Most Department of Defense contractors are now aware of the new CMMC regulations coming into place that will require all DoD contractors to submit to external auditing of their security systems before working with the Department.
In the past, contractors were required to self-certify along NIST SP 800-171 guidelines, however, this proved ineffective, with many companies falling prey to successful cyber attacks.
This change in policy is a response to increased security concerns.
The Rollout of CMMC
The new CMMC audits, standing for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, have a few differences to the old model, including a five-tiered maturity system. However, the main difference is the need for a third-party audit of contractors’ systems.
For many, this may be a daunting prospect, particularly as the stakes are so high. Without successful accreditation, contractors will not be permitted to work on any contract with the DoD. However, there are ways you can maximize your preparation and ensure your systems are fully compliant with the new auditing system.
1. Start Now
Your tactics should be the same as when preparing for any test—it’s important to get ahead of the game and start getting ready for the CMMC audit as soon as possible.
According to the CMMC enforcement timelines, the system will start being implemented in late 2020, before undergoing a soft rollout through 2021-2024. This means that initial organizations will begin being audited in just a few months’ time. It’s critical to start preparing now so that when your official audit does occur, your systems are prepared.
Just like an exam, the CMMC audit is not something that can be “crammed” for the night before. Whether your IT security systems need a few tweaks or a complete overhaul, you will need the time to organize these changes through your IT department or an external operator. You will also need time to check security after each alternation. It’s important to start as soon as possible to enable thorough and successful preparation.
2. Get an IT Risk Assessment
Prior to getting a thorough assessment to determine CMMC complaince, getting an IT risk assessment will be a great initial step towards surveying your systems and beginning to prepare for the audit itself.
A general IT risk assessment will involve analyzing any potential vulnerabilities to your system, and the threats they might pose. The results will compile into a report that will predict outcomes and the potential losses you might expect under a range of different scenarios. A good assessment will suggest potential solutions to achieve optimal security within the parameters of your business and budget.
It’s important to remember that an IT risk assessment is not the same as the CMMC audit, and cannot guarantee accreditation. However, it is a good starting point in your preparation, allowing you to evaluate your systems as they stand.
3. Get Expert CMMC Preparation Services
The best way to prepare for a CMMC audit is to work with a reliable CMMC consultant who thoroughly understands the controls involved in becoming compliant with the appropriate level of the CMMC.
Anyone looking to work under contract with the DoD should investigate these preparation services in order to fully secure your systems prior to the audit. Part of the CMMC consultant service will include a CMMC assessment of your security. This will mimic the results of the audit itself much more closely than a general IT risk assessment, allowing you to identify specific vulnerabilities.
Working with a knowledgeable consultant will take some of the pressure off your shoulders, allowing you to prepare for the CMMC audit with confidence. Again, while a CMMC Assessment will not give you official accreditation to work on government contracts (this is the purpose of official audits), it is an important step in preparing for an audit.
4. Get PreVeil (Alternative to GCC High)
Many business owners are under the false assumption that the majority of cyber attacks occur against big companies, through hacking and data breaches. In fact, 94% of malware arrives on computers through email, and email is also one of the least protected systems both by employees and companies themselves.
To prepare for the CMMC audit, it’s important to lock down your email security, alongside the high risks posed by file-sharing. File sharing online has become a vital part of modern business, but it also provides opportunities for cyberattacks to steal sensitive information.
To guard against this, get PreVeil, a great solution that offers a cost-effective alternative to GCC High and promises to protect your email accounts and files with unrivaled security, end-to-end encryption, and privacy.
Alongside thorough preparation, an IT risk assessment, and the services of an expert CMMC consultant, PreVeil will ensure your systems are fully secure and ready to successfully pass the CMMC audit with flying colors.
With these resources, you can ensure your government-contracted business is fully prepared to comply with the necessary controls outlined in the CMMC when audits begin later this year.