Federal Information Processing Standards

What Does Federal Information Processing Standards Mean?

Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) are guidelines and specifications that are issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that apply to federal computer systems.

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Techopedia Explains Federal Information Processing Standards

NIST standards are approved by the Secretary of Commerce, pursuant to the Information Technology Reform Act of 1996 and the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002. FIPS are developed only when standards do not exist for system security interoperability, portable software, data or computer security.

The FIPS adoption process allows interested parties to comment on proposed FIPS, which are subsequently announced by NIST in the Federal Register and the NIST website for a public comment and review phase. Next, a justification and analysis document is presented to the Secretary of Commerce for approval. If approved, the final FIPS is published in the Federal Register and on NIST’s website.

The NIST Computer Security Division website provides access to a number of FIPS and other computer security standards. Encryption standards include the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Digital Signature Standard (DSS), Escrowed Encryption Standard (EES) and Public-Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS).

Additional FIPS topics of interest include automatic password generators and local area network (LAN) security analysis.

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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…