Sedulous’ Toys for Tots Drive

We are proud to announce we are teaming with the US Marine Corps this holiday season supporting Toys for Tots!

The mission of the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program is to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. The primary goal of the Marine Corps Toys for Tots is, through the gift of a new toy, bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children. In 1991 the Marine Corps. Toys for Tots Foundation was created at the behest of the Marine Corps in order to better execute the program.

We have Toys for Tots boxes at our corporate office located at 18300 Quantico Gateway Drive in Suite 201. One box is in the lobby of the building (on the 2nd Floor) and the other box is located in our office reception area. If you would like to donate a toy, please visit our office by Thursday, December 8th, 2022. We will have the donated toys picked up by Marine Corps Reserve members on December 13th.

What are the CMMC Compliance Requirements?

Real-time communication and the ability to compete globally have been a boon for business leaders. But the internet also gave hackers halfway around the world a way to break into your network and steal valuable and sensitive information.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is circling the national security wagons by rolling out an updated version of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). This comprehensive set of protocols is designed to protect sensitive information stored and transmitted by companies in the military-industrial base.

As the federal government moves to complete the final details of the digital defense mandate, organizations of every size must start planning to meet CMMC compliance. Those who fail to meet the standards will likely find themselves sidelined, losing lucrative government work as competitors increase market share. If your operation generates profits from direct or DoD-related contracts, this is what you need to know about CMMC compliance and its requirements.

What is the CMMC 2.0?

The second version of CMMC simplifies some of the guidelines outlined in the initial version. However, it maintains the overall thinking about protecting classified and unclassified military information held by contractors, subcontractors, and even seemingly peripheral supplies.

The CMMC 2.0 mandates companies to adopt a standardized set of cybersecurity controls that protect sensitive Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) data against unauthorized disclosure. Many cybersecurity measures were already active parts of the NIST SP 800-171, NIST SP 800-53, and ISO 27001 policies. CMMC 2.0 brings the best protections under one roof and applies them across the military-industrial base.

Why Does My Company Need CMMC Compliance?

When you add up all the direct and indirect contractors supporting the DoD, there are more than 300,000. So it’s not unreasonable for a small business owner who provides disposable cafeteria products to question why they are required to achieve and maintain CMMC compliance.

Enemy states are funding what are known as “advanced persistent threats” with the highest hacking skills. Understanding that a direct cyberattack on the DoD or other federal agencies proves difficult — if not futile — these threat actors gather fragments of information housed on the devices of military supply chain outfits. By piecing together low-level information, rogue nations can better exploit cybersecurity gaps at the highest levels of government.

Hackers are not necessarily trying to steal your credit cards. Instead, they’re often using hard-working Americans to get to the DoD. That’s why CMMC compliance is a necessary element of our national security. 

What are the CMMC Compliance Requirements?

The 2.0 version reduced the number of cyber hygiene levels from five to three and changed the CMMC compliance process. Small, mid-sized, and large corporations must determine their appropriate cyber hygiene level and meet the accompanying standards. These include the following.

• Level 1: Considered “Foundational” cyber hygiene, supply chain organizations must adopt 17 essential protection outlined in NIST 800-171. The goal of level 1 cybersecurity is to protect FCI, which can be used as a piece of the puzzle for nation-state hackers to grow their understanding of America’s national defense. Under the soon-to-be rolled-out CMMC 2.0 protocols, companies that fall under this standard have the option of self-assessment and reporting their findings.

• Level 2: Considered “Advanced” cyber hygiene, companies that store or transmit CUI are tasked with meeting the same 17 controls as Level 1 outfits. Companies are also required to onboard 93 other NIST practices. The DoD has indicated that self-assessment and reporting may be an option for some companies. However, determining where you fall requires an expert to review your data and network. Working with a Third Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO) from the start may be the best way to ensure your company does not lose its contract.

• Level 3: Considered “Advanced” cyber hygiene, military contractors and those dealing with sensitive CUI must meet the most stringent CMMC compliance standards. This involves all 110 NIST controls, and the DoD expects to add significant cybersecurity measures soon. Companies that require this level of CMMC compliance need to enlist a C3PAO to conduct an impartial assessment.

To say the fast-approaching CMMC 2.0 rollout is causing business professionals consternation would be an understatement. Determining which cyber hygiene level an operation falls under requires substantial cybersecurity knowledge and a deep understanding of CMMC compliance expectations. Therefore, every company’s best interest is to undergo a CMMC compliance assessment before the regulations hit the industry.

How Does a CMMC Compliance Assessment Work?

Businesses that procrastinate when the DoD sets a CMMC compliance start date will likely create a bottleneck. There are a limited number of C3PAO organizations — like ours — and they will be in high demand. Rather than delay — potentially missing a deadline— we strongly recommend enlisting cybersecurity professionals to conduct an unofficial CMMC assessment now and be prepared. A CMMC compliance assessment typically involves the following steps.

  • Enlist the support of a C3PAO.
  • Identify the type and sensitivity of the FCI or CUI you handle.
  • Apply those findings to the three CMMC levels.
  • Conduct a preliminary cybersecurity gap assessment to identify shortcomings.
  • Harden your cybersecurity defenses to achieve the appropriate CMMC compliance level.
  • Have an official C3PAO audit conducted.
  • Report your score to the DoD’s Supplier Performance Risk System.

It’s essential to keep in mind the DoD expects contractors and supply chain organizations to maintain their CMMC compliance year-round. Companies should not address this process like your operation is studying to pass a test. Our national defense is constantly under attack from global enemies. Maintaining CMMC compliance is everyday people doing their part to ensure American prosperity.

Contact Sedulous Consulting Services For A CMMC Compliance Assessment

Based in Triangle, Virginia, Sedulous Consulting Services ranks among the first 100 organizations to qualify as a Third-party Assessment Organization. We work diligently with military contractors, subcontractors, and businesses in the supply chain to assess cybersecurity vulnerabilities, secure their networks, and maintain CMMC compliance. If your company enjoys profits from a military contract or works in the supply chain, contact Sedulous Consulting Services.

What are the CMMC Requirements for Small Businesses?

Small businesses working in the military supply chain are being urged to begin the process of meeting federal cybersecurity mandates as final rulemaking nears completion.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has been diligently working on an updated version of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) that reduces cyber hygiene levels from five to three. Being hailed as CMMC 2.0, much of the framework is already available for small businesses to integrate into the defenses. High-profile military contractors and organizations handling sensitive digital assets can anticipate additional stringent measures that could exceed the control outlined in the initial version.

The good news for small businesses that primarily handle Federal Contract Information (FCI) or relatively routine Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) is that you can get ahead of the anticipated CMMC compliance logjam. At the same time, the federal government completes its rulemaking process.

What CMMC Level Applies to Small Businesses?

The Pentagon indicated that small businesses providing essential products, materials, and services to contractors in the military-industrial base may have the option to self-assess their cybersecurity. But the complicated nature of the CMMC framework and identifying which level and controls apply to your operation can be something of a Herculean task. Unless you possess in-depth cybersecurity knowledge and an intimate understanding of federal regulations, we advise entrepreneurs and other decision-makers to enlist a third-party CMMC expert’s support promptly.

The first step in preparing for the CMMC rollout involves understanding which cyber hygiene applies to your company. The federal government isn’t making CMMC 2.0 user-friendly. Professionals won’t have simple metrics to follow, such as the number of employees, annual revenue, or even categories based on products, services, or materials.

To determine which of the three cyber hygiene levels applies to your organization, a managed IT professional with cybersecurity expertise will likely need to review the mandate and weigh its contents against the type of digital information you store or transmit. You see the problem if that seems like a steep hill to climb.

The Pentagon expects small businesses with few employees and a limited IT budget to determine the type of FCI or CUI they possess or transmit. Modestly sized subcontractors and supply chain operations will likely fall into one of the following two CMMC levels.

• Level 1: The DoD considers Level 1 cyber hygiene “foundational,” and small businesses are tasked with meeting 17 protocols that have already been published as part of the NIST 800-171 regulations. Level 1 controls are designed to protect FCI because foreign threats try to piece together this information to learn about the larger national security strategy. Although FCI is not necessarily sensitive, basic cyber hygiene generally deters hackers.

• Level 2: The Pentagon considers Level 2 cyber hygiene “advanced,” which involves upwards of 110 NIST protective measures. The Level 2 focus remains on CUI, and a great deal of uncertainty surrounds its CMMC compliance. According to early reports, the DoD plans to allow some outfits to self-assess while others need to bring in a Third Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO), such as ours. Determining where your small business falls can be complicated. And a misstep could result in getting sidelined from profitable DoD supply chain work.

• Level 3 CMMC compliance is primarily designed to protect susceptible digital assets stored and transmitted by military contractors and their closest subcontractors. That determination is based on the type of information they handle and requires a diligent assessment of the digital assets. But the elephant in the room revolves around the critical next step small businesses need to take to meet the CMMC requirements right now.

How Small Businesses Can Stay Ahead of the CMMC Mandate

It’s important to note that companies currently engaged in lucrative DoD work are expected to maintain appropriate cybersecurity defenses. The federal government has made it abundantly clear its dissatisfaction in recent years stems from companies failing to meet long-standing expectations. The decision to implement CMMC 1.0 and 2.0 stems from the fact too many contractors and subcontractors got hacked, and the Pentagon discovered their lackluster defensive posture after the fact.

So moving forward, businesses must file self-assessment results with the Pentagon’s Supplier Performance Risk System. Subpar scores are likely to be flagged, and small, mid-sized, and large corporations will be tasked with implementing corrective measures swiftly. If an outfit continues to miss the mark, business professionals can anticipate temporarily shutting out of the military-industrial base.

Of course, risking your livelihood by waiting until the mandates go into full effect can be avoided. So we urge small businesses that help military defense agencies and soldiers do their job to enlist the support of a C3PAO now.

By implementing an FCI and CUI review, you can get ahead of the curve by knowing precisely which CMMC level applies to your operation. Then Sedulous can bring a cost-effective cybersecurity assessment to bear that tests your defenses, ability to deter hackers and keep pieces to the national security puzzle out of the hands of bad actors.

Strategies such as penetration testing, gap assessment, and providing your staff with basic cybersecurity awareness training can harden your defenses. Remember that most data breaches involve clever hackers tricking employees into clicking on a malicious link, downloading a tainted file, or innocently revealing login credentials.

Contact Sedulous Consulting Services For A CMMC Compliance Assessment

Based in Triangle, Virginia, Sedulous Consulting Services ranks among the first 100 organizations to qualify as a Third-party Assessment Organization. We work diligently with small business leaders in the supply chain to assess cybersecurity vulnerabilities, secure their networks, and maintain CMMC compliance. If your company enjoys profits from a military contract or works in the supply chain, contact Sedulous Consulting Services.

How Does CMMC 2.0 Affect Your Small Business?

Small and mid-sized business leaders sometimes view federal mandates such as CMMC 2.0 as overreach and a nuance. It seems counterintuitive that sophisticated hackers funded by rival nations would invest time and energy into penetrating companies that perform sometimes marginal work in the military supply chain. In other words, don’t Russian and Chinese hackers have bigger fish to fry?

Truth be told, your business likely stores or transmits bits of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) these advanced persistent threats consider a piece in the larger national security puzzle. Once a foreign adversary gathers enough CUI from a military supply chain organization — like your small or mid-sized business — they employ it to launch major cyberattacks against the federal government.

In 2016, a Chinese National pleaded guilty to conspiring to hack a U.S. defense contractor’s system and “steal military technical data, including data relating to the C-17 strategic transport aircraft and certain fighter jets produced for the U.S. military,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

From 2019 through 2020, hackers reportedly funded by the Russian government exploited a software company loosely connected to the military-industrial base. Known as the SolarWinds hack, malware was slipped into software updates, tainting thousands of databases, including the U.S Treasury Department. The SolarWinds hack was orchestrated by using an intern’s login credentials. That strategy highlights the way foreign enemies will target small and mid-sized businesses connected to the military-industrial base and work their way to those bigger fish.

What is the CMMC 2.0 Update?

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, aka CMMC, brings together wide-reaching measures under one umbrella and mandates businesses involved in military activities to comply. Before the initial CMMC was conceived, companies met different standards and not everyone followed them consistently. This undermined national security and prompted the Department of Defense to re-imagine a robust security policy.

The original CMMC 1.0 policy was streamlined to reduce the number of cyber hygiene levels from five to three. Business leaders are now tasked with identifying which of the following three tiers apply to their organization and implementing the appropriate controls.

• Level 1: A small business that handles Federal Contract Information must meet 17 basic controls outlined in NIST 800-171. This information is typically not considered highly sensitive. The CMMC 2.0 update generally allows small and mid-sized businesses to conduct in-house assessments and submit the results to the Supplier Performance Risk System annually.

• Level 2: Considered “advanced” cyber hygiene, small and mid-sized companies that store or transmit CUI are tasked with meeting 110 NIST controls. The DoD mandate for Level 2 businesses has proven confusing to company administrators. Some outfits can self-test while others require an assessment from a Third Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO) every three years.

• Level 3: Reserved largely for direct military contractors, all 110 NIST controls come into play, as well as other to-be-determined measures. A C3PAO assessment is mandated.

The vast majority of small and, to some degree, mid-sized organizations will likely fall into the Level 2 or 3 standards. Understanding whether you require an accredited C3PAO or another cybersecurity expert is an important decision. Failing to properly comply with CMMC 2.0 could sideline your business from lucrative DoD contracts.

How Does CMMC 2.0 Benefit Small Businesses?

Entrepreneurs and other decision-makers must consider capital expenditures such as cybersecurity on an ongoing basis. As the CMMC 2.0 rollout nears, many will need to enlist the support of a cybersecurity firm with expertise in this niche area. That typically means partnering with an accredited C3PAO. Weighing the return on investment for CMMC compliance is something that requires thoughtful consideration.

It’s not uncommon for industry leaders to think in terms of a one-to-one correlation. You will invest X portion of your budget into managed IT and cybersecurity. The CMMC component involves a set dollar amount. Using straightforward math, CFOs may look at whether continuing to work in the military-industrial base is profitable.

The short answer is usually: Yes. The DoD has a massive discretionary budget that topped $722 billion in the Fiscal Year 2022, an increase of $17 billion over the previous year. These contracts pay top-dollar and continue to grow. Staying in the military-industrial base and peripheral supply chains calls for CMMC compliance. It’s also worthwhile to look at CMMC compliance through another lens.

Some modestly-sized business owners shrug off investing in cybersecurity measures because they don’t think hackers will target them. That mindset has resulted in small and mid-sized businesses ranking among the most vulnerable in terms of deficient cybersecurity. The following statistics demonstrate cybercriminals have noticed.

• More than 60 percent of small and mid-sized businesses suffer cyberattacks each year.

• Companies with fewer than 500 employees sustained an average loss of about $3 million.

• Nearly half of companies with less than 50 employees have no cybersecurity budget.

• More than half of business owners paid ransomware hackers to release their network.

• A quarter of small and mid-sized outfits that are hacked lose clients and customers.

• Upwards of 60 percent of organizations that get hacked fold within 6 months.

Because multi-million-dollar hacks garner splashy headlines, the average business owner remains unaware they are a primary target. Garden variety hackers, sitting in a café halfway around the world, troll the internet looking for easy marks. When a small or mid-sized organization is not well defended, it becomes low-hanging fruit. And cyber thieves are more than happy to steal credit card numbers, raid bank accounts, or sell your personal identity information on the dark web.

Although CMMC compliance is not necessarily designed to protect the integrity of small and mid-sized companies from financial and personal identity threats, it serves as a proactive deterrent. With CMMC protocols in place, your organization possesses determined cybersecurity. Hackers are unwilling to exhaust themselves trying to breach your system. They’ll move on to easy targets that failed to invest in themselves.

Contact Sedulous Consulting Services For CMMC 2.0 Compliance

Based in Triangle, Virginia, Sedulous Consulting Services ranks among the first 100 organizations to qualify as a Third-party Assessment Organization. We work diligently with small and mid-sized businesses to assess their cybersecurity vulnerabilities, secure their network defenses, and meet the stringent CMMC 2.0 requirements. If your company enjoys profits from a military contract or works in the supply chain, contact Sedulous Consulting Services.


How would a Cyberattack Affect your Business?

The mainstream media coverage of multi-million cyberattacks creates a false perception that hackers primarily target larger corporations with deep pockets. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

Cybersecurity for small businesses remains light-years behind large corporations, and online criminals are well aware of that fact. If you still think heightened cybersecurity for small businesses isn’t worth the investment, consider the following statistics.

Approximately 47 percent of companies with 50 or fewer employees budget specifically for cybersecurity.

Only 18 percent of organizations with 250 or more staff members possess a dedicated cybersecurity budget.

More than 40 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses.

Following a data breach, 60 percent of small businesses shut their doors within six months.

Rather than think about splashy headlines about Russian hackers pilfering off millions, look at cybersecurity for small businesses from another lens. For example, the mainstream media and digital platforms routinely post horrific crashes involving massive tractor-trailers. But you don’t know that there are about 500,000 total truck accidents annually, compared to more than 11 million passenger vehicle crashes. Small businesses, metaphorically, are the millions of unreported car wrecks.

How Do Hackers Target Small Businesses?

Small Business Administration survey indicates that 88 percent of business owners are concerned their operation is open to a cyberattack. And because few business leaders have an IT background or expertise in cybersecurity, it isn’t easy to know where or why to invest in online defense. However, by looking at how hackers target similar-sized organizations, you may be able to make informed decisions.

Social Engineering: Digital thieves know that over 95 percent of all data breaches result from human error. That’s essentially why hackers send out thousands of electronic scam messages designed to trick an employee into clicking on a malicious link, downloading an aggressive file, or giving away login credentials.

Ransomware: One of the key tools hackers deploy is malware that locks owners and employees out of their network. Cybercriminals usually ask for a large sum in cryptocurrency before sending decryption, allowing a company to resume operations. The average ransomware demand spiked from about $136,000 to nearly $600,000 in 2021.

Weak Login Credentials: “Password123” and other weak login credentials are still real. Every day, people have profiles across dozens of platforms, including banks, credit card companies, and e-commerce platforms. Not being able to remember them all, some use easy-to-recall passwords. Hackers guess by reviewing their online presence or using a bot to run possibilities. Once inside a small business network, valuable and sensitive information can be stolen and sold on the dark web.

Whenever a hacker believes a small or mid-sized operation has poor cybersecurity or untrained employees, they treat that organization like low-hanging fruit. The result is a devastating data breach.

What is the Small Business Fallout of a Cyberattack?

As more companies store valuable information digitally, improved cybersecurity for small businesses becomes increasingly essential. And while 60 percent of organizations shuttering is shocking, these are other ways companies are typically affected. These include the following.

Profit-Driving Endeavors Disrupted

The indirect cost of a cyberattack can ruin a business. While the network remains inaccessible, your company cannot adequately provide client goods and services. The tip of the spear is the lost revenue associated with going offline for an extended period. In addition, impatient customers may go elsewhere and continue to patronize a competitor after you regain operational control. 

Small Businesses Suffer High Recovery Costs

Cyberattacks are uncommon to leave equipment and data storage devices damaged. However, a small business may need to repair or replace an entire system following a hack. Cloud-based operations that bypass in-house networks may sustain fewer equipment losses. But cybercriminals usually attempt to expand their reach and steal from your business-to-business partners. If a business stores critical information about others in its orbit and hackers leverage those files, your small business could face a civil lawsuit.

Forced to Rethink Your Business Model

Should a small business survive the brunt of a cyberattack, the leadership team members will likely need to overhaul the entire operation. Online cybersecurity practices such as data collection, storage, transmission, and who has access need to be closely examined. In all likelihood, you will need to bring in a third-party managed IT and a cybersecurity firm to create an entirely new system and set of best practices. 

Perhaps the worst qualitative hit a small business and its leadership team takes is a tarnished reputation. Professionals in your industry will consider working with you and your organization risky. Unfortunately, a damaged reputation lingers long after the initial damage has been repaired.

Reliable Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

Entrepreneurs and small business leaders make difficult decisions about where to re-invest. However, given the rising ransomware demands, downtime costs, and suffering a tarnished reputation, cybersecurity for small businesses needs to be a priority.

Don’t allow your business and livelihood to get harvested like low-hanging fruit by cyber criminals. Sedulous works diligently with companies of all sizes to implement affordable, determined cybersecurity.

Why is Cybersecurity Critical for Small Businesses?

It’s not uncommon for small and mid-sized organizations to minimize their cybersecurity investments. Operating on tight budgets, decision-makers sometimes believe hackers are more likely to target larger corporations with a treasure trove of digital assets. But truth be told, cybercriminals would rather take advantage of vulnerable small and mid-sized operations with seemingly weak defenses. Consider the following statistics regarding small and mid-sized companies.

• Small and mid-sized organizations sustain 43 percent of all data breaches.

• More than 60 percent of these companies report being targeted at least once.

• Significant cyberattacks resulted in 40 percent shutting down for a full workday.

• There were more than 800,000 cyberattacks in 2021 alone.

Upwards of 83 percent of small and mid-sized companies are not financially prepared to weather a cyberattack, and 91 percent fail to purchase liability coverage. Compounding the multi-level vulnerabilities, 43 percent do not have a cybersecurity plan.

In terms of cybersecurity defenses, small and mid-sized businesses are the low-hanging fruit a hacker halfway around the world wants to take advantage of. At Sedulous, we understand that If entrepreneurs and other decision-makers are going to avert online disasters, they need to understand cybersecurity and the schemes bad actors deploy.

What is Cybersecurity?

It’s essential for business owners to understand that cybersecurity runs much deeper than purchasing the latest antivirus product. It involves protecting digital assets housed in hardware and the Cloud across various devices. The very laptops, smartphones, and work-from-anywhere connectivity that level the competitive playing field also create pathways for hackers to infiltrate networks and steal valuable information.

Determined cybersecurity tasks company leaders with developing multi-pronged defenses. Given the relatively modest budgets of small operations, the goal may not necessarily be to make massive capital investments. By working with Sedulous, a cost-effective cybersecurity plan can be developed. Once implemented, a cybersecurity plan of action can eliminate the perception you are the low-hanging fruit. That means garden variety hackers will spend their time and energy looking elsewhere for an easy mark.

Methods Hackers Use To Breach Business Systems

Although the small business community remains at risk, it’s important to understand how hackers choose their targets. We all see the splashy headlines about multi-million hacks that large corporations and federal government agencies suffer. The nefarious individuals who pull off those heists are usually highly skilled, intelligent, and well-funded persistent threats. Many are part of an underground cybercrime syndicate, and they go after big paydays. These are not necessarily the individuals targeting small and mid-sized operations.

Rather, low-level hackers and some with average skills usually cast a wide net and wait for someone to make a misstep. These are commonly deployed methods used by hackers who are inclined to target startups and mom-and-pop operations.

• Phishing: This method involves sending thousands of emails and other electronic messages. Some are laced with malware or entice the recipient to take some action. Once a malicious link is clicked on or a file is downloaded, the hacker infiltrates a network and pilfers off digital assets. This remains the preferred method of hackers when targeting small businesses.

• Spear Phishing: A more sophisticated cybercriminal may do some homework about you or your employees to create a more convincing message. It’s stunning how much personal information can be lifted from social media and professional platforms. Using this information, a skilled hacker tries to convince someone a file or link is legitimate. Again, they assume control over your network once someone falls for the deception.

• Zero-Day Exploit: Companies have grown increasingly reliant on software and automation to compete in the global markets. The applications small and mid-sized organizations use sometimes experience hiccups. When that happens, software companies issue what are known as “patches” to cure vulnerabilities. Hackers are keenly aware that busy entrepreneurs may not promptly install these patches. While your software remains unprotected, they exploit it and breach your network.

• Password Penetrations: It’s common knowledge that hackers exploit weak and predictable passwords. But it’s almost ironic that a significant number of employees fail to create complex passwords or change them periodically. The humor of using “password123” is lost when a business suffers tens of thousands of dollars in losses and downtime. A relatively unsophisticated online thief can apply an email-based username and run an automated attack to guess common passwords. Password penetrations rank among the easiest methods to breach a system.

Someone with bad intent sitting in a café halfway around the world is largely immune from prosecution. That’s why they target American companies with malware such as Trojans, ransomware, spyware, and newly-minted viruses. As long as a business system demonstrates less-than-determined cybersecurity defenses, the attacks will continue.

How Can Businesses Improve Cybersecurity Defenses?

Hardening a small and mid-sized outfit’s cybersecurity defenses does not have to strain your budget. Experienced cybersecurity professionals work closely with community members to create cost-effective options that provide protection. These are ways a cybersecurity firm helps insulate digital assets from threats.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Educating employees about phishing schemes, enticements, and complex passwords goes a long way. Cybersecurity experts can teach staff members how to identify the telltale signs of a phishing or spear-phishing message. A third-party firm can also send out alerts when new threats emerge.

Multi-Factor Authentication

One of the ways to protect login profiles involves rendering a hacker’s automation useless. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) requires an authorized person to input their username and password. Once that has been completed, a code is sent to a separate device — usually, a cellphone — and that follow-up code must be manually typed in to open the profile. Hackers can guess your staff member’s password, but they cannot take physical control over the secondary device.

These and a wide range of other strategies are available to small and mid-sized companies. They are considered cost-effective and significantly harden cybersecurity defenses. Just because you may not have the deep pockets of large corporations doesn’t mean you cannot adequately defend your business. By partnering with Sedulous and employing these and other solutions, hackers will run into a brick wall and look for the low-hanging fruit elsewhere. Our team ofcybersecurity engineers can help maintain your reputation while keeping customers’ data secure. Contact our team today toschedule a consultationto discuss the best cybersecurity solution for your business.

What Does CMMC Implementation Mean for Small Businesses?

The federal government engaged in some second-guessing of its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification rollout and appeared on the brink of issuing a scaled-down 2.0 version. However, after years of hearing about the mandate, business leaders in the military-industrial base still ask who needs CMMC certification and why? And, what does CMMC implementation mean for small businesses? Those are valid questions, particularly for small businesses that do not necessarily bid on the most lucrative Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. What’s interesting from the defense department’s perspective is that the mandated level of cybersecurity required to work in the military supply chain is not necessarily determined by the size of the deal. Instead, the value of the information an outfit stores or transmits the DoD needs to protect. Sedulous’ team of cybersecurity experts stays updated on the CMMC changes and what this means for small businesses.

Who Needs CMMC Certification?

When the Pentagon began rolling out the first version, the lines regarding CMMC certification were clearly defined in the five levels of cyber hygiene. CMMC 2.0 reduces the groups to three, and businesses will likely require an assessment to know whether they store or transmit either of the following types of essential data.

• Federal Contract Information (FCI): “Information, not intended for public release, that is provided by or generated for the Government under a contract to develop or deliver a product or service to the Government, but not including information provided by the Government to the public (such as on public websites) or simple transactional information, such as necessary to process payments.”

• Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI): “Information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls pursuant to and consistent with applicable law, regulations, and government-wide policies but is not classified under Executive Order 13526 or the Atomic Energy Act, as amended.”

If you work in the defense supply chain at any level, it’s entirely likely your organization handles FCI or CUI in some fashion. That means appropriate cyber hygiene efforts are required to meet CMMC standards. Business leaders should consider hiring Sedulous, an experienced team of professionals with cybersecurity and CMMC expertise, to thoroughly review the entire network’s defenses. Then, after identifying a network’s vulnerabilities, Sedulous will create a plan to strengthen, meet, and then implement the CMMC mandates.

Why Do Small Businesses Need CMMC Certification?

Many small business owners are also homeowners who are required to buy insurance. The relationship between your company and the Pentagon can be pretty similar. For instance, the DoD mandates that businesses in the supply chain gain CMMC certification. In many ways, this echoes the homeowners’ insurance that lenders require — to protect their interests.

Banks require homeowners insurance to protect the mortgage they wrote.

Similarly, The Pentagon mandates CMMC certification to protect national security. Although home and small business owners’ interests may be secondary, there’s a great deal to gain by meeting theCMMC requirements. Here are three benefits that small businesses enjoy from adopting CMMC:

• Gain a risk management approach that minimizes threats from well-funded enemy-state threats and garden variety hackers alike.

• Improve cyber hygiene to deter hackers from stealing valuable military information and sensitive financial information that could be sold on the dark web.

• Develop a strategic cybersecurity readiness protocol that secures digital assets and insulates the organization from ransomware exploitation.

Although the DoD may be trying to protect its national security interests, the benefits to a small business are tangible. Studies indicate small businesses rank as hackers’ primary target, representing 4%of all successful cyberattacks. When mid-sized organizations are added to the statistics, that figure increases to 85%.

Hackers, driven by financial theft, prefer to go after mom-and-pop operations and mid-sized companies because they typically under-invest in cybersecurity. Weak cyber hygiene makes small and mid-level companies the low-hanging fruit cybercriminals are eager to pluck. By conducting an audit and establishing CMMC-level cybersecurity measures, Sedulous would serve outfits in the military-industrial base well. The Pentagon wants to protect the country, but CMMC also deters common online thieves from leveraging bank accounts, learning Social Security numbers, and stealing valuable personal identity information.

Sedulous Delivers Trusted Cybersecurity and CMMC 2.0 Certification

Preparing for and ultimately implementing the CMMC 2.0 standard allows small and mid-sized businesses to participate in lucrative DoD contracts and supply chain activities. Beyond increasing profits, the measures help companies establish a determined cybersecurity culture across sectors. That mindset may prevent a data breach and the devastating losses that follow at the end of the day.

If you work in the military-industrial base or are considering bidding on a DoD contract, contact Sedulous Consulting Services. Our experienced cybersecurity engineers are ready to harden your defenses and help your company prepare for the upcoming CMMC certification.