Proactivity is the name of the game in getting your organization compliant with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) standard.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) created the CMMC standard for organizations that wish to conduct business with the federal government. The CMMC standard requires that organizations that handle or process controlled unclassified information (CUI) and federal contract information (FCI) become certified by demonstrating a specified level of maturity with their information security programs.
The DoD implemented the CMMC standard on Jan. 31, 2020, and additional implementations will continue through 2025. Subsequently, many organizations are conducting gap assessments and updates in an effort to continue working with the federal government. Some organizations, however, might not realize just how strict CMMC compliance can be until their next contract is up for renewal and they aren’t allowed to bid.
In other words, if your organization waits until the DoD issues a request for proposal or request for information to meet CMMC compliance, then it might be too late.
The complexity of CMMC compliance is daunting for many organizations
The number of controls and levels of maturity required to meet CMMC compliance isn’t hard to understand. The complexity lies in determining how the regulation specifically applies to your organization, how you manage risk today, and how you’ll need to address risk in the future.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology informs a large portion of CMMC Level 3 certification, which requires organizations to have “good cyber hygiene.” That is, organizations must have mature information security programs with the appropriate controls and workflows in place.
Your organization can ask these three questions to explore the full impact of CMMC compliance:
- What is and isn’t in scope? One of the biggest challenges your organization will face is identifying the type of CUI and FCI data you have, where it resides, and who has access to it.
- How are we interpreting controls? The CMMC framework includes five levels of maturity. Organizations handling FCI will require Level 1 or 2 certification, while those handling CUI will need to obtain Level 3. Defining how the controls at each level impact your organization is critical.
- How can we close the gaps? One of the best ways to prepare for CMMC compliance is to understand intent and if additional resources will be needed to manage risk so you can provide clear answers for certification.