48 FAR 52.204-21

What is 48 FAR 52.204-21?

Finalized and approved in June 2016, the 48 FAR 52.204-21 Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires all Federal Contractors to improve their Basic Safeguarding of Covered Contractor Information Systems. It defines that federal contractors must be compliant with the below fifteen cybersecurity and physical security controls. These are a very basic subset of the NIST Special Publication 800-171 controls for safeguarding Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and/or Covered Defense Information (CDI) that defense contractors must follow. 

48 FAR 52.204-21 is a set of security requirements that have been added to federal contracts beginning in June 2016. It defines uniform policies and practices across the federal government and throughout all Prime and Sub Contractor companies conducting business with the US Federal Government. The fifteen safeguarding requirements and procedures are as shown below:

The Contractor shall apply the following basic safeguarding requirements and procedures to protect covered contractor information systems. Requirements and procedures for basic safeguarding of covered contractor information systems shall include, at a minimum, the following security controls:

  • Limit information system access to authorized users, processes acting on behalf of authorized users, or devices (including other information systems).
  • Limit information system access to the types of transactions and functions that authorized users are permitted to execute.
  • Verify and control/limit connections to and use of external information systems.
  • Control information posted or processed on publicly accessible information systems.
  • Identify information system users, processes acting on behalf of users, or devices.
  • Authenticate (or verify) the identities of those users, processes, or devices, as a prerequisite to allowing access to organizational information systems.
  • Sanitize or destroy information system media containing Federal Contract Information before disposal or release for reuse.
  • Limit physical access to organizational information systems, equipment, and the respective operating environments to authorized individuals.
  • Escort visitors and monitor visitor activity; maintain audit logs of physical access; and control and manage physical access devices.
  • Monitor, control, and protect organizational communications (i.e., information transmitted or received by organizational information systems) at the external boundaries and key internal boundaries of the information systems.
  • Implement subnetworks for publicly accessible system components that are physically or logically separated from internal networks.
  • Identify, report, and correct information and information system flaws in a timely manner.
  • Provide protection from malicious code at appropriate locations within organizational information systems.
  • Update malicious code protection mechanisms when new releases are available.
  • Perform periodic scans of the information system and real-time scans of files from external sources as files are downloaded, opened, or executed.

If you or your company are seeking help on understanding the requirements, assessing your compliance and/or meeting compliance, Sentar can help! Please contact us (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)