While hardly a new topic for anyone doing business with the government, current events and the challenges of COVID-19 provide a cautionary tale and proactive reminder that doing business with the government carries with the burden of ensuring applicable data privacy and security protections are in place.  As companies consider existing relationships with the U.S. government, or potentially pursuing new business with the U.S. government in responding to current challenges, we thought it a good time to provide a high-level summary of what to expect.

All organizations store, maintain, and process data to some extent.  However, organizations that contract with the federal government may also be storing controlled unclassified information (“CUI”).  The federal government requires that CUI be protected from public disclosure; or other unauthorized use.  Protection of CUI in nonfederal systems and organizations is important to federal agencies and can directly affect the ability of the federal government to successfully conduct its essential missions and functions. For example, over the last decade, cyber criminals have increasingly targeted contractor organizations to extract information in an attempt to weaken the federal government’s supply chain. Accordingly, companies can expect to see an emphasis on security of CUI when contracting with the federal government as they process CUI and other types of data on the government’s behalf, whether directly as a prime contractor or subcontractor to a prime contractor of the government.


Continue Reading COVID-19 Bulletin: Dreaming of a government contract? Neglecting data security can be a nightmare.

There are several helpful resources for contractors looking to comply with the National Institute of Standards and Technologies Special Publication 800-171, “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations.” To help contractors meet the requirements, NIST recently issued NIST Handbook 162, entitled “NIST MEP Cybersecurity Self-Assessment Handbook For Assessing NIST SP 800-171 Security Requirements in Response to DFARS Cybersecurity Requirements.”  The Handbook provides a step-by-step guide to assessing a manufacturer’s information systems against the security requirements in
Continue Reading NIST SP 800-171 Resources for Government Contractors

Ohio is poised to lead the nation by incentivizing businesses to implement certain cybersecurity controls, which can be an affirmative defense to a data breach claim based on negligence. Under the proposed legislation, if a business is sued for negligently failing to implement reasonable information security controls resulting in a data breach, the business can assert its compliance with the cybersecurity control as an affirmative defense at trial.

For years we have counseled our clients to implement a comprehensive data
Continue Reading Cybersecurity: An Affirmative Defense to Ohio Data Breach Negligence Claims

The Network Penetration Reporting and Contracting for Cloud Services Rule was the subject of two interim rules published Aug. 26, 2015 (80 FR 51739) and Dec. 30, 2015 (80 FR 81472), before being published as a final rule Oct. 21, 2016 (81 FR 72986), and clarified by DoD through answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), published Jan. 27, 2017.

The Rule requires that contractors “implement NIST SP 800-171, as soon as practical, but
Continue Reading Small Defense Contractors – Are You Ready For NIST SP 800-171?

The new DoD cybersecurity regulations require contractors to implement the security requirements specified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171, “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations,” not later than Dec. 31, 2017. DFARS, 252.204-7008(c)(1).

However, a contractor may propose to vary from the NIST SP 800-171 requirements under two circumstances. Under DFARS 252.204-7008(c)(2), a contractor may propose to vary from the security requirements specified by NIST SP 800-171 through a
Continue Reading Will the New DoD Cybersecurity Regulations Cause a New Wave of Protest Disputes?

The U.S. Department of Defense published its Network Penetration Reporting and Cloud Computing Services regulations as an interim rule in August 2015 and updated them in December 2015.  Watch this new webinar replay at your convenience to learn about the regulations, how they may impact your business, and the concerns of industry groups. Click HERE to watch the webinar in its entirety.

 
Continue Reading Webinar Replay Now Available on the New Defense Department Cybersecurity Rules

On June 4, 2015, the Office of Personnel Management announced that personally identifiable information for 4 million current and retired U.S. Government employees had been breached. China was suspected of having facilitated the breach.

Two weeks later, after the number of data breach victims had risen to 14 million, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published its new Guidelines for Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations, NIST Special Publication 800-171.

We published our
Continue Reading Did China’s Agreement Not to Steal U.S. Intellectual Property Influence the Defense Department’s Decision to Grant a Two-Year Extension for Contractors to Comply with NIST SP 800-171’s Guidelines for Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information?

*This is the first post in a four-part series detailing steps to help contractors meet compliance obligations under the new cyber security regulations implemented by the Department of Defense (“DoD”) on Network Penetration Reporting and Contracting for Cloud Services. (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) Parts 202, 204, 212, 239, and 252.)
Today’s post provides an introduction to the new DoD cyber security regulations.

Cloud securityThe DoD decided to implement the new cyber security regulations, and make them effective immediately upon
Continue Reading Introduction to the New DoD Cyber Security Regulations

New obligations are being imposed on government contractors for protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is responsible for developing information security standards and guidelines, recently published Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations, NIST Special Publication 800-171, released June 2015. Contracting officers for federal agencies will impose the NIST recommended requirements for protecting the confidentiality of CUI:

  1. when the CUI is resident in nonfederal information systems and organizations;
  2. when


Continue Reading Government Contractors: New Obligations for Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information