The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a U.S. federal agency that establishes computer and information technology related standards and guidelines for federal agencies to use.
NIST SP 800-53 is shorthand for the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-53, Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organization. These guidelines apply to any component of a system that stores, processes or transmits federal information. It provides a catalog of controls — operational, technical, and management safeguards used by information systems to maintain the integrity, confidentiality, and security of federal information systems.
While the framework was designed for governmental agencies, it is used by organizations in all industries to improve the security of their organization’s information systems by providing a fundamental baseline for developing a secure organizational infrastructure.