FISMA, a federal law enacted in 2002, establishes a comprehensive framework to protect government information, operations, and assets from natural and manmade threats. The law mandates each federal agency in the US government to develop, document, and implement an agency-wide information security program to safeguard sensitive data and information systems that support the operations and assets of the agency.

FISMA assigns specific responsibilities to federal agencies, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to enhance information security systems. FISMA 2014 replaced FISMA and further strengthened the need for cybersecurity within the federal government. NIST developed standards, guidelines, and other resources to provide information security for all federal agency operations and assets in the FISMA Implementation Project launched in January 2003.

FISMA defines a framework for managing information security that must be followed by all information systems used or operated by a US federal government agency and third-party vendors working on behalf of a federal agency. FISMA compliance has increased the security of sensitive federal information, protecting national security interests, and continuous monitoring provides agencies with information about how to maintain their security and eliminate vulnerabilities in a cost-effective manner. Non-compliance with FISMA could result in a variety of penalties and negative consequences for government agencies and third-party vendors.

Best practices for FISMA compliance include classifying information, encrypting sensitive data, conducting regular risk assessments, providing employee training, maintaining evidence of compliance, and staying up to date with new regulations.

Tech Regulate offers solutions such as Vendor Risk and BreachSight to help organizations maintain FISMA compliance.