easier, adoption of security controls.

CMMC breaks the NIST 800-171 controls into five sub-groups and these provide a prioritized series of incrementally greater numbers of controls required at each Level of cybersecurity ‘maturity’. For example, CMMC Level 1 only mandates 17 controls out of the total of 171, prioritizing the essential security controls of Access Control and firewalling, Physical and Logical Protection/segmentation of data and systems, and Vulnerability Management, Patching and Malware defenses. Each subsequent Level of CMMC progressively builds on the previous Level’s controls.

Where to start and why?

The security requirements outlined in 800-171 should be complementary to an organization's existing IT strategy. 800-171 is very descriptive and requires the understanding of 171 controls across 14 categories which helps define “what” needs to be accomplished. However, it lacks any prescriptive detail of “how” to accomplish compliance success and what should be the priority of those requirements.

Let NNT show you how a single solution addresses one-third of all the security and compliance requirements across the various 14 categories.

Speak to a consultant to help you in your NIST 800-171 compliance program today! Contact Us

How NNT Addresses NIST 800-171

Learn about each requirement and how NNT can help you achieve NIST 800-171 compliance


Learn More about NIST 800-171

Solution Brief:


NIST 800-171


Requirements Chart:
NNT Solutions Mapped to
800-171 Controls


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