Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC): How to Achieve Compliance
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) aims to standardize cybersecurity controls and preparedness within their expansive contractor ecosystem by requiring Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) for engaged prime contractors along with any subcontractors offering services to the DoD through those primes. In its announcement on January 31, 2020, the DoD outlined Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) requirements that’ll be mandatory at some level for organizations involved in select new contracts as of 2020 and in all contracts by 2026.
CMMC certification is designed to protect against unauthorized use and disclosure of two critical types of data when stored on non-government systems. Those data types include Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and Federal Contract Information (FCI). But unlike other compliance standards that simply note whether or not a certain policy, practice, or control is in place, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification provides for a more progressive framework based on a contractor or subcontractor’s progressive level of maturity. This means, as an organization advances through each level, it’s able to earn a higher level of certification. CMMC provides five levels of process maturity and practice, and each is associated with an increasingly higher level of control.
Within the DoD’s CMMC certification framework are various components that analyze domains, processes, capabilities, and practices. Once CMMC is fully rolled out, the DoD is ultimately responsible for determining which level each individual organization would be required to obtain. Whereas one organization might be required to hold level five CMMC certification, others might only need to obtain level one, two, three, or four. That being said, DoD contract opportunities will still be made available at all levels of this maturity model.
The five levels of maturity.
Level One. This level of CMMC certification ensures a contractor or subcontractor provides basic cyber hygiene. This level focuses on 17 practices to protect Federal Contract Information (FCI), with practices corresponding with the basic safeguarding requirements outlined in 48 CFR 52.204-21.
Level Two. This level of CMMC certification ensures the organization provides intermediate-level cyber hygiene and focuses on 72 practices to safeguard FCI. Level Two CMMC certification is considered a transition step to help a contractor mature and progress toward CUI protection. It involves a subset of NIST SP 800-171 cyber security requirements along with practices outlined in other comparable standards.
Level Three. This level of CMMC certification ensures an organization provides good cyber hygiene focused on 130 practices safeguarding FCI and CUI. Level Three CMMC Certification requires compliance with all NIST SP 800-171 requirements along with a few practices in other standards, as well.
Level Four. This level of CMMC certification shifts the focus toward proactive actions a contractor or subcontractor takes to protect against, to detect, and to respond to cyber security threats. Certification signifies proactive cyber hygiene focused on 156 practices safeguarding FCI and CUI. It also indicates that the company takes measures to proactively reduce the risk of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). Certification demonstrates an enhanced ability to address ever-changing tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Level Five. This level of CMMC certification demonstrates a contractor’s increased cybersecurity sophistication and ensures the organization’s advanced/proactive cyber hygiene focused on 171 practices. These practices safeguard FCI and CUI from Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).
The benefits of CMMC readiness.
Contractors and subcontractors taking a proactive approach to CMMC certification and compliance have a notable competitive advantage when bidding on DoD contracts going forward. Decision-makers can easily ready their organization and mature their overall objectives by working with a CMMC-AB Registered Practitioner Organization™ (RPO), like Cyber Security Services. This type of partner is well versed in the most recent version of CMMC and can conduct a Readiness Assessment, so you’re better prepared to meet complex requirements once they’re fully implemented. In leveraging a Readiness Assessment, you can help your company lead the way amid evolving cyber security objectives while getting a head start on resolving any unexpected challenges and bottlenecks that might stand in your way.
How we can help.
At Cyber Security Services, we help federal contractors and subcontractors prepare their organization and navigate the complex certification landscape by offering expert advisory services and CMMC readiness assessments. We’re familiar with all 171 practices, 43 capabilities, and related processes that are required for certification at various levels. Let us provide the counsel and guidance you need when building your strategy, implementing your solution, and rectifying any issues that might arise.
If you store or have access to FCI or CUI, find out what you can do right now to get a head start. Let us help in outlining where and to whom data access has been granted, if that access is absolutely necessary, and how you stack up against various CMMC maturity levels. Learn which level and compliance standard you might face, understand the controls that you’ll need to have in place at each level, and find out how you can meet governmental demands. As part of our CMMC Assessment Service, we’ll present a comprehensive report outlining your current compliance standing, insight into areas you’ll need to address to obtain certification, and recommendations for implementing and maintaining practices that keep you in good standing. We can also work with you to seal vulnerabilities so you’re prepared to obtain and maintain CMMC certification for the long run.
Cyber Security Services is a trusted consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations test the integrity of their technology and systems, monitor systems, seal vulnerabilities, and maintain ongoing compliance with various government and industry regulations. We’d love to become a dependable extension to your organization, giving you a solid competitive edge over DoD contract wins.
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