Share This

NeoSystems Corporation

What Is CMMC?

Defense contractors face increasingly sophisticated cyber threats that can compromise sensitive data and disrupt operations. To combat these risks, the Department of Defense (DoD) has implemented the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). In this section, we examine the key points related to CMMC including what CMMC is, why it is being implemented, who it applies to, the different versions (CMMC 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0), the various CMMC levels (1-3), the associated deadlines, how to achieve CMMC compliance, and the tips for selecting a CMMC partner.

What Is CMMC?

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a unified standard designed to enhance the cybersecurity posture of organizations operating within the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). More importantly, it provides a framework for assessing and certifying the cybersecurity capabilities and practices of DIB contractors and subcontractors. CMMC ensures that these organizations have adequate safeguards in place to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and other sensitive data.

Why Is CMMC Being Implemented?

CMMC is being implemented to address the growing concern of cyber threats targeting the Defense Industrial Base and to strengthen the overall cybersecurity posture of organizations working with the DoD. By mandating CMMC compliance, the DoD aims to safeguard critical information and reduce the risk of data breaches, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive government information.

Who Does CMMC Apply To?

CMMC applies to all organizations operating within the Defense Industrial Base that handle Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) or work with the DoD. This includes prime contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and other entities involved in the defense supply chain. Whether you are a small business or a large enterprise, CMMC compliance is mandatory if you wish to engage in DoD contracts.

CMMC 1.0 Vs. 2.0 Vs. 3.0

CMMC has evolved through different versions, with each iteration introducing refinements and improvements to the framework. CMMC 1.0 was the initial release that established the foundation of the certification model. CMMC 2.0 introduced a maturity-based approach, replacing the previous pass/fail assessment with five different levels. CMMC 3.0 is the most recent update, and while it is not released at the time of writing, it is expected to bring further enhancements and clarifications to the certification process.

CMMC Levels

CMMC is organized into different levels, each representing an increasing level of cybersecurity maturity and corresponding practices and processes. Currently, the focus is on Levels 1-3, with higher levels planned for future implementation. The specific level required for an organization depends on the type of information they handle and the contracts they pursue.

CMMC Level 1 – Basic Cyber Hygiene:

Level 1 focuses on establishing a foundation of basic cybersecurity practices to protect Federal Contract Information (FCI). It requires organizations to implement a subset of controls from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-171. These controls include measures such as using antivirus software, implementing access controls, and conducting security awareness training.

Achieving Level 1 compliance demonstrates an organization’s commitment to basic cyber hygiene practices and serves as a starting point for enhancing cybersecurity readiness. While Level 1 does not directly protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), it lays the groundwork for the higher levels of the CMMC framework.

CMMC Level 2 – Intermediate Cyber Hygiene:

Level 2 builds upon the foundational controls of Level 1 and requires organizations to establish and document their cybersecurity practices. It encompasses all the controls from NIST SP 800-171 and introduces additional controls to enhance cybersecurity capabilities.

At Level 2, organizations must demonstrate the implementation of a comprehensive set of security controls to protect CUI. This includes measures such as implementing incident response procedures, conducting regular vulnerability assessments, and providing security awareness training tailored to the organization’s cybersecurity practices.

Achieving Level 2 compliance signifies an organization’s commitment to intermediate cyber hygiene practices and a higher level of cybersecurity maturity. It strengthens an organization’s ability to protect CUI and prepares them for more advanced cybersecurity challenges.

CMMC Level 3 – Good Cyber Hygiene:

Level 3 represents a significant leap in cybersecurity maturity. It requires organizations to implement a comprehensive set of security controls to protect CUI, building upon the controls from Levels 1 and 2. Level 3 aligns with all the requirements of NIST SP 800-171 and introduces additional controls to enhance cybersecurity capabilities.

At Level 3, organizations must establish, maintain, and resource a robust cybersecurity program. This includes conducting regular risk assessments, implementing advanced authentication mechanisms, monitoring network and system activities, and establishing formal incident response capabilities.

Achieving Level 3 compliance demonstrates an organization’s commitment to maintaining good cyber hygiene practices and a high level of cybersecurity maturity. It positions defense contractors and subcontractors to effectively protect CUI and meet the stringent cybersecurity requirements demanded by the Department of Defense (DoD).

CMMC Deadlines

The CMMC implementation is being rolled out gradually, and organizations are required to achieve the appropriate certification based on their contract requirements. While specific deadlines may vary depending on the contract, organizations should start preparing for compliance as soon as possible to ensure they meet the necessary requirements within the given timeframe. It is crucial to stay updated on the latest announcements and deadlines from the DoD to avoid disruptions in contract opportunities.

How Do I Achieve CMMC Compliance?

Achieving CMMC compliance involves several steps:

  1. Assess Your Current State: Evaluate your organization’s existing cybersecurity posture, identify any gaps, and determine the appropriate CMMC level for your operations.
  2. Implement Necessary Controls: Implement the required security controls and practices outlined in the CMMC framework to align with the targeted certification level.
  3. Documentation and Evidence: Document your implemented controls, processes, and procedures to provide evidence of compliance during the certification assessment.
  4. Third-Party Assessment: Engage a CMMC Third-Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO) to conduct an independent assessment of your organization’s cybersecurity maturity and issue the certification.
  5. Maintain Compliance: Continuous monitoring, periodic assessments, and proactive security measures are crucial for maintaining compliance over time.

How Do I Choose A CMMC Partner?

Choosing the right CMMC partner is essential for a successful certification process. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Expertise and Experience: Look for a partner with extensive knowledge and experience in CMMC compliance, cybersecurity, and DoD contracting.
  • Credibility and Accreditation: Ensure that the partner is an accredited CMMC Third-Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO) authorized by the CMMC Accreditation Body (CMMC-AB).
  • Comprehensive Services: Evaluate the partner’s range of services, including assessment, remediation, and ongoing support to ensure they can meet your organization’s specific needs.
  • Industry Reputation: Research the partner’s reputation and customer feedback to gauge their reliability, professionalism, and track record of successful engagements.
  • Collaboration and Support: Choose a partner that offers collaborative and supportive services, assisting your organization throughout the certification process and beyond.

Secure Your Future With CMMC

As cyber threats continue to evolve, organizations must prioritize cybersecurity and meet the requirements of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. By attaining CMMC compliance, you not only protect sensitive data but also gain a competitive edge in pursuing DoD contracts. Partner with a trusted CMMC expert like NeoSystems to help navigate the certification process seamlessly and safeguard your organization’s future in the digital age.

Make the Move

Ready to start down the road to CMMC certification? Contact NeoSystems today to learn more about our
CMMC compliance solution & services!

Contact Us

Software & Industry Partners