Controlled Unclassified Information

What Is Controlled Unclassified Information?

CUI is a fairly new term and is defined as “information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls pursuant to and consistent with applicable law, regulations, and government wide policies.”

Categories of CUI and Compliance Requirements

Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) is information that does not qualify for protection under federal government security classification, but that still needs to be handled with particular care. The CUI registry is a list of categories of information, organizations and types of covered media which are considered CUI and subject to the ensuing CUI compliance requirements.

There are over 100 categories of CUI, ranging from internal communications, audit records, and employee records to intellectual property, certain export and import information, and defense contract information. Each category is associated with specific labeling requirements, dissemination restrictions and other related conditions.

Organizations must ensure their data and systems comply with CUI requirements by identifying regulated data sets and implementing proper security controls and procedures. In addition, they must have policies in place outlining how employees should handle controlled unclassified information to avoid any potential breaches or misuse.

Different Types of Controlled Unclassified Information

Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) is a term used to describe certain unclassified data and documents. It typically includes information whose handling could be restricted under law or regulation. CUI can range from sensitive corporate data, such as financial records or trade secrets, to information related to national security, such as medical records or social security numbers.

The Controlled Unclassified Information Registry (CUI) was established by the National Archives and Records Administration in 2016. It provides rules for the handling of CUI, including what categories are included and who can access and process it. Here are some of the types of CUI covered:

  • Financial data
  • Trade secrets
  • Personal information
  • Law enforcement sensitive information
  • Critical infrastructure information
  • Contractor performance assessment reports
  • Patents and copyrights

CUI compliance is an important part of the IT Governance framework for any organization that handles this type of data. It involves ensuring all internal procedures are correctly followed when handling CUI, as well as making sure that all external resources accessing CUI comply with applicable laws, regulations and government policies.

Implementing CUI Compliance Solutions

Companies and organizations must ensure they comply with CUI requirements in order to protect sensitive information. To do this, they need CUI compliance solutions such as a controlled unclassified information registry to manage data, track access, and store activity logs.

A controlled unclassified information registry should include the following components:

  • Categories of Controlled Unclassified Information: This should include a comprehensive list of CUI categories including such items as export controlled and government-only information.
  • Access Controls: A system for granting user access to various levels of data based on their role and authorizations.
  • Security Settings: Security protocols that must be followed in order to protect the privacy and integrity of the data.
  • Audited Reports: Documenting who accessed what data and when it was accessed should be available in real-time or on demand.

By implementing these elements, companies can ensure they remain compliant with CUI requirements while also protecting sensitive information and providing secure access measures for authorized users.


How to Protect CUI Data in Your Organization

Organizations are increasingly storing and sharing Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) either on their own premises or in the cloud. To protect this valuable data, organizations must ensure compliance with CUI requirements through strict controls.

Securing CUI data requires implementing a comprehensive and enforceable security policy. This can be done by:

  • Properly identifying types of CUI and classifying the data accordingly using the Controlled Unclassified Information Registry (CUI Registry)
  • Understanding and applying CUI compliance policies including information handling, labeling, protection and destruction
  • Defining granular access control limits to ensure only authorized users have access to the appropriate information
  • Establishing clear lines of accountability with respect to authorized personnel custodians responsible for registering, categorizing, and managing CUI data
  • Ensuring third-party service providers use the same security processes as your organization
  • Establishing robust data loss prevention practices to quickly identify any possible misuse of information

As CUI compliance is a complicated, yet necessary, process, it is important to have the right solutions in place to ensure the highest level of data security and compliance. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the CUI instructions and regulations, as well as the CUI registry, will help you be prepared to navigate CUI compliance successfully.