If you are looking at contracting with the Department of Defense (DOD), your business needs to meet the cybersecurity compliance measures. In simple terms, it means your business meets the controls that protect the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of data.
You need to do a maturity assessment per the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program to get compliance certification. The CMMC program allows you to do a pre-assessment to see if you meet its requirements.
Types Of CMMC Pre-Assessment
You can either do an internal or outsource. For internal management, it means you create a team that will initiate and maintain DOD compliance. Alternatively, you can outsource the assessment. In this case, you use a Certified Third-Party Assessor Organization (C3PAO) or a Register Provider Organization (RPO). These third-party organizations, like Beryllium InfoSec, provide expertise and in-depth advice on CMMC and its requirements.
How The CMMC Works
The primary objective of CMMC is to guide, control, and improve standards of handling information through the DOD supply chain. In addition, it lays out maturity levels that guide the use of Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) data.
As a business, you need to identify what level you seek to meet. Once you know the CMMC level of your business, you can focus on meeting controls for that level.
Levels Of CMMC
To achieve a classification criterion, CMMC lays out five levels for certification. Consequently, each level has a set of controls you need to meet per the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines.
Level One needs you to have basic cyber hygiene. Generally, level one is the lowest and forms the basis of all the other levels.
For level two, it requires you to have intermediate cyber hygiene. While level one focuses on protecting FCI, level two protects CUIs. Also, level two acts as a transition level. It ideally gives a platform progression from level one to level three.
When it comes to level three, you need to practice good cyber hygiene. Also, you include an additional security protocol for incident reporting. Thus, you need to file an incident report for any unusual activity.
For level four, you need to practice proactive cyber hygiene. At this level, you focus on protecting CUIs from Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).
At level five, you need to optimize your processes to ensure a standard implementation across your business. Apart from protecting CUIs from APTs, practices at this level increase your cybersecurity capabilities and sophistication.
In addition to knowing the maturity levels, the steps below can help you achieve cybersecurity compliance and certification.
1. Understand The CMMC Requirements
Some of the CMMC’s technical terms may be challenging. For this reason, you can engage the RPO or C3PAO to assist in interpreting in simpler terms.
2. Identifying Your Scope
Your scope involves how you want your business to handle the security data. In short, you can handle this information as an enterprise or a unit. For enterprise, it means your entire network works in compliance with CMMC controls. On the other hand, a unit means only a section or subsection within your business can relate to the CMMC contract.
3. Identify Maturity Level
Knowing what information to handle can help to know your CMMC maturity level. Once your RPO advises whether you are FCI or CUI, you can work on the control measures according to the correct maturity level.
Gt this gap analysis step, your RPO reviews your cybersecurity network and advises on shortfalls that may lead to breaches.
5. Remedy To Gap Analysis
Once you receive details on where you have security gaps, you can take steps to close those gaps. Of course, you follow the controls as per the maturity level your business falls in.
When ready, the C3PAO assesses your business as per the CMMC maturity level.
7. Resolve Findings
This step allows you to resolve any issues arising from the assessment. After that, the C3PAO can re-assess.
8. Report Assessment
Finally, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Accreditation Board (CMMC-AB) reviews the C3PAO report. If your business meets the standards, you can receive a certification.
Another key point is, the certification period depends on the maturity level. After the period lapses, you have to go through another re-assessment.
To sum up, to achieve DOD cybersecurity compliance, you need to meet control measures as per CMMC. To help in this, the DOD allows you to use a third-party organization to help interpret and pre-assess your business.