The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has what is likely the world’s biggest supply chain. Hundreds of vendors and suppliers work for the Department of Defense, posing a significant cyber danger to national security. In reality, DoD contractors’ cybersecurity flaws allow hostile nations and hackers to obtain and reveal sensitive material not intended for public consumption.
Unfortunately, cyberattacks on vendors are still happening because the Department of Defense cannot manage the cybersecurity threats in its supply chain adequately. As a result, a supplier to several major defense companies, including Boeing, SpaceX, Visser Precision Manufacturing, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin, was recently struck by a ransomware assault. Data hacked from Visser Precision Manufacturing have started to surface on the internet. With the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) framework, the Pentagon hopes to avoid cyberattacks like this one.
What is CMMC Compliance?
To comprehend what CMMC compliance entails, we must first consider why it was created. The CMMC model was created with midsized contractors in mind. It employs five accreditation levels to demonstrate the maturity and efficacy of a contractor’s cybersecurity program in protecting sensitive government data. The CMMC’s goal is to make vendors and contractors responsible for their cybersecurity capabilities before signing any DoD contracts.
The Department of Defense determines which accreditation level a vendor need. To be qualified for a given level, a contractor must first complete specific standards. Self-certification is also no longer a viable option. To be level licensed, contractors must now collaborate with a certified third-party assessor organisation (C3PAO).
All prime and suppliers engaging with the Department of Defense must be CMMC qualified. Contractors that do not have a current CMMC accreditation may not compete on government contracts. Here, taking help from a CMMC consulting firm can be the first step to becoming CMMC compliant.
Steps to CMMC Compliance
Define CUI in the context of your contract.
The first thing you should do is specify your company’s CUI environment. CUI is stored, processed, and sent in this secure environment. The CUI ecosystem is crucial to understand since it describes the procedures, applications, and systems covered by NIST 800-171.
Determine which NIST 800-171 controls are applicable.
The next step is to determine which of the 62 NFO and 110 CUI regulations pertain to your CUI ecosystem. Your CUI scoping guide can assist you in this endeavor.
Make Policies and Procedures to Comply with Cybersecurity Regulations
Determine any relevant contracts, rules, laws, and standards that your organization must follow, and develop policies and procedures to assist you in meeting and managing them. These rules should be short and to the point, and they should correspond to your company’s regulatory needs.
Deploy CMMC / NIST 800-171 Controls by operationalizing your policies.
This is the point at which your technology, procedures, and human resources gather to make your confidentiality and cybersecurity program a reality. It brings your guidelines to life by implementing the specific requirements for adherence. This phase requires you to designate teams accountable for specific CUI controls and describe their obligations to ensure correctly implemented requirements.
Make a record of your CUI environment’s specifications.
To record the modifications that influence your CUI ecosystem, establish a Plan of Action and Milestone (POA&M) and a System Security Plan (SSP). These two documents are significant for the following reasons:
The SSP includes information on the procedures, people, and technology that your CUI ecosystem is managed using.
The POA&M serves as a risk logbook for NIST 800-171 control shortcomings.
A CMMC compliance auditor will also want your SSP and POA&M in order to thoroughly examine your CUI ecosystem. NIST 800-171 compliance also necessitates these papers. The DoD may impose Non-compliance fines if your organization lacks specific documentation.