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Categorize the system and document the security categorization results.
Potential Inputs: Risk management strategy; organizational risk tolerance; authorization boundary (i.e., system) information; organization- and system-level risk assessment results; information types processed, stored, or transmitted by the system; list of security and privacy requirements allocated to the system, system elements, and environment of operation; organizational authority or purpose for operating the system; business impact analyses or criticality analyses; information about missions, business functions, and mission/business processes supported by the system.
Expected Outputs: Impact levels determined for each information type and for each security objective (confidentiality, integrity, availability); security categorization based on high-water mark of information type impact levels.
Primary Responsibility: System Owner; Information Owner or Steward.
Supporting Roles: Senior Accountable Official for Risk Management or Risk Executive (Function); Chief Information Officer; Senior Agency Information Security Officer; Senior Agency Official for Privacy; Authorizing Official or Authorizing Official Designated Representative; System Security Officer; System Privacy Officer.
System Development Life Cycle Phase: New – Initiation (concept/requirements definition). Existing – Operations/Maintenance.
Discussion: Security categorization determinations consider potential adverse impacts to organizational operations, organizational assets, individuals, other organizations, and the Nation resulting from the loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of information. Organizations have flexibility in conducting a security categorization using either [FIPS 200] to establish a single impact level for a system based on the high-water mark concept (for other than national security systems), or [CNSSI 1253] to establish three impact values that may vary for each of the security objectives of confidentiality, integrity, and availability (for national security systems). The security categorization process is carried out by the system owner and the information owner or steward in cooperation and collaboration with senior leaders and executives with mission, business function, or risk management responsibilities. Cooperation and collaboration helps to ensure that individual systems are categorized based on the mission and business objectives of the organization. The system owner and information owner or steward consider the results from the security risk assessment (and the privacy risk assessment when the system processes PII) as a part of the security categorization decision. The decision is consistent with the risk management strategy. The results of the categorization process influence the selection of security controls for the system. Security categorization information is documented in the system security plan or included as an attachment to the plan and can be cross-referenced in a privacy plan when the system processes PII.

The security categorization results for the system can be further refined by the organization to facilitate an impact-level prioritization of systems with the same impact level (see Task P-6). Results from the impact-level prioritization conducted by the organization can be used to help system owners in control selection and tailoring decisions.
References: [FIPS 199]; [FIPS 200]; [SP 800-30]; [SP 800-39] (System Level); [SP 800-59]; [SP 800-60 v1]; [SP 800-60 v2]; [SP 800-160 v1] (Stakeholder Needs and Requirements Definition and System Requirements Definition Processes); [IR 8179]; [CNSSI 1253]; [NIST CSF] (Core [Identify Function]).