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How Small Businesses Can Achieve NIST 800-171 and ITAR Compliance

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

As the cybersecurity landscape evolves, small businesses are increasingly under scrutiny to comply with strict regulations like NIST 800-171 and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations). Regardless the size of the business, the stakes are high; non-compliance can result in steep penalties, loss of contracts, and a tarnished reputation. In this post, I aim to help guide you through the labyrinth of NIST 800-171 and ITAR compliance, offering actionable insights to make the journey less daunting.

Understanding NIST 800-171:

The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Special Publication 800-171 aims to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) when transacted by non-federal organizations. In simpler terms, if your business deals with sensitive information from the U.S. government, you need to be NIST 800-171 compliant.

Understanding ITAR:

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) control the export and import of defense-related articles and services. ITAR compliance is crucial for any business involved in the manufacturing, sale, or distribution of arms or related material.

How to Achieve NIST 800-171 Compliance:

1. Gap Assessment: Identify where you stand in terms of compliance.

2. Create an Action Plan: Build a plan addressing all the control families outlined in NIST 800-171.

3. Implement Controls: Put in place the recommended security measures.

4. Documentation: Keep detailed records, essential for audits.

5. Employee Training: Train staff to maintain compliance.

How to Comply with ITAR:

1. Know What You're Handling: Understand if your products or services fall under the ITAR jurisdiction.

2. Register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC): Mandatory for all ITAR-bound businesses.

3. Data Security: Ensure secure storage and transmission of sensitive data.

4. Access Controls: Limit access to authorized personnel only.

5. Ongoing Compliance: Regular audits to ensure continuous compliance.

Simplify Compliance with Expert Help:

NIST 800-171 and ITAR compliance can seem overwhelming for small businesses. NexTier Cyber Solutions offers a comprehensive approach to meet these stringent requirements. Our tailored services, including Gap Assessments and vCISO offerings, ensure you navigate compliance seamlessly and securely.


NIST 800-171 and ITAR are more than just acronyms or checkboxes to tick; they're about securing your business in a complex digital world. As a small business, achieving compliance may seem like an uphill battle, but with the right strategy and expert guidance, you can secure your business and tap into lucrative government contracts.

For more information on how NexTier Cyber Solutions can help your small business achieve NIST 800-171 and ITAR compliance, contact us today.

Keywords: NIST 800-171, ITAR, small business, cybersecurity, compliance, Gap Assessment, vCISO, NexTier Cyber Solutions, security measures, audits, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, employee training, data security.

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