The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is essential documentation for any business intending to secure contracts with governmental agencies. Tripwire notes that the CMMC was first released in January 2020, but has become a vital tool in ensuring data security in contractors. The framework provided by the CMMC was designed based on industry standards developed in other publications. Even businesses that aren’t part of the defense industry can benefit from implementing the CMC standards. In this article, we examine how a company can set about acquiring its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification.
Why Get Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?
With more businesses looking at remote working situations for their employees, the need for a more robust cybersecurity standard is now crucial. Existing standards like the NIST 800-171 provide an outline for what businesses should do to secure their cybersecurity and form a fundamental building block for the CMMC. However, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification takes things a few steps further. When companies implement the CMMC standard, The DOD expects contractors to conform to a few essential guidelines:
- Be aware of current and future cyber threats to the organization and its data
- Ensure that businesses understand what a CUI is and what CUI data resides on their machines
- Offer assurance by validating its compliance through a third-party assessor
- Set up levels of compliance aligning with different quality of risk
- Push for improved security at an affordable cost that the federal government can benefit from
These standards were implemented because the previous certification methodology was insufficient to guarantee governmental data safety. Highly sensitive data remained secure, but less sensitive data that still posed a potential threat to national security (CUI data) wasn’t considered before the CMMC came on stream. To establish a robust security system, the CMMC addresses five levels of compliance with its guidelines.
Levels of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification
The CMMC incorporates several different security frameworks to develop its comprehensive certification. If a business wants to be certified at one of these levels, it should follow the guidelines outlined in the defining document. the five levels of CMMC are:
Level 1: Basic Cyber Hygiene
This level aims to give companies a way to ensure the safety of Federal Contract Information (FCI). FCI is any data that the government doesn’t intend to release to the public yet forms part of a governmental contract. It contains seventeen (17) basic cyber hygiene practices to ensure the safety and security of FCI.
Level 2: Intermediate Cyber Hygiene
Level 2 is a stepping stone designed to make it easier for companies pursuing certification to get to level 3. It deals with a maturity-based progression, introducing a further fifty-five (55) guidelines regarding cyber practices. At this stage, the organization is supposed to implement documentation for practices and policies on its road to level three certification.
Level 3: Good Cyber Hygiene
When a company gets to level three, it demonstrates a practical implementation of the NIST 800-171 standard for cybersecurity practices. At this level, an organization is supposed to demonstrate and document its activities and review processes and have a strategic plan in place for contingencies. It incorporates an additional fifty-eight (58) cyber hygiene practices.
Level 4: Proactive Security
At level four certification, an organization should demonstrate a raw ability to secure and protect CUI data from advanced persistent threats (APTs) or long-term malicious actors that mine for data. A business is also expected to keep reviewing and documenting improvements for their system to make it more secure. It incorporates twenty-six (26) more cyber hygiene practices.
Level 5: Advanced/Progressive Measures
At level five, the organization will be standardizing the cybersecurity throughout their organization, focusing on CMMC principles. Through constant iterations, these companies are expected to keep improving their cybersecurity model to keep CUIs safe from APTs. An additional fifteen (15) cyber hygiene practices are incorporated into the business’s cybersecurity model.
Seek Professional Guidance For Certification
At its heart, the CMMC certification focuses on a company’s management of its cybersecurity protocols to ensure that no sensitive data handed to them will end up in the wrong hands. While this might seem simple enough, implementing these standards can be a complex undertaking. Contact Sync Resource today to get some guidance on how you could start your journey towards Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification today.