4 Ways That Adopting the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Benefits DoD Contractors
Are you a company wanting to do business with the Department of Defense (DoD)? If so, you need to prepare for a change that is coming which will impact your ability to secure government contracts. This change is the rollout of the upcoming Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) that will be a mandatory requirement to compete for DoD contracts.
What is CMMC, you ask? Well, CMMC provides the government assurance that your company can sufficiently protect Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), including information you may share with industry partners (aka subcontractors).
Your cybersecurity strategy and compliance with guidelines like CMMC go hand-in-hand. Meaning that when you put systems in place for CMMC certification, it can make up a good portion of the cybersecurity needs for your facility. It’s helpful to look at it in this way because there is some time and money involved to meet compliance. However, you’re also benefitting because you’re investing in your own IT security needs at the same time.
The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification is replacing the existing NIST 800-171 requirements. If you have been a part of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) and complying with the NIST specifications, then this is going to be a significant adjustment. But one that is necessary.
One change from the NIST 800-171 to the CMMC was the introduction of five levels of risk exposure designated by the DoD. These five levels have recently been distilled down into three.
One thing you’ll need to do if you want to continue or start accepting federal contracts is to identify which of the three levels apply to your business. We’ll discuss these in more detail below. But first…
Don’t believe that CMMC requirements will apply to your company? Over 300,000 organizations and universities provide the government equipment, services, and development of new technologies for the United States Armed Forces and the DoD. This Defense Industrial Base includes contractors, subcontractors, researchers, and staff in supply chain operations, development, and engineering.
How do you know if your company will be required to comply with CMMC?
If the federal government provides you with a government contract, then yes – your company will need to comply with CMMC.
Understanding the 3 Tiers of the CMMC 2.0 Framework
CMMC 1.0 became effective November 20, 2020, and includes a five-year phase-in period. After a review of the initial response by companies under a government contract, the framework was revised. This new CMMC 2.0 framework was introduced in November of 2021.
The 2.0 requirements include three main tiers of compliance:
- Level 1 (Foundational): This includes 17 practices to adopt and an annual self-assessment.
- Level 2 (Advanced): This includes 110 practices that are aligned with NIST SP 800-171 and triennial third-party assessment for critical national security information, along with annual self-assessment for select programs.
- Level 3 (Expert): This includes 110+ practices that are aligned with NIST SP 800-172 and triennial government-led assessments.
How can you figure out what level of CMMC you’ll need to have?
If you only possess Federal Contract Information (FCI) (e.g., contract documents) and that documentation isn’t critical to national security you will need CMMC Level 1 (Foundational) to continue to do business with the Federal Government and be considered for federal contracts.
If you possess FCI and process any form of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), you will need CMMC Level 2 (Advanced).
CMMC Level 3 (Expert) will apply to companies that interact with high-value assets and/or high-profile programs which need protection from advanced persistent threats (APTs).
Advantages of Adopting the CMMC
Ensures Contractors Continue Qualifying for Government Contracts
The obvious benefit of adopting CMMC is that it allows your organization to be considered for the award of federal contracts. So, if you rely on these government contracts for revenue, you will need to adopt the CMMC 2.0 framework and be certified.
Reduces Risk from Cyber Threats
By doing what’s necessary to be certified in CMMC, your company will be reducing your risk of cyber threats. The whole purpose of the framework is to protect government information that is shared throughout the base of contractors and the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) that the U.S. government relies on.
Improves Overall Cyber Hygiene
The CMMC framework includes multiple best practices that companies should be adhering to anyway. So, your team’s cyber hygiene is improved by going through the certification process and maintaining the requirements.
Enhances Preparedness in Responding to Cyber Incidents
Having your company CMMC certified will reduce your costs by enhancing your cyber incident response preparedness. Needing to meet these government standards forces organizations to be ready to react quickly in case there is a breach.
According to “Cost of a Data Breach Report,” organizations with a tested incident response strategy average 35% lower breach remediation costs than those without one.
How Can Stellar Innovations Help You Achieve CMMC Certification?
Meeting the requirements for CMMC at any level can be a tremendous burden and expense for any company, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Let Stellar Innovations & Solutions Inc. (SIS) assess the CMMC level your company will need and provide you with a roadmap to compliance. We can save you valuable time, minimize stress, and provide the resources you need to confidently assert your CMMC compliance posture.
Just fill out the form below for more information about our CMMC assessment services.