A special security agreement (SSA) is a legal arrangement between a company and the U.S. government that regulates the level of security and protection provided to classified information by the company. The agreement is designed to ensure that only trustworthy individuals can access the classified information, and that the information is protected from unauthorized access or disclosure.
The purpose of an SSA is to create a framework for the secure handling of classified information by companies that are not directly controlled by the U.S. government. The agreement lays out the roles and responsibilities of both parties, and outlines the specific security measures that must be in place to protect classified information.
The SSA generally covers four main areas:
1. Personnel Security: The agreement requires that companies conduct background checks on all personnel who will have access to classified information. This includes not only employees of the company, but also contractors and other third-party vendors. The agreement also requires that the company establish safeguards to prevent unauthorized access to classified information, such as requiring two-factor authentication for access to secure systems.
2. Physical Security: The agreement requires that companies establish physical security measures to protect classified information. This includes secure storage facilities, CCTV monitoring, and access control systems. The company must also establish procedures for the handling and transport of classified information, including the use of secure containers and protocols for the destruction of classified material.
3. Information Security: The agreement requires that companies establish information security measures to protect classified information from cyber threats. This includes secure network infrastructure, regular vulnerability assessments, and incident response plans. The company must also establish procedures for reporting security incidents and conducting internal investigations.
4. Reporting Requirements: The agreement requires that the company report any security breaches or incidents to the U.S. government. The company must also provide regular updates on its security posture and compliance with the SSA.
In summary, a special security agreement is a legal document that outlines the responsibilities and requirements for a company to handle classified information on behalf of the U.S. government. The agreement establishes a framework for the secure handling of sensitive information and ensures that appropriate security measures are in place to protect the information from unauthorized access or disclosure. Compliance with the SSA is critical for companies that want to do business with the U.S. government and handle classified information.