The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) latest publication, NIST 800-171, focuses on protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) within nonfederal information systems and organizations.


CUI consists of any information that should not be made public but is not sensitive enough to require high-level security clearance. Some example of CUI include:

  • Personal Information- this includes things like health/military/student information, Social Security Numbers, and credit card details.
  • Financial Information- this includes information on corporate finances, taxes, purchase orders, financial transactions, electronic funds transfers, and more.
  • Intellectual Property- this includes information such as research, engineering and architectural data, project plans, technical reports, etc.…
  • IT Security: this includes anything that might compromise the integrity of information systems or the way that data is processed, stores, and transmitted.

A good rule of thumb to consider is that if a system or network device processes, stores or transmits CUI it must comply with NIST 800-171. This includes routers and switches, not just servers and desktops.

The CUI requirements are intended for use by federal agencies in appropriate contractual vehicles or other agreements established between those agencies and non-federal organizations. For more information on what constitutes CUI, check out the National Archives CUI Registry (

The deadline to meet NIST 800-171 compliance was December 31, 2017, but security professionals estimate that only one percent met that deadline. In terms of certification, there currently is none. When you sign a federally awarded contract, you are attesting to the fact that your IT systems are compliant. This means it’s up to each contractor and applicable sub-contractors to self-certify prior to signing a contract. It is NNT’s view that a well-documented System Security Plans that maps to the fourteen NIST 800-171 control families will be sufficient should questions arise around compliance.


                  NIST 800-171 Security Control Families
AC Access Control MP Media Protection
AU Audit and Accountability PP Physical Protection
AT Awareness and Training PS Personnel Security
CM Configuration Management RA Risk Assessment
IA Identification & Authentication SA Security Assessment
IR Incident Response SC System & Communications Protection
MA Maintenance SI System & Information Integrity


NNT’s Change Tracker™ product maps directly to 9 of the 14 security control families. To better understand what those controls are and where an organization might effectively start, see below for a detailed breakdown of the 800-171 control families and learn how NNT can help you address each requirement.




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