As Tripwire reports, the Department of Defense has rolled out the CMMC Certification (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification) in January of this year. These guidelines were brought forward as a means of tightening the security of defense contractors and ensuring that national secrets aren’t leaked. Contractors with a vested interest in securing the Department of Defense’s contracts need to be both aware and compliant with the CMMC standard and all it entails. As this certification becomes more crucial for businesses, businesses in this sector should keep in mind a few things.
CMMC Is Still Being Rolled Out
While the CMMC standards are already in place, the standard’s rollout will be gradual. The DOD knows that it’s unfeasible to try to make the CMMC retroactive. As a result, any ongoing contracts with the DOD won’t be subject to CMMC qualification. However, all future agreements will depend upon the certification to determine whether the contractor is fit enough to carry out work. If you’re a DOD contractor, the chances are that the CMMC will apply to your company’s status sooner or later. Seeking the certification new puts you ahead of the curve.
The CMMC-AB is Responsible For Accrediting Third Party Assessors
CMMC third-party assessor organizations (C3PAO) are the companies that have the responsibility of ensuring that companies are certified under the guidelines of the CMMC. The CMMC Accreditation board (CMMC-AB) deals with assessing the C3PAOs and ensuring that they conform to their assessment standards. The CMMC-AB itself is authorized by the Department of Defense, according to its website. The aim is to have enough assessors present so that any contractor can apply for and achieve the certification without too much fuss.
Level 1 Certification Is Things Your Business Should Already be Doing
The CMMC certification is based on standards that businesses should already be following at level 1. At higher levels, the CMMC aims to ensure that there is no possibility of the company accidentally running afoul of any legal stipulations regarding the saving and sharing sensitive governmental data. However, the first level of certification is built on accepted cybersecurity doctrine. Most Department of Defense contractors are required to meet this basic standard as part of their acceptance. However, whether they maintain this standard is what the DOD wants to ensure. Third-party assessments are a part of this certification precisely because the Department of Defense believes this stipulation to be too important to leave to self-verification.
NIST 800-171 and the CMMC are Very Similar In Many Ways
When the Department of Defense was drafting the CMMC, they delved into existing cybersecurity standards and used those as a guideline for their own. The NIST 800-171 is a standard that the CMMC relied on heavily, and it shows. When you compare both sets of standards head-to-head, the requirements to meet certification levels are similar in many cases. If you are looking for a reliable roadmap for CMMC certification up to level 3, at least, the NIST 800-171 is a great guideline. If your business is expected to be at least level 4 or 5 certifications, you would need to institute even stricter policies than the NIST 800-171.
Certification Will Become A Standard
Already the DOD is looking instituting the CMMC certification standard in some of their current offerings. Businesses who intend to work alongside the Department of Defense would be well advised to seek certification from now. With each day that passes, the chance of landing a contract becomes smaller without this certification. As masters of the NIST 800-171, we stand ready to guide you to level 3 CMMC and even beyond. Contact us today to learn more about the packages we offer for CMMC certification for your business.