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How a Small Metal Fabrication Federal Contractor Became FISMA Compliant and Earned Authorization to Operate (ATO) for a US NAVY Contract

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In the world of federal contracting, meeting stringent cybersecurity requirements is non-negotiable, especially when dealing with agencies as critical as the US Navy. This success story showcases how Arlington, a trusted partner in cybersecurity and compliance, helped a small metal fabrication federal contractor achieve FISMA compliance and secure Authorization to Operate (ATO) for a significant contract with the US Navy.

The Challenge

For our small federal contractor, specializing in metal fabrication, the opportunity to work with the US Navy was a game-changer. However, it came with the challenge of meeting the rigorous cybersecurity standards set by the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) and obtaining the necessary ATO to proceed with the contract. The contractor faced the following hurdles:

  • Lack of Cybersecurity Expertise: With limited cybersecurity expertise in-house, navigating the complexities of FISMA compliance seemed like a daunting task.

  • Customized Compliance Needs: Unlike larger defense contractors, the small firm had unique operational needs, and their cybersecurity strategy needed to be tailored accordingly.

  • Resource Constraints: The company lacked the resources to hire a full cybersecurity team and needed an efficient and cost-effective solution.

  • No Documentation: The contractor had not developed any NIST 800-53 policies, procedures, programs, or plans. 

The Arlington Solution

Arlington stepped in, offering tailored solutions to address each of these challenges.

Expert Cybersecurity Guidance: Arlington's team of experts in FISMA compliance and cybersecurity worked closely with the metal fabrication contractor. Specifically, we provided invaluable guidance, helping the company understand the intricacies of FISMA, NIST Special Publication 800-53, and the Risk Management Framework (RMF). This guidance was essential in demystifying complex regulations and ensuring a clear path to compliance.

Customized Compliance Strategy: Recognizing that one-size-fits-all solutions don't work in cybersecurity, Arlington developed a customized compliance strategy for the metal fabrication contractor. This strategy aligned with the company's specific operational needs and the unique challenges they faced. It included:

Resource Efficiency: Arlington's support proved cost-effective, sparing the contractor from the need to hire and maintain a full-time cybersecurity team. This efficiency allowed the company to allocate resources more effectively while benefiting from expert guidance.

Continuous Monitoring and Support: Arlington didn't stop once the compliance requirements were met. We emphasized the importance of NIST 800-53 continuous monitoring to ensure that the contractor remained compliant with FISMA and ready for any future audits. Our ongoing support included:

The Results: Authorization to Operate with the US Navy

Thanks to Arlington's comprehensive support and dedication, the small metal fabrication federal contractor achieved FISMA compliance and earned the coveted Authorization to Operate for their significant contract with the US Navy. The results were transformative:

  • Enhanced Security: The contractor's cybersecurity posture was significantly strengthened, reducing the risk of security breaches, and safeguarding sensitive data.

  • Competitive Edge: With ATO in hand, the company gained a competitive edge in the federal contracting space, opening doors to more lucrative opportunities.

  • Cost Savings: Arlington's efficient approach helped the contractor save resources, allowing them to reinvest in their business.

Arlington – FISMA Experts for DoD Contractors

This success story is a testament to the power of strategic partnerships and expert guidance in the world of federal contracting. Arlington's commitment to understanding the unique needs of the small metal fabrication federal contractor and tailoring a compliance strategy led to a transformative outcome—a successful ATO with the US Navy. 

This achievement not only enhances the contractor's reputation but also reinforces the importance of cybersecurity compliance in today's federal contracting landscape. For businesses aiming to navigate the complex terrain of FISMA compliance and ATO, Arlington stands as a trusted ally, ready to pave the way to success.

About Arlington

We are Arlington, a team of innovative, solution-oriented, highly agile, and well-versed professionals with decades of experience in working with America’s defense industry. From emerging cybersecurity regulations to helping our clients solve complex security & compliance solutions – and so much more – you can trust Arlington, the firm that’s Dedicated to Defense®.  Learn more at