The term “cybersecurity” is no longer just a fad but an essential part of our personal and professional lives, safeguarding our businesses, people, and processes. Identity and data theft affects everyone and happens constantly, with news emerging from all industries across the globe.
Fraudsters resort to any means necessary to obtain business and personal data. Any defense department contractor must have a Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) to safeguard their digital interests from malicious actors.
That also explains why around 300,000 government contractors and their subcontractors further down the supply chain are directly or indirectly affected by the security framework issued in 2020 by the United States Department of Defense (DoD).
What is CMMC compliance?
The United States Department of Defense developed the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) (DIB) to safeguard the information held by the Defense Industrial Base.
The Defense Industrial Base (DIB) comprises private companies that work with the US Department of Defense and are trusted with confidential data.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has announced plans to develop an examination and certification mechanism for cybersecurity in 2019. Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CIU) on DoD suppliers’ and contractors’ networks were the original focus of the CMMC (FCI).
US agency DoD announced plans for an improved and expanded CMMC 2.0 program in November 2021, just over two years after the DoD launched the CMMC’s initial phase. The initial goal of protecting sensitive CIU has been maintained in Phase 2, while at the same time, current compliance hurdles are reduced as much as possible.
What is the purpose of CMMC?
According to the Defense Department, they created CMMC so that all contractors, no matter how big or small, would follow the same guidelines for protecting DoD data.
If your company doesn’t have CMMC accreditation, it may miss out on significant opportunities to work with the Department of Defense. By 2025, all businesses conducting transactions with the government agency will need to be CMMC-accredited.
Can you prove that you’re following the rules?
To make your audit simpler and cheaper, invest in a competent GRC software platform that can identify your compliance gaps, provide guidance on how to close them, monitor your compliance tasks from assignment to completion, and collect proof of your compliance efforts.
The certification primarily aims to increase the safety and security of federal contractors’ Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
What are the CMMC requirements?
Certification in CMMC will have varying requirements based on the level of certification sought. It needs to meet the requirements for Levels 1 through 4. The prerequisites become stringent with each succeeding level. Therefore, a Level 2 certification covers all the Level 1 standards, while a Level 5 certification necessitates an organization to achieve the prerequisites for Levels 1-4. All five tiers of certification have the same set of provisions, which include:
- 43 skills spanning 17 categories
- Five stages in the process of maturity assessment
- 171 techniques for gauging technical proficiency
Depending on the type of certification, different criteria will need to be met. The necessities are subdivided into methods and procedures. To receive accreditation at higher levels, contractors must demonstrate mastery of more complex systems and processes. These are the areas of competence:
- Access Control (AC)
- Audit and Accountability (AU)
- Asset Management (AM)
- Awareness and Training (AT)
- Identification and Authentication (IA)
- Incident Response (IR)
- Configuration Management (CM)
- Physical Protection (PE)
- Media Protection (MP)
- Maintenance (MA)
- Personnel Security (PS)
- Risk Management (RM)
- Recovery (RE)
- System and Communications Protection (SC)
- Security Assessment (CA)
- System and Information Integrity (SI)
- Situational Awareness (SA)
The Department of Defense (DOD) expects prime contractors to follow its guidelines and include CMMC-level standards in all subcontracts. The certification requirements and the information you provide to your subcontractors are in your contract.
The certification requirements for individual DOD contracts will be outlined in the accompanying requests for information and proposals. It makes sense to go for the highest certification possible for your firm after considering the procedures you already have in place and those you can afford to develop.
As your CMMC score rises, you’ll have access to a wider variety of contracting opportunities with the Department of Defense.
The Department of Defense provides a comprehensive breakdown of each tier’s process and practice criteria.
Does your company need to be CMMC certified?
Vendors seeking to conduct business with the Department of Defense must become CMMC certified. Every participant in the supply chain who provides goods or services for commercial use is included here. Compliance with the CMMC is a requirement for all Defends Industrial Base (DIB) vendors, contractors, and subcontractors. The only businesses that don’t need CMMC accreditation are those that make mass-market goods.
The Department of Defense (DoD) relies on the CMMC Accreditation Body (CMMC-AB) to manage the CMMC certification process. Independent CMMC Third Party Assessment Organizations (CP3AOs) can now be accredited using the procedures set up by the two organizations.
How long does it take to get CMMC certified?
Companies interested in bidding on contracts with the Department of Defense should start planning the certification process well before any anticipated bids, typically taking six months to complete.
What is the difference between CMMI and CMMC?
CMMI evaluates the performance by constructing and measuring core capabilities to align with business goals for process development. CMMC is quite similar, but what sets it apart is the fact that it is a DoD certification procedure that assesses a DIB company’s capacity to safeguard FCI and CUI.
CMMI ensures personnel security, and CMMC is used for physical promotion.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has implemented cybersecurity guidelines into its purchase procedures to ensure that all contractors and subcontractors are adequately protected. Compliance with the CMMC is voluntary for all DoD contractors and subcontractors.
The complexities of CMMC compliance make using spreadsheets to monitor and document the process untenable, especially for firms seeking certification at Maturity Level 3.
You can begin working toward compliance with CMMC and NIST 800-171 by using any number of publicly available frameworks, templates, and other tools. Alternatively, you may kick back and let high-quality risk, governance, and compliance software handle everything.