Cybersecurity is critical to your success as a contractor with the Department of Defense (DoD). In order to remain an active member of the Defense Industrial Base, you will need to ensure that your systems and networks are up to DoD standards on cyber security. Maintaining a robust cybersecurity network for your firm will allow you to fulfill your duty to protect Controlled Unclassified Information, and defend against adversaries and criminals.
If you have been in business for a while, you are likely already familiar with the two critical compliance standards for adequate cybersecurity. The first is the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement or DFARS. This is the official doctrine that establishes your obligation to protect CUI. The second compliance standard is National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-171. Commonly abbreviated as NIST 800-171, this document consists of 110 standards divided into 14 categories. These standards are the elements and practices necessary for you to maintain good cybersecurity as defined by the DoD. The ever-changing nature of cyberwarfare has prompted the DoD to implement a new layer of protection. These new protections are known as the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification or CMMC.
Basics of CMMC Compliance
So, what is cmmc compliance? In short, CMMC will create a uniform standard across the DIB by implementing an accreditation system where your cybersecurity systems and practices will be evaluated. The current system allows for contractors like yourself to self-report your status. However, the DoD is currently building an Accreditation Body in an effort to create an infrastructure for cybersec evaluations.
What’s New About CMMC
The primary distinction between CMMC and earlier forms of compliance with the end of self-reporting and the introduction of independent evaluators. Fortunately for DoD contractors, many of the standards already exist within NIST 800-171. The standards laid out in the NIST publication will be divided into maturity levels with each subsequent tier introducing a higher standard of security. It is important to note that not all businesses will need to meet every maturity level. Depending on the nature of your business, the level you need to comply with may be higher or lower.
When Is This Happening?
Since it is a relatively new standard, details on CMMC compliance are still emerging. Still, there are a few things that are certain at this time. The most prominent among them is the date. The DoD has established 2025 as the deadline. When 2025 arrives, CMMC will be standard in every contract with a DoD contractor. While 2025 may sound like a long time from now, it is critical that you start taking steps to prepare now in 2022. This is because CMMC clauses are already being introduced to select contracts. Between now and 2025 the number of contracts mandating CMMC compliance will gradually increase. You want to be ready in the event you happen to win one of these contracts.
CMMC is ultimately an accreditation measure. It will evaluate your system and report the findings to the DoD. As previously stated, these security standards lean heavily on the requirements listed in NIST 800-171. Ensuring that you are already complying with NIST 800-171 is the best thing to do in order to be prepared for CMMC compliance.
Compliance Management Conclusion
You do not have to start the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification journey alone. If you have questions or concerns about your level of CMMC compliance, reaching out to a compliance management service is a great way to get your business on track. Compliance managers will evaluate your current systems in order to evaluate their current condition. They will be able to advise you on the steps you need to take in order to improve to be compliant and secure. Most importantly, they will help you stay up to date as the information on CMMC continues to develop.