Planning for NIST SP 800-131A security conformance

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) SP 800-131A is a United States standard that provides guidance for protecting data by using cryptographic algorithms that have key strengths of at least 112 bits.

Note: NIST-800-131a mode is enabled by default on the DS8900F HMC.

NIST SP 800-131A defines which cryptographic algorithms are valid and which cryptographic algorithm parameter values are required to achieve a specific security strength in a specific time period. Starting in 2014, a minimum-security strength of 112 bits is required when new data is processed or created.

In general, storage systems allow the use of 112-bit security strengths if the other unit that is attached to the network connection supports 112-bit security strength. If security levels are set to conform with NIST SP 800-131A guidelines, the storage system requires 112-bit security strength on TLS connections, other than remote support network connections.

On network connections that use TLS protocols, 112-bit security has the following requirements:
  • The client and server must negotiate the use of either TLS 1.2 or TLS 1.3.
  • The client and server must negotiate an approved cipher suite that uses cryptographic algorithms with at least 112-bit security strength.
  • The client or server must limit hash and signature algorithms to provide at least 112-bit security strength; for example, the client must prevent the use of SHA-1 hashes.
  • Certificates that are used by the client or server must have public keys and digital signatures with at least 112-bit security strength, such as RSA-2048 keys with SHA-256 digital signatures.
  • Deterministic random bit generators (DRBGs) must use approved algorithms with a least 112-bit security strength and must be provided with entropy sources that have at least 112 bits of entropy.
To enable NIST SP 800-131A security conformance in your environment, update the following entities. It might not be feasible to update all these entities at the same time because of various dependencies. Therefore, you can upgrade them for NIST SP 800-131A security conformance independently of each other.
  • Encryption key servers
  • Remote authentication servers
  • DS Network Interface clients
  • DS Network Interface server
  • DS8000® Storage Management GUI and DS Service GUI servers
  • SMI-S agents
Attention: Before you disable earlier TLS protocols on the storage systems, you must ensure that all external system networks connected to the storage systems are enabled for TLS 1.2 and 1.3, and are NIST SP 800-131A compliant. Otherwise, network connection to these systems will be prohibited.

For information about configuring your environment for NIST SP 800-131A conformance, see security best practices.