Secure Beyond Standards:
Elevate Your DevSecOps
with CodeLock

Check - Elements Webflow Library - BRIX Templates
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Navigating the
NIST 800-218 Framework

What is NIST SP 800-218 SSDF?

NIST SP 800-218, also known as the Secure Software Development Framework (SSDF), is a set of guidelines developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to help organizations implement secure software development practices. It aims to reduce vulnerabilities, improve security, and ensure the development of more reliable software systems.

Why is NIST SP 800-218 important for software development?

NIST SP 800-218 is important because it provides a comprehensive, risk-based approach to secure software development. By adhering to these guidelines, developers can mitigate security risks from the outset, protect against threats, and build trust with users and customers by ensuring the delivery of secure and reliable software.

How does NIST SP 800-218 differ from other security frameworks?

Unlike other security frameworks that may focus on specific aspects of cybersecurity or target certain industries, NIST SP 800-218 is designed specifically for the software development process. It emphasizes security considerations throughout the entire software lifecycle, from planning to deployment, and is applicable across various sectors and software types.

Who needs to comply with NIST SP 800-218 SSDF?

Initially, NIST SP 800-218 SSDF is targeted at organizations developing software solutions for the U.S. federal government to ensure these solutions meet high-security standards. However, its adoption is recommended for all software developers and organizations to improve their software security posture, regardless of whether they directly sell to the government.

Will implementing NIST SP 800-218 improve my organization's overall cybersecurity posture?

Yes, implementing NIST SP 800-218 can significantly enhance your organization's cybersecurity posture. By integrating secure software development practices as outlined in the SSDF, you can proactively address security issues, reduce vulnerabilities in software, and build a stronger defense against cyber threats.

How do I start implementing NIST SP 800-218 SSDF in my organization?

Begin by conducting a gap analysis to understand where your current software development practices stand in relation to the SSDF requirements. This involves reviewing the SSDF's practices and principles against your existing processes to identify areas for improvement. Then, develop an implementation plan that prioritizes actions based on risk, resources, and business impact.

What are the key practices recommended by NIST SP 800-218 for secure software development?

NIST SP 800-218 outlines several key practices, including:

Prepare the Organization: Ensure that policies, procedures, and tools are in place to support secure software development.

Protect Software: Implement measures to protect software from unauthorized access and tampering throughout its lifecycle.

Produce Well-Secured Software: Incorporate security considerations into every stage of the development process, from design to deployment.

Respond to Vulnerabilities: Establish processes for identifying, assessing, and mitigating vulnerabilities in both development and post-deployment phases.

What resources and tools are required to implement NIST SP 800-218?

Implementing NIST SP 800-218 requires a combination of organizational policies, security tools, and training programs. Tools may include code analysis software, encryption libraries, and vulnerability scanners. Training should cover secure coding practices, threat modeling, and security testing for development teams.

How can small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adopt NIST SP 800-218 given limited resources?

SMEs can focus on prioritizing the most critical and impactful practices within the SSDF that align with their specific risks and business needs. Leveraging open-source tools, seeking external expertise through consultancy, and gradually building up security practices can make the adoption process more manageable. It’s also beneficial to integrate these practices incrementally, starting with high-priority projects.

How long does it typically take to implement NIST SP 800-218 SSDF?

The time required to implement NIST SP 800-218 can vary widely depending on the size of the organization, the current maturity of its software development practices, and the complexity of its projects. For some, initial steps towards compliance can be achieved within a few months, while fully integrating all aspects of the SSDF into complex environments may take several years. It's a continuous process of improvement rather than a one-time goal.

What does attestation of NIST SP 800-218 SSDF compliance involve?

Attestation of compliance with NIST SP 800-218 involves providing evidence that your software development practices align with the guidelines set forth in the SSDF. This typically means documenting the secure development policies, procedures, and controls you have implemented, and demonstrating how they meet the framework's requirements.

Who is responsible for attesting to NIST SP 800-218 compliance?

The responsibility for attesting to compliance generally falls on the organization's leadership involved in software development, such as CTOs, Heads of Software Development, or DevSecOps leaders. In some cases, third-party auditors or assessors may be involved in verifying compliance.

How can an organization prepare for a NIST SP 800-218 compliance audit?

Preparation for a compliance audit involves:

Conducting an internal review or pre-audit to identify any gaps in compliance.

Ensuring all documentation related to secure software development practices is up to date and accessible.

Training staff on their roles and responsibilities regarding SSDF compliance.

Engaging with qualified auditors to understand their requirements and expectations.

Is third-party certification required for NIST SP 800-218 SSDF compliance?

As of my last update, NIST does not mandate third-party certification for SSDF compliance. However, obtaining a third-party assessment can add credibility to your compliance claims and provide valuable insights into your security practices. It may also be required by some government contracts or industry regulations.

What are the challenges in attesting to NIST SP 800-218 compliance, and how can they be addressed?

Challenges may include:

Resource Allocation
: Ensuring sufficient resources are dedicated to compliance efforts. Address this by prioritizing activities that offer the highest security value.

Documentation and Evidence Gathering: Maintaining comprehensive records of compliance efforts. Implement systematic documentation practices to streamline this process.

Keeping Up with Evolving Standards: NIST SP 800-218 may be updated. Stay informed of changes by regularly reviewing NIST publications and adjusting your practices accordingly.

Addressing these challenges requires a proactive approach to compliance, continuous improvement of secure development practices, and engagement with the broader cybersecurity community to share insights and best practices.

Key Dates

DHS submitted the Secure Software Self-Attestation Common Form
for imminent approval by OMB Nov 2023
Software Supply Chain Security Guidance
Section 4e
Executive Order
EO 14028
May 2021
Dept Commerce
Memo M-22-18
Nov 2022
Start: June 2023
July 2021
Securing the Software Supply Chain Documents

Aug 2022

Sept 2022

Oct 2022

CISA Attestation Draft #1
April 2023

CISA Attestation Draft #2
November 2023

SSDF 800-218
Feb 2022
Memo M-23-16
June 2023
Start: 6 Months
Secure Software Development

A lack of code-level security, traceability, and complex compliance regulations can consume vast resources, leading to potential penalties, operational inefficiency, and reputational damage.


CodeLock can reduce the time and costs (saving up to 90%) associated with complying with new regulations associated with Presidential Executive Order 14028 and NIST 800-218.

Get Started Risk Free