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NIST 800-53 (L-M-H) - Policies & Standards (WISP)

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NIST 800-53 Rev4  LOW, MODERATE & HIGH BASELINE  Based Cybersecurity Policies & Standards  

The NIST 800-53 rev4 Low, Moderate & High Baseline-based Written Information Security Program (WISP-LMH) is our leading set of NIST-based cybersecurity policies and standards. This is a comprehensive, editable, easily implemented document that contains the policies, control objectives, standards and guidelines that your company needs to establish a world-class IT security program. Being Microsoft Word documents, you have the ability to make edits, as needed. For companies that need to be compliant with NIST 800-171, the WISP-LMH provides coverage for NIST 800-53 rev4 Low, Moderate & High baseline controls so you could implement the WISP-LMH for your NIST 800-171 compliance needs (CMMC Levels 1-4+).


When you look at NIST 800-53 as it compares to other cybersecurity frameworks, it is on the more robust side of the spectrum, based on the topics it covers. NIST 800-53 rev4 consists of 26 different families of cybersecurity and privacy controls. The NIST 800-53 rev4 Low, Moderate & High NIST 800-53 WISP has a policy for each of these 26 families of controls and standards to address the LOW, MODERATE & HIGH baseline controls of this framework. You can see example of the NIST 800-53 WISP's policies and standards below, as well as a product walkthrough video. 

Product Example - NIST 800-53 Low, Moderate & High Baseline - Cybersecurity Policies & Standards (WISP-LMH)

This version of the Written Information Security Program (WISP) is based on the NIST 800-53 rev4 framework. It contains cybersecurity policies and standards that align with NIST 800-53 (including NIST 800-171 requirements). You get fully-editable Microsoft Word and Excel documents that you can customize for your specific needs. To understand the differences between the NIST 800-53, ISO 27002 and NIST CSF versions of the WISP, please visit here for more details.


Low, Moderate & High Baseline

  Watch Our Product Walkthrough Video   View Product Example

Example NIST 800-53 WISP-LMH


Example Mapping WISP-LMH

Cost Savings Estimate - NIST 800-53 rev4 Low, Moderate & High Baseline Written Information Security Program (WISP-LMH)

When you look at the costs associated with either (1) hiring an external consultant to write cybersecurity documentation for you or (2) tasking your internal staff to write it, the cost comparisons paint a clear picture that buying from ComplianceForge is the logical option. Compared to hiring a consultant, you can save months of wait time and tens of thousands of dollars. Whereas, compared to writing your own documentation, you can potentially save hundreds of work hours and the associated cost of lost productivity. Purchasing the WISP from ComplianceForge offers these fundamental advantages when compared to the other options for obtaining quality cybersecurity documentation:

  • For your internal staff to generate comparable documentation, it would take them an estimated 240 work hours, which equates to a cost of approximately $18,000 in staff-related expenses. This is about 3-6 months of development time where your staff would be diverted from other work.
  • If you hire a consultant to generate this documentation, it would take them an estimated 140 work hours, which equates to a cost of approximately $42,000. This is about 2-3 months of development time for a contractor to provide you with the deliverable.
  • The WISP is approximately 2% of the cost for a consultant or 5% of the cost of your internal staff to generate equivalent documentation.
  • We process most orders the same business day so you can potentially start working with the WISP the same day you place your order.


The process of writing cybersecurity documentation can take an internal team many months and it involves pulling your most senior and experienced cybersecurity experts away from operational duties to assist in the process, which is generally not the most efficient use of their time. In addition to the immense cost of hiring a cybersecurity consultant at $300/hr+ to write this documentation for you, the time to schedule a consultant, provide guidance and get the deliverable product can take months. Even when you bring in a consultant, this also requires involvement from your internal team for quality control and answering questions, so the impact is not limited to just the consultant's time being consumed. 


Comprehensive NIST 800-53 rev 4 Low, Moderate & High Baseline-Based Documentation





The WISP-LMH can serve as a foundational element in your organization's cybersecurity program. It can stand alone or be paired with other specialized products we offer.

This NIST 800-53 rev4 Low, Moderate & High baseline-based WISP is a comprehensive, customizable, easily-implemented Microsoft Word document that contains the NIST 800-53 rev4 Low, Moderate & High baseline-based policies, control objectives, standards and guidelines that your company needs to establish a robust cybersecurity program. Being a Microsoft Word document, you have the ability to make edits to suit your company's specific needs. NIST 800-53 is the de facto standard for cybersecurity requirements that is issued by the US government. Therefore, government agencies, defense contractors, telecom service providers, health care providers, financial companies or any organizations that contract with the government tend to adopt NIST-based best practices over all other frameworks, based on regulatory requirements.

Unlike some of our competition that sell “bronze, silver and gold” levels of documentation, we understand that a standard is a standard for a reason. We take out the guesswork associated with picking an appropriate package level - we focus on providing documentation that offers a straightforward solution to provide the appropriate coverage you need. This focus on providing the best solution for our clients makes us proud that we are providing the best set of IT security policies and standards available. Saving a few dollars on a cheap solution can easily leave you with a false sense of security and gaping holes in your documentation that can leave you liable.


What Is The Written Information Security Program (WISP)?

Our products are one-time purchases with no software to install - you are buying Microsoft Office-based documentation templates that you can edit for your specific needs. If you can use Microsoft Office or OpenOffice, you can use this product! The WISP contains NIST 800-53 based cybersecurity policies & standards in an editable Microsoft Word format:

  • Each of the NIST 800-53 rev4 families has a policy associated with it, so there is a total of 26 policies.
  • Under each of the policies are standards that support the NIST 800-53 rev4 Low, Moderate & High baselines.
  • The WISP covers the Low, Moderate & High baseline control sets from NIST 800-53 rev 4 and FedRAMP.
  • The WISP addresses the “why?” and “what?” questions in an audit, since policies and standards form the foundation for your cybersecurity program.
  • The WISP provides the underlying cybersecurity standards that must be in place, as stipulated by statutory, regulatory and contractual requirements.
  • Just as Human Resources publishes an “employee handbook” to let employees know what is expected for employees from a HR perspective, the WISP does this from a cybersecurity perspective.

What Problem Does The WISP Solve?

  • Lack of In House Security Experience - Writing security documentation is a skill that many good cybersecurity professionals simple are not proficient at and avoid the task at all cost. Tasking your security analysts and engineers to write comprehensive documentation means you are actively taking them away from protecting and defending your network, which is not a wise use of their time. The NIST-based WISP is an efficient method to obtain comprehensive NIST 800-53 based security policies and standards for your organization!
  • Compliance Requirements - Nearly every organization, regardless of industry, is required to have formally-documented security policies and standards. Requirements range from PCI DSS to HIPAA to NIST 800-171. The WISP is designed with compliance in mind, since it focuses on leading security frameworks to address reasonably-expected security requirements. The WISP maps to several leading compliance frameworks so you can clearly see what is required!
  • Audit Failures - Security documentation does not age gracefully like a fine wine. Outdated documentation leads to gaps that expose organizations to audit failures and system compromises. The WISP's standards provides mapping to leading security frameworks to show you exactly what is required to both stay secure and compliant.  
  • Vendor Requirements - It is very common for clients and partners to request evidence of a security program and this includes policies and standards. The WISP provides this evidence!

How Does the WISP Solve It

  • Clear Documentation - The WISP provides comprehensive documentation to prove that your security program exists. This equates to a time saving of hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars in staff and consultant expenses!
  • Time Savings - The WISP can provide your organization with a semi-customized solution that requires minimal resources to fine tune for your organization's specific needs. 
  • Alignment With Leading Practices - The NIST-based WISP is written to align your organization with NIST 800-53 rev4!  

Creating A Cybersecurity Program Based On NIST 800-53 rev High Baseline

ComplianceForge provides businesses with exactly what they need to protect themselves - professionally written policies, procedures, standards and guidelines at a very affordable cost. Similar documentation standards can be found in Fortune 500 company that have dedicated IT Security staff. All information security policies and standards are backed up by documented best practices. The following leading practices are mapped into the NIST 800-53 rev4 Low, Moderate & High baseline-based Written Information Security Program (WISP) and you will get an Excel spreadsheet with the mapping as part of your purchase:

  • AICPA Trust Services Criteria (TSC) SOC 2
  • CERT Resilience Management Model (CERT RMM) v1.2
  • CIS Critical Security Controls (CSC) (SANS Top 20) v7.1
  • DoD Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)
  • FAR 52.204-21
  • FedRAMP (low, moderate & high baselines)
  • Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP)
  • GLBA
  • ISO 27002:2013
  • IRS 1075
  • MA 201 CMR 17.00
  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework v1.1
  • NIST 800-171 rev 1 (DFARS 252.204-7012)
  • NIST 800-171B (draft)
  • NY 23 NYCRR 500
  • OR 646A (Oregon Consumer Identity Theft Protection Act)
  • PCI DSS v3.2
  • Secure Controls Framework (SCF)
  • UK Cyber Essentials

 In addition to NIST-based Cybersecurity Policies & Standards, the NIST 800-53 WISP Comes With These Supplemental Cybersecurity Resources

As an extra bonus, we include the following supplemental documentation at no additional cost:

  • Excel spreadsheet that maps the standards to multiple statutory, regulatory and contractual frameworks 
  • Customizable cybersecurity awareness training presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint for information security awareness training ($260 value)
  • Cyberecurity awareness training form
  • Customizable Incident Response Plan (IRP) template
  • Business Impact Assessment (BIA) template
  • Business Continuity Plan (BCP) & Disaster Recovery (DR) template
  • Service provider indemnification & Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) template
  • User acknowledgement form
  • Change management request form
  • Risk assessment methodology template
  • Appointment orders for an Information Security Officer (ISO)

This documentation saves hundreds of hours by not having to make it on your own!


FAR vs DFARS (NIST 800-171) Implications 

NIST 800-171 isn’t just for Department of Defense (DoD) contractors. Representatives from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and DoD officials have recently been putting this information out in webinars and other training seminars on NIST 800-171. Many of our clients who need to address DFARS 252.204-7012 also have to address FAR 52.204-21. One common question we receive from clients pertains to aligning with the correct security framework to ensure they have the proper coverage for compliance. This generally revolves around aligning with ISO 27001/27002, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework or NIST 800-53, since those are the most common security frameworks.

The bottom line is that utilizing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO 27001/27002 as a security framework does not directly meet the requirements of NIST 800-171. In fact, NIST 800-171 (Appendix D) maps out how the CUI security requirements of NIST 800-171 relate to NIST 800-53 and ISO 27001/27002 security controls. This includes callouts where the ISO 27001/27002 framework does not fully satisfy the requirements of NIST 800-171. Therefore, policies and standards based on NIST 800-53 are what is needed to comply with NIST 800-171. 

This means that only the NIST 800-53 framework is going to meet FAR requirements of NIST 800171 - ISO 27002 and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework are going to be insufficient in coverage.


This Is How NIST 800-53 Cybersecurity Documentation Is Meant To Be Structured!

ComplianceForge provides businesses with exactly what they need to protect themselves - professionally written policies, procedures, standards and guidelines at a very affordable cost. Similar documentation standards can be found in Fortune 500 company that have dedicated IT Security staff. All information security policies and standards are backed up by documented best practices.



Hierarchical Approach - Built To Scale & Evolve With Your Business 

Our experience has proven that when it comes to Information Security policies, a standard is a standard for a reason. With that in mind, our Written Information Security Program (WISP) is based on industry-recognized best practices and Information Security standards so that you can meet your legal requirements. Unlike some competitor sites that offer “Bronze, Silver or Gold” packages that may leave you critically exposed, we offer a comprehensive Information Security solution to meet your specific compliance requirements. Why is this? It is simple - in the real world, compliance is penalty-centric. Courts have established a track record of punishing businesses for failing to perform “reasonably expected” steps to meet compliance with known standards. 

The Written Information Security Program (WISP) follows a hierarchical approach to how the structure is designed so that standards map to control objectives and control objectives map to policies. This allows for the standards to be logically grouped to support the policies.


Example Content  
comprehensive-cybersecurity-documentation.jpg   comprehensive-cybersecurity-documentation-example.jpg

Policies are “high level” statements of management’s intent and are intended to guide decisions to achieve rational outcomes. Policies are not meant to be prescriptive, but provide an overall direction for the organization.

Control Objectives support policy by identifying applicable requirements that the organization needs to address. These applicable requirements can be best practices, laws or other legal obligations.

Standards establish formal requirements in regards to processes, actions and configurations. Standards are entirely focused on providing narrowly-focused, prescriptive requirements that are quantifiable.

Procedures are formal methods of performing a task, based on a series of actions conducted in a defined and repeatable manner.

Controls are technical or administrative safeguards that may prevent, detect or lessen the ability of the threat actor to exploit a vulnerability.

Metrics are designed to facilitate decision-making, improve performance, and improve accountability through the collection, analysis, and reporting of relevant performance-related data.

NIST 800-171 Compliance Concerns?

Does your company need to comply with NIST 800-171 requirements for MODERATE baseline controls from NIST 800-53 rev4? The NIST version of the Written Information Security Program (WISP) is a comprehensive set of IT security policies and standards that is based on the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) 800-53 rev4 framework and it can help your organization become compliant with NIST 800-171 requirements.

Additionally, you will want to take a look at our NIST 800-171 Compliance Criteria (NCC) product, since it contains practical guidance on how to comply with NIST 800-171 requirements. This supports the NIST-based WISP. 

NIST 800-171 describes fourteen (14) families of security requirements for protecting the confidentiality of CUI. The families are aligned with the minimum security requirements for federal information and information systems described in Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 200, with exceptions for contingency planning, system, and services acquisition and planning requirements. Appendix D of NIST 800-171 maps requirements to both NIST 800-53 rev4 and ISO 27002:2013 best practices. Only NIST 800-53 offers complete coverage for NIST 800-171 requirements.


NIST 800-53 Written IT Security Documentation - Robust Approach To Cybersecurity

For a preview into what the twenty-six (26) Written Information Security Program (WISP) policies create is a comprehensive cybersecurity framework, based on NIST 800-53 v4 best practices and organized by FIPS 199 Management, Operational, Technical and Privacy categories:


The Most Comprehensive NIST 800-53-Based IT Security Documentation Available Online


Which Product Is Right For You? 

Our documentation is meant to address your requirements from strategic concepts all the way down to day-to-day deliverables you need to demonstrate compliance with common statutory, regulatory and contractual obligations. We offer up to 40% discounts on our documentation bundles, so please be aware that you have benefit from significant savings by bundling the documentation you need. You can see the available bundles here

We are here to help make comprehensive cybersecurity documentation as easy and as affordable as possible. We serve businesses of all sizes, from the Fortune 500 all the way down to small businesses, since our cybersecurity documentation products are designed to scale for organizations of any size or level of complexity. Our affordable solutions range from cybersecurity policies & standards documentation, to NIST 800-171 compliance checklists, to program-level documentation, such as "turn key" incident responserisk management or vulnerability management program documents. Our focus is on helping you become audit ready!



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