Does Your Company Need to Meet CMMC Compliance?

In the ever-changing world of technology, data breaches and cybersecurity threats are becoming more commonplace with big corporations, medium-sized businesses and nationally recognized industry leaders.

Hackers are always learning advanced ways to break through security.

In order to combat cyber attacks, federal agencies have begun implementing industry compliance standards for their contractors and outsourced partners in order to upgrade their security measures.

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Compliance is the U.S. Government’s Department of Defense’s (DoD) own response to cybersecurity.

What is CMMC Compliance?

In order for any defense contractor or vendor to work with the DoD, they must go through the CMMC compliance certification process. This verifies that their practices and processes meet certain requirements for security standards. CMMC Compliance creates a standard for all contractors by assessing their approach to security and making it uniform across the board.

By standardizing the security approach for their vendors, the DoD can guarantee a framework that protects their Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), which are government data and information from the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) that should be kept private and secure.

Levels of Compliance

Requirements for CMMC Compliance vary based on the priority of the project and how protected the information needs to be. High-level clearance projects will need a higher level of security compliance; their practices and processes for cybersecurity will need to be more intensive and thorough.

As of November 2021, the DoD released the latest version of its compliance standards in CMMC 2.0, including several updates and changes to the original framework. In the previous version, there were five levels of compliance that contractors must test for. Now, there are three levels that contractors can achieve to work with the DoD.

Each level builds upon the one before it. The levels are as followed:

Level 1: Foundational

This level requires a basic safeguarding ability for covered contractor information. Their cybersecurity approach should protect their covered contractor information systems and limit access to authorized users that are trusted within the company. Firms authorized at this level may self-assess annually to remain certified.

Level 2: Advanced

Contractors working with CUI will need to comply with level two, where requirements focus on the company’s cybersecurity processes and practices protecting CUI. They mirror NIST SP 800-171.

Level 3: Expert

As the top level of compliance, only vendors working with CUI on the DoD’s highest priority programs will need/have this status. This level focuses on minimizing the danger of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).

Domains Addressed

Each certification level addresses the practices and processes of the contractor based upon their capabilities in a multitude of different domains in security:

  • Access Control
  • Security Assessment
  • Awareness & Training
  • Media Protection
  • Personnel Security
  • Maintenance
  • System & Communications Protection
  • Configuration Management
  • Physical Protection
  • System & Information
  • Identification & Authentication
  • Incident Response
  • Risk Assessment
  • Audit and Accountability

The standards set for each domain for the level a contractor is wishing to receive must be met across all of them in order to achieve compliance for that level.

Simply put: Each level of compliance must address these domains, though the standards advance with the level. You will need to meet the domain requirements of the specific level to earn compliance.

Why Should Your Business Have CMMC Compliance?

If your company is planning to partner with the DoD or any other government-ranking agency, then CMMC compliance may be mandatory. You will need to get verified before your contract work begins. Some agencies require the clearance before you can apply for the job.

Even if your business is not working under a government contract, CMMC compliance is a beneficial certification to have. Compliance testing ensures that your company stays up-to-date on cybersecurity procedures and practices.

Current and future clients can trust your business to protect their classified information by maintaining standards set by high-ranking federal agencies for long-term cybersecurity agility.

Managed Security Service Providers

Between completing their own projects and keeping in line with the government, it can be difficult for contractors to proactively test for and keep in compliance with cybersecurity regulations. Thankfully, the DoD allows its contractors to outsource the requirements to a third-party consultant, known as a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP).

MSSPs typically specialize in cybersecurity and compliance services, using advanced technological processes to actively test and monitor the contractor’s security for threats. By outsourcing to an MSSP, a contractor can meet standards and maintain them through their services.

Cost-Effective Security Compliance Services for Your Company

Outsourcing to an MSSP is the most cost-effective route for a government contractor to make. In doing so, they will be able to consistently meet the CMMC cybersecurity requirements, while focusing on their own tasks.

Networking Technologies + Support (NTS) is a Richmond-based and nationally ranked IT service provider that is considered both a Managed Service Provider (MSP) and an MSSP for security-specific work. NTS can identify your compliance data security shortcomings and make recommendations to resolve the issues.

As a cybersecurity advisor, NTS will use security audits in line with your desired level of compliance to test your company’s cybersecurity for any vulnerabilities They also provide framework assessments on your hardware and software systems to analyze for security effectiveness.

By employing MSSPs like NTS, government contractors won’t have to take precious time from their projects to test for updated cybersecurity protection or find solutions if one is needed. If your company needs to meet CMMC compliance, including self-assessment support, contact NTS so we can get you to the level you need.