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.


What is CMMC? What Defense Contractors Must Know.

In an effort to protect national security, the federal government moved to bring military contractors and businesses in the supply chain under a single cybersecurity standard. Known as the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), the Department of Defense (DoD) merged the best protocols to further this goal.


The DoD had repeatedly attempted to minimize the risks posed by nation states and advanced persistent threats. In 2016, the DoD put forward the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement. This litany of cybersecurity measures was designed to prompt direct military contractors and small businesses to adopt defensive postures and protect Controlled Unclassified Information, also known as CUI. The mandate involved compliance with the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171. However, too many organizations failed to comply and hackers routinely pilfered off valuable CUI.


As threat actors continued to penetrate networks within the military-industrial base, it was apparent that self-assessments failed and a single standard was critical. In 2019, CMMC 1.0 was launched during the Trump Administration which called for third-party CMMC assessments within a five-tier system. The rollout stalled as the Biden Administration sought changes. Now, CMMC 2.0 is coming into view and small and mid-sized businesses that generate profits from DoD contracts or the military supply chain are tasked with preparing.

What Does CMMC 2.0 Involve?

The newly-minted CMMC 2.0 reduces the number of cyber hygiene tiers from five to three. Each level calls for businesses to demonstrate compliance based on the level of CUI they store or transmit that matches the appropriate CMMC 2.0 tier. These include the following.

• Level 1 (Foundational): Companies that manage Federal Contract Information must bring their cybersecurity defenses in line with 17 basic protocols outlined in NIST 800-171. This information is not necessarily considered sensitive to national security. Under CMMC 2.0, small and mid-sized businesses will be allowed to conduct an in-house assessment and submit the findings to the Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS) for review on an annual basis. Failure to submit the data or meet Level 1 CMMC compliance could sideline an organization.

• Level 2 (Advanced): Operations that manage CUI must bring their cyber hygiene into compliance with the first 17 NIST practices as well as 93 others. Although complicated and quite rigorous, the DoD plans to allow some businesses to conduct in-house assessments and submit their findings to the SPRS annually. Other companies that house or transmit more sensitive CUI will be required to undergo a CMMC assessment conducted by a Third Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO) every three years.

• Level 3 (Expert): Military contractors and organizations tasked with protecting highly sensitive CUI must meet the rigorous standards of Level 3. This entails complying with 110 NIST 800-171 controls. Additional measures are expected to be issued by the DoD and independent assessment will be mandated.

Small and mid-sized businesses are the most likely to experience challenges navigating the CMMC 2.0 expectations. Understanding the difference between CMMC Level 2 and 3 can prove complicated. Even if business professionals recognize they require Level 2 cyber hygiene, resolving the question of in-house or a Third Party Assessment Organization (3PAOs) assessment has significant ramifications.

Does Your Business Need To Comply with CMMC 2.0?

It’s essential businesses that derive benefits from the military supply chain take appropriate measures as soon as possible to harden their network defenses. Although the final CMMC 2.0 guidelines are still in the works, an expectation exists that contractors meet NIST 800-171 standards and conduct assessments. That means working with an experienced cybersecurity firm to ensure your operation does not suffer a breach by a foreign threat actor.

Depending on the type of CUI your operation stores and transmits, a NIST 800-171 Basic Assessment and score reporting may currently be necessary. The penalty for failing to meet these national security mandates typically includes high fines and suspension from bidding or working on military contracts. So, the short answer is: Yes. Your business needs to remain in compliance with DoD standards while the final CMMC 2.0 regulations are being completed.

How To Prepare for CMMC 2.0

A timeline published by the DoD indicates its rulemaking could conclude as soon as August 22 or at least by November 2023. When the CMMC 2.0 mandate drops, businesses should anticipate companies rushing to enlist the help of cybersecurity experts and Third Party Assessment Organizations. Getting caught in a bottleneck could impede our ability to bid on lucrative DoD contracts or participate as a subcontractor.

The critical point is that waiting could cost your business time and money. But by enlisting the help of a cybersecurity firm now, the following proactive measures can be taken to ensure you meet the CMMC 2.0 requirements.

  • Assess Information Security: Have a third-party conduct a thorough review of your cybersecurity practices. Identifying security weaknesses now allows you time to close them and meet the standards.
  • Identify Your CMMC Level: Understanding the sometimes subtle differences between CUI and sensitive CUI requires in-depth knowledge. Consider having a detailed analysis conducted that identifies precisely the CUI you store or transmit and the requirements under CMMC 2.0.
  • Implement Pen Testing: Penetration testing involves an outside entity probing your network for vulnerabilities. The process mirror that of a sophisticated hacker or advanced persistent threat working for a rival nation. Once an ethical hacker has completed the process, business leaders receive a detailed report. This serves as a roadmap to close cybersecurity gaps and harden your defenses.

It’s important to work with a reputable Third Party Assessment Organization that also communicates effectively. The CMMC 2.0 regulations can be highly technical and complicated. Business leaders outside the managed IT and cybersecurity sector needs a liaison who takes that burden off their shoulders. For additional information on how to prepare for CMMC 2.0 – read this previous article.

Contact Sedulous Consulting Services For CMMC 2.0 Planning

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 businesses of all sizes 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.

3 Ways to Prepare for the CMMC

To harden our national security, the Department of Defense (DoD) launched the rule-making phase of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0 on November 17, 2021. Reports indicated that a final set of mandated rules would take 9-14 months to complete and that date is quickly approaching. 

As the month’s pass, an increased number of industry leaders are asking how to prepare for CMMC 2.0. Of course, the answer depends on your position in the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) and the level of cybersecurity it warrants. For example, suppose you are a military contractor or benefit from lucrative government supply chain contracts. In that case, it’s crucial to take proactive measures to have your cybersecurity vetted by a qualified Certified Third-Party Organization (C3PAO).

Who Needs To Be CMMC 2.0 Compliant?

The first incarnation of CMMC was set aside because it placed a heavy burden on companies that handled only peripheral military supply chain services. CMMC was built on the idea organizations would meet stringent guidelines based on five cybersecurity levels. The CMMC 2.0 update streamlines the cyber-hygiene levels from five down to three. It also takes a more flexible approach to meeting the federal standards to remain in the military supply chain.

A panel of CMMC 2.0 experts reportedly said everyone would need to be certified. But how to prepare for CMMC 2.0 and how an organization proves its readiness may differ significantly. These are recommendations and information put forward by the ABA Section of Public Contract Law’s Committee on Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Protection regarding CMMC 2.0.

  • Panelists noted that cybersecurity threats are escalating and present a persistent threat to contractors and encouraged contractors to take action now.
  • The panelists highlighted that despite streamlining and implementation changes, the basic practices required under CMMC have not changed from version 1.0 to version 2.0.
  • All members of the DIB will have to certify, and the only difference is who is doing the certification.
  • In addition to the triennial certification requirement, CMMC 2.0 will require all contractors to make an “affirmation” of compliance annually.
  • The Department of Justice’s Cyber Fraud Initiative will heighten the risk of liability for non-compliance under the False Claims Act.
  • DoD is considering incentives to encourage early certification, which include providing a 4-year expiration of certification rather than a 3-year certification for early adopters.

The experts appeared optimistic that qualified third-party assessors would fill the growing need for certification and compliance. However, the panel members also urged companies to take proactive measures to prepare for CMMC 2.0 and that those who do would more efficiently and cost-effectively navigate the mandate.

How To Prepare For CMMC 2.0

Initial assessments by C3PAOs are slated to begin over the summer months. Contractors must have no more than one year to pass a formal assessment. Failing to gain certification could result in being sidelined and losing revenue from DoD and other federal contracts.

Some were optimistic that more than enough firms with expertise in cybersecurity — specifically CMMC 2.0 — would step forward. Unfortunately, such has not necessarily been the case. Those who procrastinate enlisting a C3PAO could find themselves in a supply-and-demand logjam similar to America’s backlogged container ports. The following are good starting points on how to prepare for CMMC 2.0.

• Identify Your CMMC 2.0 Level: Review the CMMC 2.0 documentation materials and decide which cyber-hygiene level applies to your company. Each of the three levels tasks an operation with meeting best practices, aka “controls,” from the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171. CMMC 2.0 Level one requires an organization to meet 17 controls. Level 3 calls for 110 controls based on NIST 800-171 and yet-to-be-disclosed NIST 800-172 items.

• Follow The Cyber AB: Previously known as the Accreditation Body, the group publishes essential information about critical dates and next steps. It also warns DIB contractors, “the process of accreditation is rigorous. It culminates with an assessment conducted by a team of experienced and qualified professionals to affirm the standards are satisfied.”

• Work With A Cybersecurity Firm: The best way to prepare for CMMC 2.0 is to work with an experienced cybersecurity firm that has already earned C3PAO status. A third-party cybersecurity organization can start preparing your network, end-user devices, data storage security, and transmission methods and educate key stakeholders about the best practices that will be required.

By preparing today for the rollout, you won’t get caught in a backlog of DIB contractors trying to maintain their contracts.

Contact An Experienced Cybersecurity Firm For CMMC 2.0 Compliance

Once the rollout of the DoD cybersecurity mandate begins, the clock starts ticking. Organizations in the DIB are likely to rush and hire a firm to identify their cyber-hygiene level, make necessary upgrades, educate the workforce, and schedule a certification assessment.

Rather than delay, Sedulous Consulting Services knows how to prepare for CMMC 2.0 because we’re an accredited C3PAO assessment firm and cybersecurity experts. Contact Sedulous Consulting Services today.

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.