Published: March 8, 2023
By Annie articles
Learn the benefits of hiring a consultant for CMMC compliance
For many small and medium-sized enterprises, the murky world of compliance may be bewildering, especially in heavily controlled industries with constant revisions to government rules. This is especially true for contractors working for the Department of Defense (DoD), who must adhere to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC).
This accreditation was partly granted owing to widespread difficulties and data security challenges that affected over 300,000 third-party defense contractors and their Information Systems (IS). In addition, because many of these systems were linked to government networks, this structure became even more crucial.
As a result, expert cybersecurity consulting services have emerged to connect mission critical CMMC consultants with businesses seeking DoD contracts, in need of implementing this and other IT security frameworks to protect their stakeholders.
The CMMC framework is intended to help Defense Industrial Base (DIB) contractors in better assessing and improving their cyber security posture by ensuring that all DoD contractors use these cyber security practices and procedures to safeguard Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and Federal Contract Information (FCI).
The primary advantage to firms who get CMMC certification is the development of their processes while also improving the safety of controlled unclassified information and intellectual property inside the US DIB supply chain. This would help to reduce the $1 trillion (on average) cost of cyberattacks.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has published a set of cybersecurity practices, standards, and processes as part of the CMMC program to protect national security by integrating how Defense contractors and suppliers handle Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
CMMC 2.0 has three levels of security: Level 1 (Foundational), Level 2 (Advanced), and Level 3 (Expert). The CMMC maturity level your firm must achieve, and its compliance and evaluation criteria will be determined by the sensitivity of the data you will deal with.
For DoD contractors, each CMMC certification level includes its own set of processes, practices, and evaluation methods.
Level 1 requires companies to adopt fundamental cybersecurity measures. They can, however, conduct these practices on the go without documentation and can get certification through an annual self-assessment.
As a result, Third Party Assessment Organizations (C3PAO) do not measure level 1 process maturity.
Level 2 mandates businesses record their processes to guide their efforts toward CMMC maturity. This documentation must also make it possible for users to replicate these processes.
To gain this level of maturity, organizations must follow their specified processes.
Level 2 compliance assessment standards vary depending on whether the CUI data handled is essential or non-essential to national security. Only firms with prioritized acquisitions that take important data for national security must undergo a higher-level third-party evaluation every three years.
The level 3 CMMC model decreases a system’s exposure to Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) by forcing an organization to design, maintain, and resource a strategy to manage the actions required to implement its cyber security procedures.
This plan may include information on various subjects, such as objectives, missions, projects, resourcing, training, and the participation of organizational stakeholders.
Companies that manage CUI for DoD programs with the highest priority are subject to CMMC 2.0 Level 3.
Need help determining which level you need? Check out this post.
With the CMMC compliance date set for May 2023, many in the Defense Industrial Base are trying to comprehend how to comply, the tools required, and the cost.
Some of the most typical issues businesses face while attempting to comply with CMMC 2.0 are:
Because they currently have cybersecurity policies and procedures, organizations believe that CMMC compliance can be achieved quickly, in as little as a week or two. However, even the most advanced businesses have taken months to attain and document compliance.
This is because CMMC compliance is more than simply an IT activity and needs more than a technological cure. The first step is careful planning, which frequently requires the inclusion of new technologies, but that is only the start. Furthermore, all staff must be trained and replace old processes with new ones.
Out of caution, security engineers are broader than they should be in defining the extent of infrastructure that falls under CMMC. As a result, in some situations, they may over-define CUI, resulting in data being labeled as CUI when it should not be. However, more often than not, they don’t know where their CUI is, so they add more infrastructure than necessary.
This may include many repositories and supporting infrastructure and network capabilities, such as Identity and Access Management (IAM) services. Unfortunately, a greater scope frequently leads to a significantly more complicated and costly approach to CMMC.
Similarly, engineers may aim for a higher CMMC level than is necessary, aiming for Level 2 when Level 1 would do for their FCI data. Striking for excessive levels of CMMC compliance, like defining the infrastructure too widely, adds cost, complexity, and resources. Even if level 2 compliance is required, it may be more practicable and less disruptive to begin with level 1 compliance before trying level 2 compliance.
CUI data may be present in unique specifications provided to a supplier. The partner should be informed that they may be required to comply with CMMC regulations. You must transmit the information securely and train your personnel to handle it appropriately.
According to NIST, the System Security Plan (SSP) “… provides an overview of the security requirements for an information system and describes the security controls in place or planned for meeting those requirements.”
To put it another way, it is a formal, written plan that specifies the (scoped) infrastructure, related risks, and security measures in place (or intended) to mitigate those risks. The SSP is the first place auditors look.
They must go over all documentation on the system under management. This involves the creation of precisely defined and documented CUI boundary layouts, network architectures, services, and information flow, as well as written processes and procedures for dealing with it.
Almost no small or medium-sized business has the needed depth and complexity of documentation. As a result, significant architecture components are frequently outsourced, and no documentation exists. Larger organizations may have the personnel and documentation in-house, but the information may be dispersed among several IT teams rather than aggregated into a single document.
You may need to gain in-house knowledge to address your compliance inquiries as a small or medium-sized firm. This is when CMMC compliance consultancy comes in handy. A qualified compliance expert will have extensive expertise and understanding of multiple compliance frameworks and how to guarantee your company meets all of its security needs.
Hiring a CMMC consultant, who is a subject matter expert, will make the CMMC process easier for any company. A CMMC consultant is well-versed in the CMMC assessment and can guide your business in developing the policies and procedures to satisfy the CMMC standards.
A CMMC consultant may offer helpful advice on successfully adopting the CMMC framework inside your company. Hiring a CMMC consultant helps ensure that your company is ready for the CMMC certification process.
Because some firms lack an internal audit function, having an “Internal Auditor on Demand” who is familiar with the standards and can keep the organization accountable is a great way to show your commitment to compliance. Internal assessments are crucial to level 1 CMMC maturity.
A compliance expert working as a consultant can show the compliance gaps of your program, help you close them and ensure your business has all the necessary elements of the CMMC framework for a successful self-assessment.
For level 2 companies, they can help you prepare your controls and documentation for the C3PAO audit, ensuring a successful certification process. An expert will know how to evaluate possible C3PAO and relieve you of the stress of auditor choosing. They can also work as a communication bridge, maintaining clear communications between the C3PAO and your company.
The process continues after you obtain your C3PAO certification or complete your self-assessment. Because effective risk management is a continual process, you must stay on top of the controls and procedures outlined in the initial Plan of Action and Milestones (POAM) to ensure compliance.
Hiring a CMMC consultant can aid you in ensuring long-term CMMC compliance. CMMC experts are knowledgeable about CMMC compliance and can assist you in developing and implementing a CMMC compliance program that matches your unique requirements.
Consultants from CMMC may also help you in assessing your present compliance status and develop a plan to resolve any issues.
CMMC experts may advise on best practices for maintaining compliance over time. You are likely taking the essential steps to achieve long-term compliance with CMMC criteria by employing a CMMC consultant.
CMMC experts are well-versed in all elements of CMMC and may save you time by offering professional advice and support with your CMMC compliance efforts. CMMC consultants may also assist you in identifying and implementing best practices relating to CMMC, ensuring that your business is adequately prepared for CMMC audits and assessments.
Hiring a CMMC consultant allows you to focus on your key business goals while specialists handle CMMC compliance.
You can’t afford to take any chances regarding CMMC accreditation. That is why TalPoint is the best option for locating the ideal expert. You may identify dedicated cybersecurity experts to update you on CMMC compliance standards via our vetted expert marketplace.
With TalPoint, you have access to a network of professionals that can deliver mission-critical projects on time, on budget, and on point.
Our compliance and cybersecurity experts assist you in learning the CMMC requirements and applying them to your specific context; providing online training for your leadership, staff, and IT professionals; assisting your company with self-assessment and submission; and assisting your company in preparing for the third-party certification audit.
Contact us today to find the ideal CMMC expert for you!
Charlies is a 14 year cyber security expert. He started his career in the U.S. armed forces and then transitioned into commercial roles. A security engineer by training, he's well-versed in tool deployment and administration.
Ellen bring a decade of GRC expertise to the TalPoint community. She's knowledgeable on a variety of frameworks and employs a methodical approach to compliance. She's available for needs assessments, gap assessments, internal audits, and for certain frameworks running independent 3rd party audits.
Zachary bring a 20+ year career in risk management to the TalPoint community. He's worked across healthcare, finance, and supply chain manufacturing. His broad experience offers both a holistic view of risk as well as a common sense approach to risk management.