Security Certifications and Regulations 101: FIPS and Why It Matters

Discover the computer security and interoperability standards known as FIPS, which stands for Federal Information Processing Standards, and how this standard’s certifications and regulations could affect how you protect your data.

What is FIPS?

The Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) are a set of data security standards overseen as a joint effort between the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) of the Government of Canada. 

FIPS is designed for government-wide use to ensure an organization’s technologies meet security requirements and are appropriately protected. However, in addition to the government, many commercial organizations are turning to FIPS validation to ensure their mission-critical data is protected.

The FIPS Publication 140-2 specifies requirements for cryptographic modules that protect sensitive information. In other words, it oversees how technology encrypts and safeguards private data to ensure it is kept safe in the event of a data breach or equipment loss.

While in FIPS mode, Globalscape’s EFT platform leverages the OpenSSL FIPS Object Module 2.0 for all cryptographic functions. This EFT module has been certified repeatedly by multiple organizations (including certificate #2839, among others), and thanks to these validations, can be assumed to retain its status as FIPS-validated when the module is used in its unaltered form, no matter how else the organization or product uses the EFT platform.

Learn More: FIPS Ciphers Certificate for Globalscape

What Does It Cover?

How does FIPS help agencies and other organizations keep their sensitive data secure? Modules or software that has been given FIPS 140-2 validation can be used in processes such as:

  • Data storage: Information at rest is secured in a compliant manner through repository encryption and the complete sanitization of deleted data. Once deleted, sanitized data cannot be restored.
  • Data in transit: Secure file transfers occur using built-in FIPS-validated cryptographic libraries, including transfers through SSL (FTPS), HTTP over SSL (HTTPS), and SFTP (SSH2).
  • Access to information: Robust permission-based access controls keep data in the hands of authorized individuals—and no one else.

With the right tools, such as an MFT platform supported by EFT Security Modules, organizations facilitate and maintain the level of security their operations require. Offerings such as MFT platforms can streamline the process to set up the appropriate programs and safeguards, monitor their performance to detect any issues, and create the necessary logs for audits.

Data security is incredibly important across a wide range of industries. Whether an organization is in the government sector or not, using FIPS-validated tools can give decision-makers the confidence they need to rely on a convenient, efficient, and robust data management solution while also bolstering their security.

Related Compliance Reading: Supercharge Your PCI DSS Compliance with MFT Software

Compliance Resources

“The average cost for organizations that experience non-compliance related problems is $9.4 million.” (Ponemon Institute, True Cost of Compliance)

Data privacy is important, and it’s a core reason why compliance regulations are in place. Non-compliance often indicates that an organization doesn’t have the minimum data security protections and processes in place to protect the data they manage.

Is your organization meeting its compliance mandates? Do you know how non-compliance can affect your organization? If you need to learn more about compliance mandates and how a strong data management solution can improve your organization’s compliance, download our guide “Out of Order! The Risks of Being Out of Compliance.” You will learn:

  • Common compliance regulations and which businesses are affected
  • Three ways compliance problems can negatively affect your business
  • How data management plays a role in your compliance strategy