Information Sharing Agreement: Understanding the Basics according to NIST

As businesses, governments, and individuals rely increasingly on technology to store and share sensitive information, the need for secure information sharing practices has become more pressing. One way of ensuring information sharing is done safely is through information sharing agreements.

In this article, we’ll explore information sharing agreements as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), covering what they are, why they’re necessary, and how they work.

What is an information sharing agreement?

An information sharing agreement, as defined by NIST, is a formal agreement between two or more parties to share sensitive information, such as personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets, and confidential business information. The agreement outlines how the parties will share, protect, and use the information being shared.

Why are information sharing agreements necessary?

Information sharing agreements are necessary to ensure that the sharing of sensitive information is done safely and securely. Not only do they establish clear guidelines about how the information will be shared and used, but they also set expectations for how the parties will protect the information from unauthorized access or disclosure.

Additionally, information sharing agreements can help prevent misunderstandings or disputes between parties regarding the use of the information being shared. They also serve as a record of the agreement, outlining the terms and conditions of the sharing.

How do information sharing agreements work?

Information sharing agreements typically involve several key elements, including:

– Parties involved: The agreement should clearly identify all parties involved in the sharing of information, including their roles and responsibilities.

– Information being shared: The agreement should clearly specify the type of information being shared, including its sensitivity level and any restrictions on its use.

– Purpose: The agreement should state the reason for sharing the information, including any goals or objectives that the sharing is intended to achieve.

– Duration: The agreement should establish the duration of the sharing, including any conditions for extending or terminating the agreement.

– Access and use: The agreement should outline the procedures for accessing and using the information being shared, including any restrictions on access or use.

– Security measures: The agreement should specify the security measures that will be implemented to protect the information from unauthorized access or disclosure.

– Dispute resolution: The agreement should establish how disputes related to the sharing of information will be resolved.


Information sharing agreements are essential for ensuring that the sharing of sensitive information is done safely and securely. NIST provides guidelines for creating effective agreements, which include establishing clear guidelines around the sharing and use of information, as well as implementing specific security measures to protect the information being shared. By following these guidelines, businesses, governments, and other organizations can foster an environment of safe and secure information sharing.