The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a standard devised to implement cybersecurity across the defense industrial base, designed by the Department of Defense. The CMMC came about because of concerns about the data being held in the systems of defense contractors. To deal with the risk associated and to mitigate these risks, the DoD introduced the CMMC. The aim was to ease contractors into the CMMC pipeline, slowly increasing their maturity across multiple iterations to become secure silos of data. It also addresses different data types, specifying those that have “sensitive” status and need to be dealt with its own procedures.

On close examination, many companies may realize that the CMMC is actually a conglomeration of other cybersecurity standards, formalized into a certifiable process. The CMMC takes as inputs NIST, DFARS, and FAR among others, developing a prototype that defense contractors can implement into their systems. Initially, the CMMC was designed to control the distribution of and access to Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). As of September 2020, the DoD began a limited rollout of the standard, requiring contractors to adhere to specific requirements when handling data. It’s expected that, by 2026, all DoD contracts will have the CMMC integrated into its provisions. For companies looking at working for the DoD, getting CMMC compliant now will avoid having to rush for it in the future. The CMMC also applies to subcontractors that are working for companies who are identified as Prime contractors working on DoD contracts.

The Importance of Implementing the CMMC

The DoD always has certain clearance levels to accessing their data. However, once that data is accessed and moved to a new system, the DoD loses control over it. Before the CMMC, there was no system to ensure that sensitive data, such as CUIs or FCIs on contractor systems remained safe. It was assumed that these businesses would do their due diligence and develop cybersecurity measures befitting a defense contractor. Unfortunately, over time, the DoD realized that this wasn’t the case, and a formalized standard would need to be implemented to ensure that their data remained secure on contractor systems.

Cybercrime targets corporate systems. While most defense contractors would have measures in place to avoid becoming a victim, there’s no foolproof method of preventing breaches. The CMMC was designed to give defense contractors an added level of protection. By following the guidelines outlined by the document, they stand a better chance of avoiding breaches and, if breaches happen, of losing sensitive data to intruders. These are crucial to what the DoD refers to as a “Defense in Strength” approach to data security. By encouraging contractors to rely on the CMMC, the DoD proposes the adoption of industry best practices to secure both local and client data

Benefits of Implementing the CMMC

Businesses have realized that the DoD is dedicated to ensuring that their list of contractors and subcontractors are all compliant with the CMMC over time. As a result, there is an ever-growing network of third-party certification companies that deal with issuing CMMC certification. Businesses that deal with data-based solutions may do well to gain certification since it provides significant benefits to the organization, including:

  • Access to DoD Contracts/Subcontracting: While it’s not a requirement to be CMMC certified to work on specific DoD projects, this stipulation is liable to change. At some point, contractors and subcontractors that don’t have the certification may be locked out of particular contracts.
  • More Robust Data Security: The CMMC incorporates standards developed in the past that address significant cybersecurity advances. Businesses can benefit from having the CMMC implemented because it gives them an added protection layer against breaches.
  • Better Recovery: If a breach does happen, the CMMC has an outlined methodology for recovering from the incident, which includes taking stock of any data that has been taken and reporting it to the relevant authorities. This transparency allows for more trust between the client and the vendor.
  • Collaborative Risk Approach: Cybersecurity is an arms race and assessing risk on all assets of the organization helps to reinforce a business’s defenses and identify treatment. Simultaneous attacks may happen, but it’s unlikely that they could hit the entire contractor network. Any breaches can be analyzed, and the information monitored to develop security control against future violations of a similar kind.

Should My Business Get Certified?

The determination about whether you should get certified comes down to if you’d like access to this lucrative market. If you’re already a defense contractor, certification should happen sooner rather than later. Contact Sync Resource today to learn more about CMMC certification. Let’s help you become compliant today! 

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