Things DoD contractors should know about CMMC Application Process
The US Department of Defense collaborates with more than 300,000 contractors and subcontractors every day. These firms manage a significant quantity of sensitive government data, including FCI and CUI, making them prime prey for hackers and foreign governments.
The Department of Defense (DoD) announced the CMMC 0.1 in January 2020 to certify that DoD contractors have adequate cybersecurity defenses to defend CUI and FCI.
What Is CMMC?
The CMMC is a uniform cybersecurity criterion that vendors must satisfy and obtain certification for before working for the Department of Defense. This certificate validates that a vendor has implemented adequate cybersecurity safeguards to protect sensitive government data from hackers.
Contractors followed the DFARS, which enabled them to self-certify their adherence before the CMMC was founded. The difficulty with this method is that contractors are frequently misled about their compliance with DFARS cybersecurity regulations. This permitted them to work with the Department of Defense despite its infrastructure having security flaws.
The CMMC was born as a result of this. Contractors are no longer able to self-certify under the CMMC; alternatively, the evaluation will be conducted by a certified third-party assessment organization (C3PAO). This guarantees that contractors wishing to work with the Department of Defense have adequate cybersecurity procedures in place to secure CUI and FCI. Contractors are also prevented from making misleading claims regarding compliance by having the CMMC audit conducted by a third-party entity. Before bidding on and working on federal contracts, the Department of Defense mandates all prime contractors and vendors to be CMMC certified.
What Is the Process for Obtaining a CMMC Certification?
The application process for CMMC compliance is quite simple. If you want to participate in government contracts, you must first establish your firm’s maturity status. The Department of Defense will give you a level depending on the CMMC framework’s five levels, which are:
At least Level 1 certification is needed for all DoD companies and subcontractors. This level addresses FCI security and necessitates the deployment of 17 NIST SP 800-171 rules.
To satisfy Level 2 criteria, companies working with the Department of Defense must record their cybersecurity strategies and practices. An extra 46 NIST SP 800-171 measures must be applied to maintain CUI security.
Contractors can manage and create CUI at this level. They must also establish cybersecurity policies aimed at safeguarding CUI. For subcontractors to be fully certified, the additional 47 NIST SP 800-171 measures should be executed at this level.
At this level, DoD contractors must be vigilant in recognizing and countering APTs and other assaults to steal sensitive data. It also demands implementing 25 additional controls described in NIST SP 800-171 Rev. 2.
At this level, vendors should have upgraded and flexible cybersecurity processes to handle APTs and other advanced threats.
Decide To either Perform an Evaluation in-House or Consider outsourcing
Before the audit, DoD vendors can conduct a self-assessment to identify possible weak areas and shortcomings in their cybersecurity defenses. There are two options for accomplishing this:
With the support of a CMMC professional, hired contractors may also complete a self-assessment. Contractors can get a CMMC certificate beyond Level 3 by working with a CMMC consultant who has the expertise and tools to adhere to NIST SP 800-171 Rev 2. standards. This is why most vendors would hire a CMMC consulting specialist instead of conducting an in-house audit.
Contractors with their own IT personnel will find this to be excellent. They can utilize the NIST Handbook 162: Self-Assessment Handbook for advice.