In this article, we will dive into what CMMC is, why it is necessary, and the steps to become certified. This is critical for contractors who want to work with the DoD and other government entities.
A CMMC assessment is an evaluation of a contractor’s cybersecurity maturity level against the standards set forth in the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). Successful certification will be required for the DoD’s Defense Industrial Base (DIB) contracts, products, services and supply chain to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Certification will be required to work with the DoD.
The assessment is performed by an accredited third-party assessor organization (C3PAO) to determine the contractor’s ability to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and Federal Contract Information (FCI). The CMMC assessment evaluates the contractor’s implementation of security controls and processes, as well as their ability to manage and respond to cybersecurity incidents.
The CMMC framework comprises three levels of a maturity model, each with specific cybersecurity requirements. It provides a standardized approach for assessing and enhancing the cybersecurity posture of companies working with the DoD . The levels are designed to build upon each other, with each level representing an increase in the cybersecurity maturity of the organization. The levels are as follows:
Level 1, Foundational. Level 1 focuses on establishing basic cybersecurity hygiene practices. This includes implementing basic cybersecurity measures such as antivirus software, regular password changes, and employee security awareness training. At this level, organizations are required to ensure that they have the necessary security controls in place to protect their information from unauthorized access, theft, or loss.
Level 2, Advanced. Level 2 includes all the requirements of the previous level and adds more advanced cybersecurity practices. This includes implementing system backup and recovery, media protection, and security assessments. At this level, organizations are expected to have a good cybersecurity posture, be able to identify and assess threats, and have the necessary tools to lower risks.
Level 3, Expert. Level 3 includes all the requirements mentioned in other levels and not only protects against the most advanced and persistent cyber threats but goes on offense. This includes implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity program, including advanced threat hunting and penetration testing. At this level, organizations are expected to have the most advanced cybersecurity posture, be able to detect and respond to the most advanced and persistent cyber threats, and have a near-impenetrable cybersecurity program in place.
Why is a CMMC Certification Important?
There are several reasons why it is important for companies to get CMMC certified. CMMC compliance addresses several regulations and requirements that relate to cybersecurity and information protection that includes:
- DFARS 252.204-7012: This regulation is part of the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and requires that companies that handle covered defense information (CDI) implement specific cybersecurity controls to protect that information.
- NIST SP 800-171: This is a set of guidelines published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that provides recommendations for protecting controlled unclassified information (CUI). DFARS 252.204-7012 requires compliance with NIST SP 800-171.
- FAR Clause 52.204-21: This clause requires companies to implement basic safeguarding measures for federal contract information (FCI).
- ITAR: The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of regulations that govern the export and import of defense-related articles and services. ITAR compliance requires robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data.
Benefits of CMMC
In addition to being required for Federal Contracts, additional benefits of CMMC are:
- Enhanced Cybersecurity: CMMC provides a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity by ensuring that DIB contractors have appropriate security controls in place to safeguard sensitive information, systems, and networks. It helps to mitigate the risk of cyber attacks and data breaches.
- Competitive Advantage: CMMC certification will become a requirement for contractors who want to bid on DoD contracts. Being CMMC certified gives DIB contractors a competitive edge in the bidding process, as it demonstrates their commitment to cybersecurity and their ability to handle CUI and FCI.
- Better Supply Chain Security: CMMC helps to strengthen the overall security posture of the DoD supply chain. By requiring contractors to implement security controls and undergo regular assessments, CMMC ensures that all parties involved in the supply chain are taking cybersecurity seriously.
- Consistency: CMMC provides a standardized approach to cybersecurity across the DIB. This consistency helps to ensure that all contractors are held to the same cybersecurity standards, regardless of their size or location.
- Improved Risk Management: CMMC requires DIB contractors to assess and manage their cybersecurity risks regularly. This process helps contractors to identify potential vulnerabilities and take appropriate steps to address them before they can be exploited by attackers.
Roadmap to Achieve CMMC Compliance.
Achieving CMMC assessment involves several steps, including:
Self-Assessment: The first step is for the company to conduct a self-assessment to determine their current level of cybersecurity maturity. This involves assessing the company’s processes, procedures, and systems against the CMMC framework.
Gap or Pre-Assessment: After completing the self-assessment, the company or 3rd party should conduct a gap assessment to identify areas where they need to improve to meet the requirements of their desired CMMC level.
Remediation: Once the gaps have been identified, the company with assistance from consultants should implement remediation measures to address these gaps. This may involve implementing new processes or systems, updating existing policies and procedures, or providing additional training to staff.
Assessment: The company will then need to undergo an assessment by a certified CMMC third-party assessment organization (C3PAO). The C3PAO will conduct a detailed review of the company’s cybersecurity posture to determine if they meet the requirements of their desired CMMC level.
Certification: If the company successfully meets the requirements of their desired CMMC level, they will receive a certification from the C3PAO. This certification is valid for three years, after which the company will need to undergo a reassessment to maintain their certification.
This is where Cask Government Services can help
It is important to note that achieving CMMC assessment can be a complex and time-consuming process. Companies that are looking to achieve CMMC certification should work with experienced cybersecurity professionals who have experience with the CMMC framework and can guide them through the process.to achieve CMMC compliance.
Cask Government Services is the third authorized C3PAO with years of experience performing assessments. This includes Government, Small Business Commercial and Large (Top 5) Defense Contractor clients. Contact us today to start your journey towards CMMC Compliance and gain a leg up within your industry.
What is CMMC?
CMMC stands for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. It is an evaluation of a contractor’s cybersecurity maturity against the standards set forth by the DoD. It is required for the DoD’s Defense Industrial Base (DIB) contracts, products, services and supply chain to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
What are the CMMC levels?
The CMMC framework is comprised of three levels of a maturity model. Level 1 focuses on establishing basic cybersecurity hygiene practices such as antivirus software, regular password changes, and employee security awareness training. Level 2 includes all the requirements of the previous level and adds more advanced cybersecurity practices. This includes implementing system backup and recovery, media protection, and security assessments. Level 3 includes all the requirements mentioned in other levels and not only protects against the most advanced and persistent cyber threats but goes on offense. This includes implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity program, including advanced threat hunting and penetration testing.
Why is a CMMC Certification Important?
CMMC compliance is important for companies working with the DoD because it addresses several regulations and requirements that relate to cybersecurity and information protection. These include DFARS 252.204-7012, NIST SP 800-171, FAR Clause 52.204-21, and ITAR. Additionally, it provides a competitive advantage in the bidding process, strengthens the overall security posture of the DoD supply chain, and helps companies improve their risk management.
What is the process for achieving CMMC compliance?
Achieving CMMC assessment involves several steps. These include conducting a self-assessment, conducting a gap or pre-assessment, implementing remediation measures, undergoing an assessment by a certified CMMC third-party assessment organization (C3PAO), and receiving certification. Companies should work with experienced cybersecurity professionals who have experience with the CMMC framework to guide them through the process.