CA-7: Continuous Monitoring


Previous Version:

Control Statement

Develop a system-level continuous monitoring strategy and implement continuous monitoring in accordance with the organization-level continuous monitoring strategy that includes:

  1. Establishing the following system-level metrics to be monitored: [Assignment: organization-defined system-level metrics];
  2. Establishing [Assignment: organization-defined frequencies] for monitoring and [Assignment: organization-defined frequencies] for assessment of control effectiveness;
  3. Ongoing control assessments in accordance with the continuous monitoring strategy;
  4. Ongoing monitoring of system and organization-defined metrics in accordance with the continuous monitoring strategy;
  5. Correlation and analysis of information generated by control assessments and monitoring;
  6. Response actions to address results of the analysis of control assessment and monitoring information; and
  7. Reporting the security and privacy status of the system to [Assignment: organization-defined personnel or roles] [Assignment: organization-defined frequency].

Supplemental Guidance

Continuous monitoring at the system level facilitates ongoing awareness of the system security and privacy posture to support organizational risk management decisions. The terms "continuous" and "ongoing" imply that organizations assess and monitor their controls and risks at a frequency sufficient to support risk-based decisions. Different types of controls may require different monitoring frequencies. The results of continuous monitoring generate risk response actions by organizations. When monitoring the effectiveness of multiple controls that have been grouped into capabilities, a root-cause analysis may be needed to determine the specific control that has failed. Continuous monitoring programs allow organizations to maintain the authorizations of systems and common controls in highly dynamic environments of operation with changing mission and business needs, threats, vulnerabilities, and technologies. Having access to security and privacy information on a continuing basis through reports and dashboards gives organizational officials the ability to make effective and timely risk management decisions, including ongoing authorization decisions.

Automation supports more frequent updates to hardware, software, and firmware inventories, authorization packages, and other system information. Effectiveness is further enhanced when continuous monitoring outputs are formatted to provide information that is specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely. Continuous monitoring activities are scaled in accordance with the security categories of systems. Monitoring requirements, including the need for specific monitoring, may be referenced in other controls and control enhancements, such as AC-2g, AC-2(7), AC-2(12)(a), AC-2(7)(b), AC-2(7)(c), AC-17(1), AT-4a, AU-13, AU-13(1), AU-13(2), CM-3f, CM-6d, CM-11c, IR-5, MA-2b, MA-3a, MA-4a, PE-3d, PE-6, PE-14b, PE-16, PE-20, PM-6, PM-23, PM-31, PS-7e, SA-9c, SR-4, SC-5(3)(b), SC-7a, SC-7(24)(b), SC-18c, SC-43b, and SI-4.

Control Enhancements

CA-7(1): Independent Assessment


  • Moderate
  • High

Employ independent assessors or assessment teams to monitor the controls in the system on an ongoing basis.

CA-7(3): Trend Analyses


(Not part of any baseline)

Employ trend analyses to determine if control implementations, the frequency of continuous monitoring activities, and the types of activities used in the continuous monitoring process need to be modified based on empirical data.

CA-7(4): Risk Monitoring


  • Low
  • Moderate
  • High
  • Privacy

Ensure risk monitoring is an integral part of the continuous monitoring strategy that includes the following: Effectiveness monitoring; Compliance monitoring; and Change monitoring.

CA-7(5): Consistency Analysis


(Not part of any baseline)

Employ the following actions to validate that policies are established and implemented controls are operating in a consistent manner: [Assignment: organization-defined actions].

CA-7(6): Automation Support for Monitoring


(Not part of any baseline)

Ensure the accuracy, currency, and availability of monitoring results for the system using [Assignment: organization-defined automated mechanisms].