The Defense Industrial Base (DIB) plays a critical role in safeguarding national security, making the protection of sensitive information paramount. To meet the evolving cybersecurity challenges, the Department of Defense (DoD) introduced the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) to ensure that DIB companies have robust cybersecurity measures in place.
Before embarking on the journey toward CMMC compliance, here are eight crucial steps DIB companies should consider.
Additionally, we’ll discuss how validating compliance with existing cybersecurity frameworks can align with CMMC requirements and why partnering with a Cyber AB Registered Practitioner is invaluable in this process.
1. Understand CMMC Levels and Requirements
Before diving into CMMC compliance, DIB companies must grasp the three program maturity levels. Each level corresponds to increasing cybersecurity maturity and defines specific requirements. Determining which level is appropriate for your organization and the contracts you seek is crucial. This initial assessment sets the stage for a tailored compliance strategy.
2. Define Your Program Scope
A Register Practitioner can work with you to define your scope requirements for compliance, helping you save time and money. Scope considerations vary and can include understanding scope requirements for various CMMC levels, identifying assets that provide security, identifying assets used to process, store, or transmit sensitive information, and more.
3. Evaluate Your Current Cybersecurity Posture
Conduct a comprehensive review of your organization’s current cybersecurity practices. This includes assessing existing policies, procedures, and technologies. This step allows you to identify gaps and vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.
4. Align Existing Cybersecurity Practices with CMMC Requirements
Frameworks and standards like NIST 800-171 and ISO 27001 are excellent starting points for validating your organization’s cybersecurity status. By mapping your cybersecurity practices to existing frameworks, you can identify areas requiring attention and streamline your preparation efforts.
5. Partner with a CMMC Registered Practitioner
Engaging a CMMC Registered Practitioner is a wise move. These professionals are well-versed in the certification requirements and can guide you through the compliance journey. Their expertise ensures you stay on the right track and navigate the complex regulatory landscape effectively. Benefits of working with a Registered Practitioner include:
- Expert Guidance: Registered Practitioners possess in-depth knowledge of CMMC, helping you interpret and implement requirements accurately.
- Tailored Roadmap: They can create a customized compliance roadmap aligned with your organization’s unique needs and budget.
- Streamlined Process: Professionals can streamline the compliance process, saving time and resources.
- Audit Preparation: Registered Practitioners prepare you thoroughly for the certification audit, increasing the likelihood of success.
6. Maintain Documentation and Records
CMMC places a significant emphasis on documentation and record-keeping. Ensure that all cybersecurity-related activities, policies, and procedures are well-documented. Regularly update and maintain these records to demonstrate compliance during audits. A Registered Practitioner will also help ensure your SSP and POA&M are robust.
7. Perform Employee Training and Build Awareness
A critical component of CMMC compliance is ensuring your staff is well-trained and cybersecurity-aware. Develop training programs to educate employees about cybersecurity best practices and their role in maintaining security.
8. Continuously Improve Compliance
Achieving CMMC compliance is not a one-time effort; it’s an ongoing commitment to cybersecurity maturity. Develop a plan for continuous improvement, monitoring, and regular assessments to stay ahead of evolving threats.
Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification is a rigorous but necessary requirement for DIB companies. You can confidently embark on this journey by understanding CMMC levels, validating your cybersecurity status using existing frameworks, and partnering with a Registered Practitioner.
Remember that achieving and maintaining compliance is an ongoing effort, but the rewards include enhanced security, stronger partnerships, and continued contributions to national defense.
EXTEND Resources helps Department of Defense contractors and subcontractors meet CMMC requirements, protect against cyber threats, and reduce the risk of loss associated with security and privacy incidents. Learn more about our information security and data privacy services. Then, contact Antonella Commiato, CISO and CMMC Registered Practitioner, for details and guidance.