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What Does CMMC Framework Mean for Organizations

CMMC Framework was developed as a tool to assess cybersecurity controls and processes across the federal services industry. When properly implemented, CMMC framework offers a cost-effective opportunity for small to midsize businesses to discover cyber-threats and vulnerabilities, and implement corrective countermeasures required to attain lucrative federal government contracts.

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a novel certification that was launched by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), to ascertain the implementation of adequate cybersecurity processes and controls to help protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) that are stored on Defense Industrial Base (DIB) networks and managed by contractors and subcontractors within the federal services industry. Due to the meticulousness of this cybersecurity framework, organizations within the federal service sector are able to understand the federal government’s perspectives on cybersecurity as it relates to government contracts.

For large organizations within the federal services sector, it is widely understood that compliance standards and regulations determine the initial issuance or continuance of government contracts. As it relates to the CMMC framework, no organization operating within the federal services industry will be permitted to receive or share DoD information related to projects without compliance to the CMMC process. Therefore, it is critical that small to midsize federal services organizations are equipped with the tools necessary to understand the intricacies associated with the CMMC framework; it is designed to audit the cybersecurity resiliency of an organization’s entire supply chain to secure defense information systems and curtail the leakage of sensitive data.

In addition to widely known cybersecurity standards and regulations, including FIPS, NIST SP 800-171, NIST SP 800-53, AIA MAS 9933, etc., the CMMC framework seeks to formulate a cohesive standard and maturity model that efficiently reinforces the confidentiality, integrity, availability, privacy, and safety of full-scope services delivered to the United States government. The new CMMC framework comprises five levels of cybersecurity maturity, which are used to measure critical cybersecurity controls, technologies, and processes and procedures implemented in the handling of classified data. These CMMC levels signify proper adherence to a cybersecurity posture that is approved by the U.S. Department of Defense.

For organizations, the CMMC framework means a decisive alignment with the cybersecurity goals, objectives, and perspectives of the United States government and its critical assets. Therefore, a proactive adaptation and implementation of CMMC requirements positions an organization for enhanced visibility during the federal services acquisition process.

Particulars of the CMMC Framework

The CMMC framework is made up of five levels, which are used as guidelines to determine the level of cybersecurity resilience of an organization. Each CMMC describes the detective, preventive, and corrective security countermeasures and best practices required to handle and secure information that is critical to the national security of the United States. Below describes each level within the CMMC framework:

  • Level 1 – “Basic Cyber Hygiene” – a verifiable implementation of 17 controls from NIST 800-171 is required for this level. .
  • Level 2 – “Intermediate Cyber Hygiene” – encompassing the required CMMC level 1 controls, an additional 72 controls from NIST 800-171 are required to meet compliance for this level.
  • Level 3 – “Good Cyber Hygiene” – a verifiable implementation of 130 controls, which encompasses the CMMC level 1 and 2 controls.
  • Level 4 – “Proactive” – encompassing the required controls for CMMC level 1-3, an additional 156 controls from NIST 800-171 are required to meet compliance for this level.
  • Level 5 – “Advanced / Progressive” – encompassing the required CMMC level 1-4 controls, a verifiable implementation of 171 controls from NIST 800-171 and other related NIST Cybersecurity Framework is required to meet compliance for this level.
How Does Compliance with DFAR Standards Today Affect CMMC Framework Tomorrow?

The Defence Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) are a set of principles and rules instituted by the Federal Acquisition Regulations System to govern the procurement of goods and services for the U.S. government. The purpose of DFARS is to provide a cohesive process used to ascertain that organizations are compliant with safety and security standards as needed to service the federal government.

On January 31, 2020, the U.S. DoD launched CMMC in cooperation with DFARS clause 252.204-7012 to provide a comprehensive framework that accounts for analog and digital supply chain risks across diverse lines of business. As an organization aiming to provide services to the U.S. government, it is important to understand that several information collected from government agencies are critical to the national security goals of the United States. Therefore, the following DFARS Standards are required prior to collecting confidential information that resides in or transits through internal unclassified information systems:

Access Control Media Protection
Awareness and Training Personnel Security
Audi and Accountability Physical Protection
Configuration Management Risk Assessment
Identification and Authentication Security Assessment
Incident Response Systems and Communications Protection
Maintenance System and Information Integrity

Source: NIST Handbook 162

For small to midsize businesses, understanding the intricacies of DFARS Standards and implementing its best practices today helps to reduce the amount of time required to meet CMMC compliance tomorrow. This is favorable because of the similar safety and security controls present in both CMMC and DFAR regulations – these similarities include controls associated with incident response, media protection, security assessment, configuration management, etc.

Attaining full compliance for DFARS Standards can be a daunting task, as an extensive amount of time is necessary for proper understanding, implementation, and documentation of associated processes. At GoldSky Security, the cybersecurity governance professionals are equipped with specialized knowledge and industry-specific experience pertaining to the audit, implementation and documentation of government and industry standards.

In Closing

The CMMC is a strategic solution for prioritizing DFARS Standards across the federal services ecosystem; it helps small to midsize businesses to enhance cyber hygiene using a bite-sized approach to restricting malicious entities responsible for the $600B annual loss of intellectual properties belonging to the United States government. Now, achieving CMMC requires a full scope assessment of security processes, best practices, and controls present within an organization’s computing environment.

For organizations that are interested in or currently providing products and services to the government, the CMMC framework is a critical factor that will determine whether said organization wins a government contract award and loses to an industry competitor. For many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the federal services industry, the constant flow of federal government contracts ensure that the lights stay on and employees get paid. Therefore, achieving CMMC compliance is critical to the lifeline of SMBs.

A cost-effective plan to attain CMMC compliance starts with adherence to DFARS Standards. Let GoldSky Cybersecurity assist your company to achieve compliance with CMMC Framework using the efficient DFARS route.

GoldSky Cyber Security Solutions has offices in Denver, Orlando, Nashville, Washington D.C & Tampa.  GoldSky offers reliable 24/7/365 security solutions to federal contractors throughout the entire U.S. Get in touch to learn more on how GoldSky can help your company achieve CMMC certification today. 

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