Keeping up to date on the changing CMMC security requirements may seem like a hassle that’s only worth undertaking if you do business with the Department of Defense. But in reality, meeting the new CMMC compliance mandates is a great way to make your business more secure and agile.
That’s why, even if you aren’t a DoD contractor, the CMMC security updates can be beneficial to your business. Keep reading for an overview of what to know about the new CMMC Framework and how to meet it in a way that benefits your business.
How CMMC is changing
By May 2023, the DoD expects to implement CMMC 2.0, at least in interim form.
Among other changes, CMMC 2.0 reduces the number of compliance “levels” from five to three. This is a major benefit to businesses that need to meet CMMC security mandates because it simplifies the process of choosing which compliance path to follow and adhering to its associated rules. The 3 levels are:
- Level 1 (Foundational)
This level must match the 15 controls of FAR52.204-21 “basic” controls to protect
Federal Contract Information. Certification is required annually. It is possible for your
organization to self-assess. This is similar to the previous model in CMMC 1.0.
- Level 2 (Advanced):
This level is comparable to CMMC 1.0 level 3. Its requirements mirror NIST SP 800-71, which includes 14 levels and 110 security controls developed by the National Institute of Technology and Standards (NIST) to protect sensitive information. The 20 requirements of CMMC 1.0 level 3 compliance have been dropped.
- Level 3 (Expert):
Under this CMMC 2.0 assessment level, which is comparable to CMMC 1.0 level 5, businesses will require government-led assessments. The focus is on reducing Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) that could lead to data exfiltration or compromised applications. Besides the 110 controls that are required for the new Level 2 certification, the NIST’s SP 800-172 is required for Level 3 certification.
5 great reasons to choose CMMC compliance
Some businesses will need to meet CMMC compliance requirements because they sell to the DoD, and CMMC 2.0 is a mandate. But even if that is not the case, there are great reasons to become CMMC-compliant.
1. Overall CMMC security protection
Implementing security controls using CMMC 2.0 levels is a great way to maximize your overall security posture. It will help to protect sensitive information within your organization and increase the security of your supply chain.
2. Tailor cyber hygiene to your business
CMMC uses maturity processes and cybersecurity best practices from multiple frameworks as its foundation. And, because CMMC security offers different compliance levels, it’s an excellent framework to follow if you want a cybersecurity plan tailored to your business. Not every organization faces the same level of threats or the same level of data sensitivity. With CMMC, you can establish cyber hygiene policies, such as vulnerability disclosure programs, that reflect your organization’s particular needs.
3. Prepare for upcoming regulatory changes
As we’ve noted, there is a lot of overlap between the CMMC security requirements and other compliance standards, like those developed by NIST. Thus, by becoming CMMC-complaint, you prepare your business to meet similar compliance mandates that may be rolled out in the future.
4. Validate your cybersecurity from the outside
CMMC assessment is a great way to determine how well your business meets security mandates. This can be done not only by internal stakeholders, who are not objective observers, but by outsiders who understand how risks can flow through supply chains and what it takes to build a strong cybersecurity culture within an organization.
5. Winning additional contracts
The higher your level of cyber security, the more competitive you’ll be. Supply chain security is increasingly viewed as a necessity rather than a nice-to-have. Businesses that fail to prioritize security risk losing contracts and relationships with key enterprises. Additionally, coordinated vulnerability disclosure programs that are apart of the CMMC security framework, help to build trust and positive cooperation across the supply chain.
The future of supply chain security
As you assess what the CMMC security changes mean for your business, don’t think merely in terms of whether you are specifically required to undergo CMMC assessments. Instead, think about how increasing awareness of cybersecurity and building a stronger cyber culture within your organization will pay dividends now and in the future, regardless of your specific CMMC compliance requirements.
After all, security is always changing, and compliance frameworks like the CMMC change with it. Keeping pace with changing requirements is a good way to encourage accountability across your supply chain and enforce strong cyber hygiene standards.
Indeed, it’s a safe bet that, going forward, cyber security requirements will become tighter, not looser. Embrace the trend now by using frameworks like the CMMC to supercharge your cyber hygiene and disclosure programs, rather than waiting until a specific mandates is handed down that affects you.