Cybersecurity Standards: Why CMMC Compliance is Good for Business

Cybersecurity Standards: Why CMMC Compliance is Good for Business

CMMC compliance is an important standard for companies and not just those that are IT-based either. CSO Online defines the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) as a unified standard for implementing cybersecurity across the defense industrial base. The news has been covering the Coronavirus a lot, so it’s no surprise that the CMMC isn’t getting the attention it deserves. With more defense contractors offering employees to work from home, the standard becomes even more critical.

Useful For Keeping Business Data Safe

As any cybersecurity expert will tell you, having remote workers is a double-edged sword. Yes, you are likely to get higher productivity levels, but if your employee uses their own hardware, it presents a direct threat to business security. Even in regular remote working that doesn’t involve CUI data, workers can be a potential backdoor into the company’s network. Implementing CMMC compliance ensures that a business follows the industry best-practice when it comes to network access. If your company intends to go down this route, your employees might find that their ability to access company resources remotely would have diminished.

The 5-tiered CMMC system is based on the NIST 801-171 standard but takes it to a much more stringent implementation at higher levels. If a business already complies with the NIST 800-171, it should achieve a level-3 certification for the CMMC without much more effort. The CMMC system was designed to incorporate five levels because of progression. Still, even at lower levels, it was understood that the steps that a business was taking would benefit it. At level 1, it was assumed, most defense contractors would already be obeying the protocols put in place. They were just set forth as a formality. Unfortunately, that wasn’t true for all of them.

Moving to CMMC

According to the Federal Registry, the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) supports the existing Federal Acquisition Regulations regarding how the government does business with contractors. Before the CMMC was implemented, DFARS was the standard for data security that contractors within the industry. The government moves from DFARS to CMMC for a single, critical reason. On audit, the DOD found that many contractors claiming compliance during the Request for Proposal (RFP) process were not honest about their level of compliance. However, since the DFARS was based on an honor system, there was little the DOD could do aside from revamping the system. The CMMC incorporates third-party appraisals to move away from an honor-based system and guarantee the certification’s integrity.

The “Culture of Security”

When developing the CMMC, the DOD realized that many of a contractor’s problems could be quickly dealt with if there was a pervading “culture of security” among the workforce. CMMC compliance, therefore, seeks to incorporate this into every company adopting the standard. The culture of security starts at level 1 compliance, but at levels three to five, it ramps up intensely. The two significant components a lot of businesses overlook when seeking CMMC compliance are almost the same across the board:

  • Buying unnecessary solutions: Businesses can afford a lot of high-tech cybersecurity equipment, but just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s what the business needs
  • No contingency plans: When disaster strikes (as it almost always does), a business must have a plan in place to deal with the fallout and keep systems running, even while dealing with the issue.

When businesses implement CMMC standards, these are the critical issues they need to address to institute the culture of security the standard calls for.

Not Just for IT Companies

A common misconception for businesses is that CMMC compliance doesn’t apply to them. Because of how it was designed, CMMC standards may be applied to any company in any industry. It was intended as a comprehensive security framework to keep business data assets safe. If you’re not in the defense industry, you can still benefit from implementing the standard. Contact Sync Resource to learn how to adapt this standard to your own business today.

Title: Cybersecurity Standards: Why CMMC Compliance Is Good for Business

Description: CMMC compliance helps businesses that want to qualify for Department of Defense contracts, but they can be used anywhere. Learn how they could be adapted here.

How To Get The Best Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification In 2020

How To Get The Best Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification In 2020

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.