Definition: The United States Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) are publicly announced standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology for use in non-military American government agencies and government contractors' computer systems. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issues these standards-related publications (FIPS PUBS) after the Secretary of Commerce approves them under FISMA.
FIPS are standards and guidelines for federal computer systems that are developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in accordance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and approved by the Secretary of Commerce. When there are no acceptable industry standards or solutions for a specific government requirement, these standards and guidelines are developed.
FIPS specifies document processing, encryption algorithms, and other information technology standards for use by non-military government agencies, including government contractors and vendors. The standards are focussed on a specific area in information technology and aim to achieve a common level of quality or interoperability.
While FIPS is required for federal government users, they are a valuable resource for non-government organizations looking to develop strong information security programmes.