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Confused about CMMC? Ask Yourself These Questions

Confused about CMMC? Ask Yourself These Questions

By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard talk of the DoD’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Compliance standards. While the official deadline for compliance with CMMC is set for 2025, it’s imperative for you and your firm to prepare for its implementation today. There are a number of reasons for this. To begin with, the United States Department of Defense has already begun to incorporate CMMC compliance clauses into a select number of DIB contracts. If your organization encounters such a contract without the proper protections in place, you could lose out on lucrative opportunities. Additionally, much of the landscape around CMMC compliance is evolving by the day. Staying up to date with the information is critical for proper positioning when the time comes. As a business owner working within the Defense Industrial Base, you likely have many things on your mind. It’s reasonable to feel overwhelmed in preparing for the coming shift in the DoD’s cybersecurity standards. If you’re unsure of where to start though, these three simple questions will set you on the right path.

What Exactly Is CMMC?

Cybersecurity maturity model certification will require an independent body of auditors to certify the integrity of your organization’s cybersecurity protections. As a business owner within the Defense Industrial Base, you are likely well aware of your obligation to properly handle Controlled Unclassified Information. Until recently, the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement, or DFARS, allowed DIB contractors to self certify the integrity of their cybersecurity networks per the standards in NIST-800. CMMC will add an additional layer of protection across the Defense Industrial Base by requiring contractors to have their systems evaluated by a licensed auditor with the CMMC Accreditation body.

Once the CMMC-AB is active, your organization’s cybersecurity network will be evaluated and scored according to levels of increasing maturity. The level of maturity that your company will need to meet will depend on the nature of your business. While CMMC will implement some additional regulations, much of the first three levels of CMMC maturity are already codified in the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800.

Are Your Systems NIST-800 Compliant?

NIST-800 is the document that the Department of Defense uses to define the cybersecurity standards DIB contractors are mandated to uphold. Since CMMC will require independent accreditors to assess your compliance with these standards, ensuring that your organization is already NIST-800 compliant is the most effective thing you can do to prepare for CMMC. This is good news because your current contracts already have this mandate in place. It is imperative that you understand that CMMC will end your ability to self-report the readiness of your systems. If you are unsure of your current level of compliance with NIST-800, an experienced compliance management service will be able to evaluate your systems and advise you on how to improve them.

Do You Have a Relationship with a Compliance Management Service?

As a DIB contractor, having a working relationship with a firm specializing in compliance management is an invaluable resource. Not only will they ensure that you are fulfilling your current duties regarding cybersecurity, but they will also help you seamlessly transition into the realm of CMMC when the time comes. Developing a relationship with a compliance manager is a worthwhile investment in the health and longevity of your company. They’ll ensure that you are eligible for any contract that comes your way and that you are honoring your responsibilities to the security of your business.

As a DIB contractor, you are tasked with protecting the nation’s interests from adversaries and criminals alike. Let a compliance manager aid you on the journey.

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by Brian Perry // Brian Perry is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.