CMMC: The Next Frontier In Cybersecurity

CMMC: The Next Frontier In Cybersecurity

The US Federal Government declared that all Suppliers to the US Department of Defense (Prime or Subcontractors) must comply with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) requirements. Suppliers that act early will benefit from preferential treatment. 

To set your business up for long-term success, DoD Suppliers should start investing in CMMC now. The benefits of being an early CMMC-Conformer include:

  • Business Growth. Prime Contractors favor Subcontractors that can demonstrate that they have progressed towards CMMC conformance as this de-risks their contracts.
  • Budgeting Visibility. Assessing your current state of compliance now allows you the time to budget for costs needed to meet CMMC conformance (time, labor, etc.).
  • Control. Pick your C3PAO! By investing today, YOU are in control as C3PAOs are chasing the opportunity to perform audits NOW. 

In this blog, we will discuss what CMMC is, why conforming with CMMC as soon as possible is beneficial, and how you can get started today.

What is CMMC?

Cyberattacks are a growing threat to our freedom, democracy, and national security! And attacks on the Department of Defense Industrial Base (DIB) are becoming increasingly common. In response to increased risk, the Federal Government mandated Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification(CMMC).

According to recent reports, 85+% of DIB Suppliers would fail a Level-1 CMMC Audit.

Just-in-time manufacturing, outsourcing, and digital transformation have increased DIB interconnectivity and the dissemination of Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Concurrently, opposition governments worldwide continue to invest in military modernization and often steal corporate data as a means to leapfrog the learning curve. For example, China’s J-20 fighter, which appears to be a carbon copy of America’s F-22 fighter jet. American businesses handling sensitive DoD data have a responsibility to democracy, and to ensure adherence to any and all security measures directed by the US Government. Failure to protect sensitive data connected to the DoD will continue to result in substantial consequences for American businesses, citizens, and the fate of the free world.

Despite some revisions and scheduling delays to CMMC, the principles of the program remain the same – a supplier must provide proof of its cybersecurity practices before handling sensitive DoD data. CMMC 2.0 is expected to go into effect by May 2023, so now is the time for Suppliers to prepare themselves to be eligible for contracts. 

What Does it Mean for Defense Suppliers? 

To participate in a DoD project, Suppliers will be required to submit their cybersecurity assessments to the DoD. By 2026, every Defense Supplier is required to be at least CMMC Level 1 conformant. Although 2026 may seem a long way off, the DoD encourages Suppliers to start now. It can take 18 months to attain CMMC, which could significantly stifle business opportunities in the meantime. 

How Can Your Organization Best Prepare for CMMC Compliance?

First, it is crucial to determine the certification level your company needs. This is based on the type of information you access and the programs you support. To determine your required level of compliance, review the official CMMC documentation.

Another required step for your organization to prepare for CMMC is to assess your technology, processes, procedures, and controls. By assessing your landscape, you can more accurately identify gaps in security and resolve these issues to meet the new cybersecurity standards. Moving forward, you should periodically review and assess processes to ensure continued maintenance. 

Because of the time it takes, it is critical to get started on your CMMC journey as soon as possible–and do it correctly the first time. Suppliers have delayed the CMMC certification processes due to several business constraints, including:

  • Cost. Many businesses have no idea how much it will cost to achieve CMMC, making it difficult to convince stakeholders to budget the CMMC journey. 
  • Bandwidth. Businesses often lack the staff hours to implement CMMC. 
  • Expertise. Implementing CMMC is not easy*. Teams that do not have in-house competence will not know how to begin.

[*According to the DIBCAC, most Provisional Assessors would fail their C3PAO certification, though most think they are ready.]

Cybersecurity firms like Gigit empower businesses to overcome these common roadblocks and accelerate the certification process. Despite CMMC 2.0’s simplified requirements and streamlined model, becoming certified is complex. To stay compliant with the DoD, achieve certification, and keep ahead of evolving requirements, Suppliers must develop, implement, and adhere to a robust compliance strategy.

Gigit identifies the unique needs of each business and provides options for how to progress utilizing any combination of our team of expert personnel, processes, best practices, and software tools to support your effort to build and manage a compliant CMMC program.

Gigit staff have been working with the DoD on DFARS-related issues since 2010. Gigit’s CISO, Matt Titcombe (CyberAB Provisional Assessor #17), helped draft the initial CMMC framework issued in 2020 and subsequent updates. Gigit is currently an active member of the CyberAB and an active RPO and C3PAO candidate.

Gigit is a full-service cybersecurity partner that helps organizations of all sizes become CMMC-certified. 

  • Conducting your formal Conformity Assessment. This Assessment is a requirement on the road to becoming conformant. It is submitted to the CMMC Accreditation Body (Cyber-AB) before being approved for formal certification. 
  • Consulting Services to support your organization’s CMMC journey. Becoming ready for your formal Conformity Assessment is a multi-stage process. No company can tackle it all at once. Look to Gigit to provide the CMMC Consulting Services you’ll need every step of the way. 
  • Continuous Compliance. Once Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certified, you need to continuously keep compliant. Gigit helps businesses monitor and maintain their regulatory compliance ensuring continued eligibility for government contracts. 

With numerous NIST SP 800-171 assessments and implementations successfully performed for DoD contractors, we bring clarity to the CMMC program. We guarantee measurable, ongoing compliance as the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) evolves.

Contact Gigit today to learn more about our CMMC C3PAO and Conformity Assessment consulting services.