Any firm contracting for the Department of Defense (DoD) and other government organizations must safeguard confidential data from growing cyber threats. This mandates modern cybersecurity technologies and strict adherence to regulatory requirements. 

Contractors play a crucial role in ensuring the security of Government data. The National Institutes of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171 provides a clear roadmap for this responsibility, outlining essential privacy best practices. The DoD and many federal governments have adopted NIST SP 800-171 as a standardized set of recommended procedures. 

NIST 800-171 templates exist to help minimize errors and streamline procedures. This blog highlights five essential templates required to handle data safely.  

What is NIST 800-171 Compliance? 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology developed NIST 800-171, a uniform data security framework (similar to HIPAA and GDPR). 

NIST 800-171 compliance is a collection of suggested guidelines for safeguarding the privacy of controlled unclassified information (CUI). CUI is among the fundamental elements of NIST compliance. CUI is confidential information that isn’t classified but is nevertheless vital and must be secured. 

NIST addresses various security standards for data management, encryption, auditing, risk evaluation, and other critical cybersecurity challenges. Following NIST guidelines allows you to operate your organization in line with the most rigorous data security standards.  

Understanding NIST 800-171 Policy Templates 

NIST 800-171 policy templates explicitly link regulations, requirements, and processes to NIST 800-171 R2 restrictions and the Assessment Objectives (AOs) in NIST 800-171A. They also incorporate footnotes in Microsoft Word papers and intersection mapping in Microsoft Excel. This displays how the policies, standards, and processes closely relate to NIST 800-171 requirements. 

In addition, some provide a variety of items, including modeling for NIST 800-171 R3 Final Public Draft (FPD) and NIST 800-171A R3 Initial Public Draft. 

5 Essential NIST 800-171 Templates 

There are several solutions for CMMC/NIST 800-171 compliance initiatives. It hinges on the emphasis of your compliance operations because the correct template will vary depending on whether you only need to comply with CMMC / NIST 800-171 or have other compliance commitments to handle. 

The five crucial alternatives include: 

1. NIST 800-171 system security plan (ssp) template 

This is a customizable System Security Plan (SSP) template, especially for NIST 800-171 compliance in response to client requests.  

The SSP is designed to function as a “living document” that compiles relevant data about the application of controls for NIST 800-171. The SSP template explicitly tackles all of the controls required in NIST 800-171’s Appendices D and E for Non-Federal Organizations (NFOs) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). A crucial component of your company’s cybersecurity program might be the SSP. It can be used with other specialty items (to form bundles). 

2. NIST 800-171 Compliance Program (NCP) 

From the documentation standpoint, this is as near to an “easy button” as you can get anywhere. The NCP is limited to NIST 800-171 / CMMC Level 2. The NCP is the most affordable and beneficial option in this instance. It includes every policy, standard, technique, SSP/POA&M, and other templates you can reasonably require to prove NIST 800-171 compliance and satisfy a CMMC assessment. You will get updated copies of the documentation after completing NIST 800-171 R3 because the NCP contains a year’s revisions. 

3. NIST 800-171 with CMMC 

Bundle #2 is an excellent choice if you have to talk to NIST 800-53 to access extra contracts (such as FedRAMP, RMF, FISMA, etc.). This edition leverages NIST 800-53 language and taxonomy (such as covering all 20 NIST 800-53 control classes) and is precisely matched with the moderate benchmark from NIST 800-53B. This could be excessive for businesses requiring compliance with CMMC / NIST 800-171 unless additional requirements call for the full moderation baseline from NIST 800-53. 

4. NIST 800-171 / CMMC  

Bundle #3 is comparable to Bundle #2, except it includes NIST 800-53 B’s substantial baseline compliance. This is intended for those specific enterprises that must follow NIST 800-53’s high starting point, encompassing NIST 800-172. 

5. NIST 800-171 / CMMC  

A business-class organization that intends to use a GRC platform to assist with documentation management should choose CMMC bundle #4 if you want to cater to the whole ballgame with robust compliance for much more than merely CMMC / NIST 800-171. This makes use of the Secure Controls Framework (SCF), which incorporates more than 100 cybersecurity and privacy statutes, regulations, and standards, such as ISO 27001/2, CMMC, NIST 800-171, NIST 800-172, NIST 800-53, NIST CSF, and several more. You will get updated copies of the material with the finalization of NIST 800-171 R3 because the Digital Security Program (DSP) contains a year of updates. 

Compliance Requirements for NIST 800-171 

Your CUI is safeguarded by NIST 800-171 compliance standards. Adhering to these criteria is imperative to guarantee compliance. This checklist delineates the distinct security criteria spanning fourteen families. 

They are as follows: 

  • Access Management 
  • Learning and Mindfulness 
  • Testing and Accountability 
  • Configuration management 
  • Authentication and Recognition 
  • Taking Charge of Emergencies 
  • Servicing 
  • Media protection 
  • Personnel Safety  
  • Physical Preservation 
  • Potential Risks Analysis 
  • Security Consideration 
  • System and Communications Security 
  • Information and System Integrity 

These security criteria are divided into two families: basic and Derived. The families differ in the number of requirements. The NIST Special Publication 800-171 has further information regarding the requirements. 


A suitable template can help guard against data loss, ransomware, and other online dangers to your Office 365 and G Suite cloud data. You can start with the five above. 

Good luck!

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