How U.S. DoD Government Contractors Can Achieve CMMC Compliance
Every day, the U.S Department of Defense (DoD) faces millions of cyber threats while its contractors are battling to protect sensitive DoD information. DoD contractors are responsible for implementing and monitoring the information technology systems that store that information, which is vital to avoid putting the national security at risk. So, what is the standard for DoD cybersecurity processes? Well, it was recently released in 2020, and is called the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC).
CMMC was the DoD’s response to the rising number of cybersecurity threats that have compromised sensitive defense information. Today, all DoD contractors are required to be in compliance with CMMC. In this blog, we’re going to go over how defense contractors can not only achieve CMMC compliance, but maintain it as well.
Why Contractors Need to be CMMC Compliant
If contractors wish to continue working with the DoD, they MUST be CMMC compliant. While contractors and other agencies under the DoD may find compliance and security standards confusing, from the government’s perspective, maintaining high standards and cybersecurity best practices is a matter of national security necessary to combat online threats. Organizations that are regularly hit with cyberattacks or don’t have the infrastructure in place to prevent and mitigate attacks will risk losing their contracts with the DoD.
The 5 Levels of CMMC
The CMMC consists of five certification levels contractors must complete to best implement cybersecurity practices. Certification is required for every company involved in DoD work, including subcontractors, and is good for 3 years.
- Level 1: Processes. Basic best cyber hygiene practices, sensitive data management.
- Level 2: Protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
- Level 3: Practices to safeguard CUI, including the NIST 800-171 (This is the most common necessary achievement level)
- Level 4: Practices using advanced persistent threats (APT) techniques and procedures.
- Level 5: In place sophisticated capabilities to detect and respond to APTs.
Analyzing the Standards
Contractors may be looking at this new guidance and wondering where to even begin. Like most government compliance standards, CMMC is detailed and exhaustive, but for good reason. It’s a good idea to understand what’s required of your organization, and working with a security partner can help you implement the new standards to keep you compliant.
How to Get Started
It’s important to note that not all contractors will require the same level of cybersecurity maturity, so your organization will need to determine what level is necessary. Because you’ll need to adhere to the standards of your level of maturity, it’s a good idea to find a security partner that can help you determine your organization’s level of cybersecurity maturity, as well as help you correctly implement your security regimen.
For more information, download our CMMC Compliance FAQ sheet.