The cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) is a regulatory framework that oversees data security across the entire defense industrial base. According to any new deals with the DIB, contractors must satisfy a certain degree of security maturity before working with the DoD. CMMC security is divided into five levels, with the 3rd level being the bare basic standard for any organization that will have access to unclassified information that is controlled (CUI).
While CMMC will not be completely deployed until October 1, 2025, it is prudent to begin your adherence journey right away. Not only will preparing your IT infrastructure, procedures, and personnel takes time, but obtaining a better security level can also open the doorway to profitable new deals. To do so, you’ll need to be certified by a CMMC auditor who has been approved by the CMMC certification authority (CMMC AB).
What does the CMMC AB stand for?
The CMMC accreditation organization was established to monitor compliance throughout the Defense Industrial Base. The CMMC-AB is a charitable organization that was created in January 2020 with two primary goals: connecting firms seeking CMMC certification with trained evaluators and authorizing third-party assessor organizations (C3PAOs) to conduct CMMC audits. Instead of relying on memos of understanding made between the DoD and its contractors, the DoD is now embarking on a declaration that would empower the CMMC AB to function solely on their account.
What should you do to prepare for a CMMC audit?
Any firms that are still uncertified in 2025, when CMMC is wholly deployed, will be barred from any DoD contracts. Although 2025 may appear to be a long way off, obtaining a high degree of cybersecurity maturity is likewise a significant challenge. It will take two years for the CMMC-AB to become utterly compatible with the ISO 17011 norm, with which CMMC is partially aligned. Despite the acceptable timeframe, it makes sense to begin the CMMC journey as soon as possible to increase company robustness and unlock the gate to new contracts.
However, you should resist engaging a CMMC auditor unless you are prepared or required to do so. Failure to pass an audit may be pretty costly. Therefore it makes sense to prepare as thoroughly as possible ahead of time. The obvious first step is to employ a service provider that can do an external vulnerability check on your network to reveal any potential weak spots. This will allow you to address any vulnerabilities before they become significant. It will assist you in selecting the appropriate security solutions to improve your likelihood of a successful audit.
Finally, once any preexisting weaknesses have been addressed, you should have your IT provider conduct a mock CMMC regulation audit to establish which maturity level you are presently capable of meeting. At the very least, you should attain the third level, as this is a necessity for any business that handles controlled unclassified data (CUI). Striving for a greater level, on the other hand, can help you win a new client. However, because CMMC is a new paradigm, evaluation methodologies for levels four and five are currently being developed.
How to Choose the right CMMC partner?
The CMMC AB will not be a significant part of most firms’ CMMC compliance journeys. Instead, they’ll work with a C3PAO that the CMMC AB has approved to conduct CMMC audits. As a result, selecting the correct C3PAO is essential to your future capacity to compete and keep DoD contracts.
Even though the CMMC-AB has authorized all C3PAOs, this does not mean you should collaborate with any company. To locate a partner with the necessary experience in your business, you should extensively assess the CMMC-AB Marketplace. You could also think about working with firms that have been certified by the CMMC AB training program to provide security understanding and compliance instruction to your employees. Finally, any CMMC partner with whom you want to collaborate should have at minimum one certified CMMC professional on staff.