NIST Special Publication 800-53 (Rev. 4)

Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations


System and Communications Protection
P0 - Unspecified priority.
Baseline Allocation:
Low Moderate High

Control Description

The organization employs a diverse set of information technologies for [Assignment: organization-defined information system components] in the implementation of the information system.

Supplemental Guidance

Increasing the diversity of information technologies within organizational information systems reduces the impact of potential exploitations of specific technologies and also defends against common mode failures, including those failures induced by supply chain attacks. Diversity in information technologies also reduces the likelihood that the means adversaries use to compromise one information system component will be equally effective against other system components, thus further increasing the adversary work factor to successfully complete planned cyber attacks. An increase in diversity may add complexity and management overhead which could ultimately lead to mistakes and unauthorized configurations.

Related to: SA-12SA-14SC-27

Control Enhancements

The organization employs virtualization techniques to support the deployment of a diversity of operating systems and applications that are changed [Assignment: organization-defined frequency].
Supplemental Guidance: While frequent changes to operating systems and applications pose configuration management challenges, the changes can result in an increased work factor for adversaries in order to carry out successful cyber attacks. Changing virtual operating systems or applications, as opposed to changing actual operating systems/applications, provide virtual changes that impede attacker success while reducing configuration management efforts. In addition, virtualization techniques can assist organizations in isolating untrustworthy software and/or software of dubious provenance into confined execution environments.