The Department of Defense’s Defense Information Systems Agency provides technical guidelines referred to as STIGs that help reduce cybersecurity threats and breaches by protecting hardware, software, and networks.

Compliance with STIG regulations is vitally important for businesses that work with the US Government, yet adhering to them can be time-consuming and cumbersome.

What is a STIG?

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) offers technical guidelines known as Security Technical Implementation Guides or STIGs that are used by their department to protect information systems and software against cybersecurity threats. These STIGs outline how organizations should handle and manage their software and hardware and make recommendations on strengthening baseline security configurations.

There are various types of STIGs, each one meeting its own set of requirements; nonetheless, all have similar features:

An approach used to identify and assess risks to overall safety (i.e., high, medium and low; also referred to as Categories 1, 2, and 3 respectively). Requirements may apply in various areas such as password policies, application security, network infrastructure management systems or database management systems.

Conduct a compliance check to make sure your business complies with a particular DISA STIG. This involves creating a checklist with all of the security configurations and controls needed for each system or software application, then going through each item on this list to verify they meet each requirement.

Once your checklist is complete, create a report outlining its results to identify any gaps in your security posture. This could include where security configurations do not align with DISA standards or where new systems and software applications have been added without sufficient security configurations in place.

There are tools available that can simplify the process of developing and reporting on DISA STIG compliance checklists and results. SAST (secure coding tools) are designed to scan code and detect vulnerabilities exploitable by hackers; saving you both time and effort compared with manually reviewing each line yourself. In addition to using SAST tools, regular compliance checks should also be conducted and results reviewed in order to make sure security configurations still align with government and industry cybersecurity standards.

What are STIG requirements?

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) sets and enforces security standards for information systems, software, and hardware that connect to the DoD network. These standards are detailed in what’s known as a DISA STIG or Security Technical Implementation Guide – detailed technical instructions outlining how a system’s secure configuration should be established – an essential factor in safeguarding networks, systems, and data from cyber threats and breaches.

The Department of Defense requires all organizations that interact with its IT infrastructure to be compliant with DISA STIG standards. This applies to government agencies and defense contractors with access to classified information as well as businesses working with DoD systems for business purposes. Failing to follow DISA STIG regulations could result in heavy fines as well as lost business opportunities.

DISA STIGs are requirements created to help ensure hardware, software and applications are configured securely. Each STIG outlines what must be implemented to meet DoD cybersecurity standards – their purpose being to prevent security vulnerabilities that can cost organizations dearly.

DISA STIG requirements often center on increasing security, which may limit some devices or software functionality. Therefore, it is wise to test any changes before implementing them on the live network.

Manually performing each of the steps involved in a DISA STIG can be time and resource intensive, and automation offers an efficient means of eliminating human errors while speeding up the process.

RedSeal’s automated DISA STIG compliance checks can quickly identify any non-compliant devices in your network and provide remediation guidance, down to which line in their configuration file requires modification. Download our DISA STIG and SRG Compliance Checksheet now for more details!

With an easy-to-use app on iOS or Android devices, it’s now simple and quick to create and complete a DISA STIG or SRG checklist anywhere, at any time. Pre-made templates make creating customized checklists effortless – start tracking compliance today with DISA requirements!

How do STIGs work?

STIGs provide configuration guidelines for specific IT solutions such as routers, operating systems and software in order to lower cyberattack risk and vulnerabilities. By adhering to DISA STIG standards, businesses can ensure their processes comply with cybersecurity best practices and regulations.

A typical DISA STIG is organized to make its purpose easy for business leaders and IT teams. This starts with the introduction, which provides insight into why businesses must follow these regulations to protect digital assets. Next comes the Requirements section, outlining compliance standards that organizations must abide by and includes action items and benchmarks that help assess their cybersecurity posture. Finally, Findings details vulnerabilities which need to be addressed immediately or later; this may include an ID, severity level, title and description to quickly determine which findings require immediate implementation and which ones can wait.

One key thing to keep in mind when reviewing DISA STIGs and CIS Benchmarks is their continued evolution, which means perfect compliance cannot be reached using only manual processes. A better option may be using an automated solution which scans your environment quickly to assess security configurations for compliance more efficiently and quickly.

Automating configuration management across your infrastructure reduces human errors or misconfigurations that could expose your business to threats, while at the same time providing near real-time access for checks on each device or subsystem ensuring they use their most up-to-date version.

Manually implementing and monitoring these requirements through traditional checklists would be time consuming and cumbersome, which is why DISA developed the Gold Disk as a solution. With it you can automate configuration verification against a DISA STIG standard for faster mission completion time and greater security.

How do I stay compliant with STIGs?

As a contractor, it may be important for you to adhere to DISA STIG guidelines. These security configuration standards provided by Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), in support of the Department of Defense (DoD), can help secure hardware and software from threats while helping DISA protect DoD networks against attacks such as cybersecurity attacks or vulnerabilities.

As an organization, it’s critical that you remain compliant with DISA STIG requirements to continue working with government agencies. Failing to follow proper configuration standards could result in denied access to DoD networks and systems; Runecast offers support services for compliance with DISA STIGs and other government security regulations.

DISA STIGs aim to strengthen government networks against potential cyberattacks and malicious behaviors by strengthening baseline configurations against any potential vulnerabilities and attacks. These standards isolate devices and software applications from outside influences or vulnerabilities to ensure the whole network remains secure; providing guidance for hardware, operating systems, network devices as well as whole architecture systems and configurations.

While these configuration requirements were initially developed to protect DoD infrastructure, they also serve to safeguard commercial systems. Many off-the-shelf software, servers and devices must comply with DISA STIG requirements to reduce risks related to potential vulnerabilities introduced into wider networks by these products.

DISA continually adapts and updates their STIG guidelines in response to emerging vulnerabilities and emerging technologies, so it is vitally important that your security configurations align with these standards. As such, regular compliance checks against DISA STIG should be conducted.

Labor-intensive tasks, like manually downloading and applying settings on each system or software application, can become more burdensome with time. Luckily, there are tools that can automate this process for you – helping identify any areas where action must be taken before applying them with one click, saving weeks or months of manual effort in the process.

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