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Understanding CJIS Compliance Requirements

Understanding CJIS Compliance Requirements


Criminal Justice Information Services, is a branch of the FBI that caters to law enforcement agencies at the local, state, federal, and international levels by providing them with support services and criminal justice information.

This information comprises sensitive data like fingerprints, criminal records, and personal information relevant to criminal investigations. It is of utmost importance for law enforcement agencies to be aware of the CJIS compliance requirements and implement them accordingly.

CJIS compliance requirements

Here is a brief guide to the main CJIS compliance requirements currently in force.

Security policy

The security policy is the foundation of the CJIS compliance requirements. It is a set of guidelines and procedures that law enforcement agencies must follow to ensure the security and confidentiality of the information in the CJIS database. The security policy covers a wide range of areas, including:

  • Information security
  • Information access control
  • Configuration management
  • Personnel security
  • Physical security
  • Risk management
  • Incident response

Identification

Identification is the process of associating a unique identity with a user or device. It is typically accomplished by requiring the user to enter a unique identifier such as a username, employee ID, or device serial number.

For CJIS compliance, identification must be linked to an individual or device that is authorized to access the CJIS data. This can be accomplished by using a role-based access control (RBAC) system, where access rights are granted based on a specific role or job function.

Authentication

To comply with CJIS standards, authentication is essential to ensure that only authorized personnel or devices access the sensitive data. This process involves verifying the identity of the user or device attempting to access the CJIS data. CJIS standards mandate the use of either strong passwords or multi-factor authentication (MFA) as the primary method for authentication.

A strong password must have at least 12 characters, comprising a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. It’s critical to change passwords regularly and avoid reusing passwords to prevent unauthorized access to the system.

In addition to the three categories of factors mentioned earlier (knowledge, possession, and inherence), CJIS guidelines recommend that MFA include at least one “hard” factor and one “soft” factor. A hard factor is a factor that cannot be easily duplicated or shared, such as a smart card or biometric identifier. A soft factor is a factor that can be duplicated or shared, such as a password or PIN.

To ensure MFA compliance with CJIS standards, agencies should implement an authentication system that is capable of verifying each factor independently. For example, if using a smart card and PIN, the authentication system should be able to verify the smart card and PIN separately.

Access control

To ensure compliance with CJIS requirements, access to the CJIS data must be limited to authorized personnel who have a legitimate need to access the information. Access control should follow the principle of least privilege, which means that users are granted access to only the minimum level necessary to perform their job functions.

To implement access control measures, CJIS recommends the use of technical and administrative controls, such as access control lists (ACLs), role-based access control (RBAC), and user permissions. These controls help ensure that only authorized personnel can access the CJIS data and that their access is limited to the specific data and functions required for their job duties.

Auditing and accountability

To ensure compliance with CJIS requirements, law enforcement agencies must implement auditing and accountability controls that record all access to the CJIS data, including the identity of the user accessing the information, the time of access, and the data accessed. This data should be regularly reviewed and analyzed to identify any unauthorized or suspicious activity.

Configuration management

CJIS guidelines recommend that law enforcement agencies establish a configuration management plan that outlines the procedures and policies for managing and controlling changes to their systems. This plan should include the identification of critical assets, the establishment of a baseline configuration, and the use of change control procedures to track and manage changes to system configurations.

Personnel security

CJIS guidelines require that all personnel who access CJIS data undergo a background check, which includes criminal history, credit history, and employment history. The background check should be conducted prior to granting access to the CJIS data and should be updated periodically to ensure that personnel continue to meet the necessary requirements.

Physical security

CJIS guidelines require that physical security controls be implemented to protect the physical environment where the CJIS data is stored. These controls may include surveillance systems, access control systems, and physical barriers such as fences and locks. The data center or server room where the CJIS data is stored should be physically secured with restricted access, and access should be granted only to authorized personnel with a legitimate need to access the data.

Incident response

Incident response refers to the processes and procedures that an organization follows to manage and mitigate the impact of security incidents. CJIS compliance requires law enforcement agencies to establish and maintain incident response capabilities that are designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of CJIS data.

 

Listen to our Podcast about CJIS:

Special Guest, Larry Coffee (Diverse Computing) and Harvey Seale (Mimecast)

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