Who Needs A Gap Assessment To Earn CMMC Certification?

More than 300,000 organizations that do business in the military-industrial base must implement heightened cybersecurity safeguards in compliance with newly-minted federal regulations.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has mandated that companies handling varying levels of information must harden their defensive posture to meet the guidelines established by the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification 2.0, known as CMMC 2.0. Impacted enterprises range from direct DoD contractors to subcontractors, and even small and mid-sized outfits that handle deliveries and basic services are required to earn CMMC certification.

The challenges ahead for business professionals outside the managed IT, and cybersecurity sector will likely require the support of a CMMC Third Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO). The two critical issues facing businesses involve determining which of the three CMMC certification levels apply to their organization and scheduling a gap assessment to identify cybersecurity weaknesses.

What Sensitive DoD Information Must Be Protected?

American business leaders need to understand that garden variety hackers and advanced persistent threats funded by rival nations are dangerous to national security. But, unfortunately, some mom-and-pop operations may believe they are relatively inconsequential. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

The cybercriminals funded by rogue countries, such as Iran, Russia, and China, are determined and patient. They are not uncommon to target military supply chain companies and steal invoices, locations, and electronic messages. This data may be used in conjunction with other stolen information to conclude America’s defensive strategies. The following are the types of data the DoD has deemed necessary to protect against prying foreign eyes.

  • Controlled Unclassified Information: Commonly referred to as CUI, this entails information created or controlled by the government. Although not considered secret, per se, it can be used as a piece of the national security puzzle. Examples include personal identity records, proprietary business information, and communication for official use only.
  • Federal Contract Information: Generally called FCI by industry insiders, this information is linked to government contracts. It defines how a business creates or supplies products to the federal government. In other cases, it outlines a service or payment process that is not necessarily disclosed to the public.

When America’s enemies gain access to this information, it can be used like breadcrumbs, leading to highly classified plans and processes. Every business leader’s patriotic duty is to protect the men and women who serve in the military and ensure domestic tranquility. Gaining CMMC certification is effectively doing your part.

What are the CMMC Certification Levels?

An organization’s level of compliance is dictated mainly by the type of information it stores and transmits. This facet of CMMC certification can prove elusive to some business leaders who might assume cybersecurity involves a relationship with the DoD. That is not the case because a seemingly small business could handle sensitive CUI or FCI requiring advanced protections. These are the three levels of CMMC certification.

  • Level 1 (Foundational): The DoD requires basic cyber hygiene based on implementing 17 defensive practices. Foundational cybersecurity focuses primarily on the storage or transmission of FCI.
  • Level 2 (Advanced): Designed to protect CUI, the DoD requires companies to implement and maintain 110 security controls. These are aligned with the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication on cybersecurity or NIST SP 800-171. Significant differences persist for outfits that fall into the Advanced category regarding CMMC certification requirements.
  • Level 3 (Expert): The CUI housed and transmitted from organizations tasked with Expert-level CMMC certification are considered high-value targets. Sophisticated hackers, backed by enemy states, work tirelessly to breach these networks. Achieving CMMC certification calls for 13410 NIST SP 800-171 controls and NIST SP 800-172 requirements.

Determining which CMMC certification level an enterprise is mandated to meet typically requires an assessment of CUI or FCI by a C3PAO. Once that has been established, a deep penetration into the organization’s cybersecurity capabilities is needed to identify weaknesses and close gaps.

A Cybersecurity Gap Assessment Can Help Achieve CMMC Certification

A cybersecurity gap assessment aims to identify exploitable weaknesses and craft a plan to secure your assets with best-practice mitigation or remediation mechanisms. This process is widely used by small, mid-sized, and large corporations to protect sensitive and valuable digital assets from theft. However, a gap assessment can also highlight subpar practices that invite hackers to target companies with malicious software, particularly ransomware. In terms of achieving CMMC certification, the following gap assessment steps prove invaluable.

  • Evaluate network security in light of CMMC protocols
  • Evaluate best practices by staff members and network users
  • Gather data regarding information and cybersecurity controls
  • Analyze the findings to determine inherent weakness

Business leaders receive a detailed gap assessment report that highlights cybersecurity deficiencies and a Remediation & Mitigation Strategy. Regarding achieving CMMC certification, the information speaks directly to the vulnerabilities that would otherwise disqualify an operation from working within the military-industrial base. Fortunately, gaps in cybersecurity are correctable and can be closed before a CMMC review.

Sedulous Provides Gap Assessments to Achieve CMMC Certification

The need to meet the CMMC 2.0 mandate has taken on a sense of urgency. Businesses must comply to avoid being sidelined and losing otherwise lucrative DoD work. Sedulous Consulting Services is a trusted and vetted authorized C3PAO candidate, and our experienced cybersecurity professionals perform gap assessments tailored to your business. 

If you need to earn CMMC certification, contact Sedulous Consulting Services today.

Top 3 CMMC 2.0 Challenges & How to Achieve Compliance

Identifying the Top 3 CMMC 2.0 Challenges

The Pentagon plans to publish a cybersecurity rule during the first quarter of 2023 that will quickly be inserted into military supply chain contracts. Once the deadline passes, organizations that benefit from lucrative U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contracts and subcontracts could be sidelined. Unfortunately, that means time is of the essence in terms of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC 2.0) compliance. Inevitably, there will be some things that are confusing with the CMMC 2.0 release, so to prepare we’ve outlined the Top 3 CMMC 2.0 Challenges. 

Small, mid-sized, and large companies working in the military-industrial base can anticipate some headwinds in meeting the standards set under CMMC 2.0. The federal government has upped the ante, so to speak, because foreign hackers have managed to penetrate systems with the most determined cybersecurity defenses. For example, a Russian-backed hacking group infiltrated the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2020 through would many consider a backdoor.

Sophisticated and well-funded by rogue nations, hackers work tirelessly to identify vulnerabilities in the military supply chain. By piecing together sensitive data, or planting malicious software, America’s national security policies and procedures can be exploited. That’s why CMMC 2.0 is being implemented, and everyone needs to harden their cybersecurity posture. Organizations that have yet to onboard a CMMC Third Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO) can anticipate challenges resulting from the following.

1: Delaying A CMMC 2.0 Assessment

One of the most significant challenges organizations face is mainly self-inflicted. The notion that the DoD plans to release its rulemaking early in 2023 gives a handful of business leaders a false sense they have plenty of time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s important to understand that some networks require only minor enhancements to achieve CMMC 2.0 compliance. A C3PAO could very quickly vet the system and identify easily correctable vulnerabilities. By that same token, companies tasked with meeting the stringent guidelines outlined in Level 2 and Level 3 of the model could require significant upgrades and a cybersecurity policy that meets DoD standards. Implementation could take months, and staff members may need cybersecurity awareness training.

More business professionals need to realize that a limited number of C3PAOs are available to perform assessments, make recommendations, and help the in-house IT team adjust. As the CMMC 2.0 standards in contracts grow closer, waiting lists are expected, and some companies will miss the deadline. If your organization hasn’t undergone a rigorous cybersecurity assessment, consider yourself tardy.

2: Thinking About CMMC 2.0 Challenges As A Checklist

The federal government continues to change and enhance wide-reaching regulations so often that private-sector people feel they are a nuisance. It’s difficult to disagree with that experience, given CMMC 2.0 comes on the heels of the initial CMMC 1.0 getting scuttled before it was even implemented. It may be human nature to grow weary of changing regulations but treating CMMC 2.0 as a type of checklist will likely lead to failed compliance. Instead, consider what each cyber hygiene level involves.

  • Level 1: This basic cyber hygiene level tasks businesses with implementing 17 controls to protect Federal Contract Information (FCI).
  • Level 2: This advanced cyber hygiene protocol requires organizations to implement and maintain 110 cybersecurity controls to prevent the theft of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). These controls were developed by the National Institute of Technology and Standards (NIST).
  • Level 3: Considered expert cybersecurity, companies must meet 110 NIST controls and a subset of enhanced protections. These are subject to regularly scheduled audits by a certified third-party assessment firm.

Despite what some might consider bureaucratic clumsiness, cybersecurity mandates such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the 2002 Homeland Security Act protect everyday people from hackers stealing valuable and sensitive digital information. The rollout of CMMC 2.0 will provide enhanced security for the men and women in the armed forces, as well as everyday civilians.

Few operations can update antivirus software and check the proverbial box for the DoD. The CMMC 2.0 mandate requires regular reviews, recertification, and changes are likely to continue.

‍3: Not Having A Comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy For CMMC 2.0

To remain in the DoD supply chain, wide-reaching organizations need a System Security Plan (SSP) that meets NIST guidelines. An SSP goes much further than hardening a network’s cybersecurity measures. Instead, it looks at how CMMC-related defenses are implemented and their effect on other systems in their orbit. The basic concept is that a hacker could spend a great deal of time and energy targeting a seemingly peripheral small business because its syncs with a bigger national security fish that houses useful CUI or FCI.

Businesses can expect that CMMC 2.0 auditors will deeply dive into a business’s written SSP and compare it to actual best practices. To say more than a few small and mid-sized companies do not have an up-to-date and fully functioning SSP would be something of an understatement. That’s why SSP development and implementation are significant challenges to meeting the fast-approaching CMMC 2.0 mandate.

Prepare for the CMMC 2.0 Deadline by Scheduling a Gap Assessment

Executing a gap assessment is a crucial step in achieving CMMC 2.0 compliance. This process involves collecting wide-reaching security data regarding your current security posture. Once this data is gathered, an experienced C3PAO firm analyzes every facet of your cybersecurity. Business leaders receive a report and expert advice about curing vulnerabilities and how to mitigate or remediate them. This step can position you for CMMC 2.0 compliance and avoid being sidelined.

Sedulous Consulting Services is an approved  C3PAO candidate and managed IT/Cybersecurity firm. Our dedicated and experienced team members can comprehensively conduct a gap assessment and help your business overcome any CMMC 2.0 challenges ahead. Contact Sedulous Consulting Services today.

How To Prevent Cyberattacks During the Holidays

Cybercriminals relentlessly try to breach business systems and steal sensitive and valuable information. Not only do hackers not take the holidays off, but these digital thieves also take advantage of increased online activity and everyday people letting their guard down. So how can businesses prevent cyberattacks during the holidays? 

In terms of situational attacks, cybercrime skyrocketed by upwards of 600 percent during the pandemic as hackers exploited fear and companies shifted to remote workforces. These are other troubling statistics involving data breaches and digital theft.

  • Approximately 42 percent of all data breaches involve small or mid-sized businesses.
  • Hackers are able to penetrate 93 percent of all business networks.
  • Weekly business data breach attempts increased by 50 percent in 2021.
  • The most targeted industries included healthcare, the military, and communications.

When including major corporations, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 hovered at $4.24 million. Before 2022 closes, that estimate will likely exceed $4.35 million. With that kind of money at stake, hackers will not be taking the holidays off.

Common Hacking Schemes Used During the Holidays

Online thieves typically change their techniques to maximize data breach success rates. During the pandemic, hackers trolled out disgraceful email scams tricking recipients into believing a loved one was hospitalized and needed money to start treatment. That shows just how low these nefarious individuals will sink. They are more than willing to exploit the holidays to steal your digital assets. These rank among the commonly deployed schemes during the holidays.

  • Phony Shipping Alerts: Packages making their way through the delivery system often involve a tracking component. Cyber-thieves targeting businesses are well aware professionals check these emails and text messages from the same devices they use for work. One of the high-percent tricks involves prompting someone to click on a fake tracking link. That’s when malware automatically downloads into the business network, giving criminals access to digital assets.
  • Fake Invoices: Along with phony tracking alerts, hackers now send seemingly digital invoices that consumers are inclined to save on a device. It’s basically the same scheme as fake shipping alerts, but the malicious application is embedded in the PDF. Hackers can activate it, at will, and steamroll a business network.
  • Unauthorized Transactions: Personal and business accounts are more vulnerable during the run-up to the holidays because purchases are made more frequently. End-of-year business gifts to colleagues, employees, and charitable donations can result in financial confusion sometimes left to clean up after the holidays. Hackers are quick to swipe credit card and bank account numbers of platforms that are not necessarily secure.

Although the number of data breaches increases year-over-year, that doesn’t mean business leaders cannot avoid theft. Hackers bank on the fact that a high percentage of small, mid-sized, and even large corporations have persistent vulnerabilities. By hardening your defenses and educating staff members about hacking schemes, digital bandits are more likely to pass over your network and find an easier mark.

How to Prevent Cyberattacks During the Holidays

It’s essential to maintain a robust cybersecurity posture during the entire year. Digital thieves make a living stealing business and personal information and selling it on the Dark Web. During the holidays and other periods when people change behaviors, cybercriminals reach into their situational bag of tricks to improve their odds. The following measures can help stop hackers before they breach your business network.

  • Cybersecurity Awareness: The overwhelming majority of hacks are related to human error. Some employees click on a malicious link or provide their login credentials, and the system gets breached. Many of the hacking schemes deployed during the holidays can be easily recognized by providing staff members with ongoing cybersecurity awareness training. Instead of clicking on that link, they’ll delete the electronic message.
  • Password Protections: Most of us have multiple online accounts that require usernames and passwords. The habit of using simple, easy-to-remember combinations makes our personal and professional data vulnerable. By following through with a policy of changing passwords and requiring complex ones are used, the entire company is safer.
  • Multifactor Authentication: This ranks among the simplest and most effective ways to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting employee login credentials. When someone goes to access the business network, a code is sent to a secondary device. That code must be entered before the person can proceed. Even if a hacker learns a username and password, they are highly unlikely to possess that second device.
  • Zero-Trust Credentials: This cybersecurity strategy involves limiting each user’s bandwidth. Each profile is analyzed to allow only access to the data they need to complete tasks. Should a hacker use the team member’s credentials, their access is similarly restricted.

Perhaps the best way to prevent a data breach during the holidays is to build a culture around cybersecurity. Every decision-maker and frontline employee has a stake in the organization’s success. That makes preventing data breaches everybody’s business.

Contact Sedulous Consulting Services for Determined Cybersecurity

Based in Triangle, Virginia, Sedulous Consulting Services works with small and mid-sized businesses to assess their cybersecurity vulnerabilities, secure network defenses, and prevent data breaches. If you’re concerned about potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities, contact Sedulous Consulting Services.

CMMC 2.0 vs CMMC 1.0 - Sedulous Cybersecurity

CMMC 2.0 Timeline: When Will it be Required

Business professionals in the military-industrial base have been inquiring about the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) for upwards of two years and now is the time to act with urgency.

The federal government decided to pull back the initial CMMC plan, revise it, and develop CMMC 2.0. Like a dark cloud hanging over the contractors and subcontractors, organizations that tap into the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) revenue stream have been eager to comply. That’s one of the reasons Sedulous Consulting Services was among the first 100 organizations to qualify as a Third-Party Assessment Organization.

Although DoD contractors, supply chain outfits, and managed IT cybersecurity firms have all been stuck in a holding pattern, it appears the DoD is ready to move forward with the long-anticipated CMMC 2.0. The newly minted cybersecurity mandate will task companies with building out technological infrastructure, educating employees about best practices, and maintaining different types of certification.

The goal is to prevent garden variety hackers and advance persistent threats, funded by rival nations, from acquiring Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) for the purposes of breaching our national security. Organizations that are unprepared or fail to meet the stringent regulatory requirements can expect to find themselves outside the industry, losing profit-driving contracts and subcontracting work.

What Businesses Need to Know About CMMC 2.0 Timeline

The initial CMMC version was put forward in January 2020 and was met with complaints regarding costs, complexity, and confusion regarding assessments and compliance. Small businesses found the mandate particularly challenging because it was difficult for those outside the managed IT cybersecurity industry to determine which level was applicable and how to implement the required controls.

The imminent CMMC 2.0 streamlines the guidelines from five levels to three. But, in all honesty, there are baked-in items that small and mid-sized operations may find frustrating. However, the mandate is here to stay, and your company will be required to meet one of the following three CMMC 2.0 levels.

  • Level 1: The federal government calls this the “Foundational” level and it pertains to companies that store or transmit Federal Contract Information (FCI). Generally applicable to suppliers and service providers, businesses will be required to meet 15 controls. Companies will need to have a cybersecurity assessment conducted annually and file the results for review.
  • Level 2: This “Advanced” cybersecurity standard calls for implementing and maintaining upwards of 110 controls. The advanced cybersecurity directive has been something of a pain point for small and mid-sized organizations. That’s because it treats companies differ in terms of enlisting a Third-Party Assessment Organization, internal reviews, or a combination of both. If there’s a space where companies get tripped up and lose government-driven revenue, this may very well be it. We advise businesses to err on the side of caution, contact a Third-Party Assessment Organization, and protect their livelihood.
  • Level 3: Considered “Expert” cyber hygiene, outfits will need a Third-Party Assessment Organization to review their system, cybersecurity policies, and best practices. An objective analysis will lead to certification or inform stakeholders where deficiencies persist. There are a reported 134 necessary controls embedded in Level 3.

It’s essential to keep in mind that meeting the CMMC 2.0 timeline calls for proactive measures. There are a limited number of certified Third-Party Assessment Organizations and they will be in increasingly higher demand as the rollout moves forward. Putting off scheduling a CMMC 2.0 assessment will likely result in your company landing on a waiting list. Although not visually obvious like the 110 cargo vessels anchored off the California Coast last year or the gas lines after the Colonial Pipeline hack in May 2021, businesses can expect lengthy delays.

CMMC 2.0 Rollout Has Effectively Begun

The federal government concluded its public comment period on Sept. 15, 2022, in compliance with the CMMC Assessment Process. This opens the door to voluntarily having a Third-Party Assessment Organization certify your defenses. Although there was speculation the final CMMC 2.0 version would take up to 24 months, the National Law Review indicates it could be released as soon as the first quarter of 2023.

“If DoD sticks to this new timeline, the CMMC requirements could begin appearing in solicitations as early as May 2023 (60 days after the rules are published). DoD also announced it plans to roll out the CMMC requirements in solicitations under a ‘phased approach.’ In particular, for phase one, when the CMMC requirement first starts appearing in solicitations, all offerors will be required to conduct a self-assessment (rather than have a third-party certification) and provide a positive affirmation of compliance,” the National Law Review reports. “Then, in phase two (with timing still to be determined), solicitations will require either self-assessments or third-party certifications (depending on the type of CUI and required certification level).”

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.

 

CMMC 2.0 vs CMMC 1.0 - Sedulous Cybersecurity
CMMC 2.0 vs CMMC 1.0 - Sedulous Cybersecurity

What is CMMC 2.0 and Does it Differ from 1.0?

After decades of miscues and rival countries stealing U.S. military intelligence, the federal government effectively drew a line in the sand. The development of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) was to be the single standard that all military contractors and supply chain businesses followed. Previously CMMC 1.0 was the required certification version until CMMC 2.0 was recently announced and released. 

But changes in the Pentagon and White House resulted in revisions of the initial CMMC standards and delayed implementation. To say this has also created confusion among organizations in the military-industrial base would be something of an understatement. Proactive industry leaders were quick to have their cybersecurity defenses assessed and updated to meet what seemed like an imminent CMMC 1.0 mandate. As the rollout date for CMMC 2.0 nears, decision-makers are trying to come to grips with the differences between CMMC 1.0, and 2.0, to maintain their lucrative Department of Defense (DoD) contracts.

Why DoD Requires CMMC 2.0

To understand CMC 2.0, it’s essential to know why the federal government decided to bring wide-reaching cybersecurity regulations under one umbrella. Before the CMMC initiative, contractors and peripheral businesses were largely given the latitude to self-assess their cybersecurity compliance.

Needless to say, not everyone maintained an adequate defensive posture, and hackers funded by America’s enemies breached systems and routinely pilfered off Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). This data could be found in contracts, invoices, and electronic messages between outfits in the supply chain. Advanced persistent threats — working for countries such as Russia, Iran, and China — would piece CUI together to learn about our confidential national security defenses.

“A determined adversary with the right capabilities is going to find their way in, especially if they put all their resources to bear on it. So, it really comes down to, have you done everything you possibly can, have you been truthful about it,” Karlton Johnson, chair of the CMMC Accreditation Body board of directors, reportedly said. “One of the reasons we are doing CMMC is, people were not being truthful about it. If we go in and find out that you were not doing something, that’s negligence and we have to go that route.”

Back then, the federal government would fine or suspend negligent companies. As if adding insult to these injuries, foreign spies infiltrated the Solar Winds software used at almost every level of government as CMMC 1.0 was nearing its final stages. It was a cybersecurity and national defense nightmare.

How Does CMMC 2.0 Work?

CMMC sets a singular, unified standard that more than 300,000 organizations in the military-industrial base must follow. The CMMC 2.0 guidelines involve a three-tiered system that set cybersecurity controls for companies that fall into a particular category.

The DoD refers to the three groups as Foundational, Advanced, and Expert levels. Each adopts defensive strategies from existing policies such as NIST SP 800-171 and NIST SP 800-172 subsets, among others. It’s not necessarily important for business professionals to know the ins and outs of NIST or even CMMC 2.0 for that matter. But it’s crucial to have a cybersecurity firm with CMMC expertise test, assess, and update your network to meet the incoming mandate. Failing to gain certification or maintain a robust posture could result in your company getting sidelined.

 

What are the Key Differences Between CMMC 2.0 and 1.0?

The glaring difference between the two measures is that CMMC 1.0 was going to be rolled out with five levels. The 2.0 version reduces that number to three. Although the latest version has fewer tiers, it remains equally complex for people outside the managed IT cybersecurity niche to fully appreciate. That being said, these are the CMMC 1.0 and 2.0 levels, respectively.

CMMC 1.0 Levels

  • Level 1: Basic Cyber Hygiene that involves using most current antivirus software, firewalls, and a company-wide cybersecurity policy in place.
  • Level 2: Intermediate Cyber Hygiene that involves implementing NIST standards to protect CUI.
  • Level 3: Good Cyber Hygiene required 72 practices to be in place to earn certification. Organizations must also create a plan that demonstrates best practices and training.
  • Level 4: Proactive Cyber Hygiene typically applies to military contractors who previously followed DFARS protocols, among others. The organization must demonstrate it can identify and repel advanced persistent threats.
  • Level 5: Advanced Cyber Hygiene primarily for direct DoD contractors that requires sophisticated methods for identifying and responding to advanced persistent threats in real-time.

One of the challenges business professionals faced was determining which level applied to their company and meet that standard. Although CMMC 2.0 streamlines the tiers, it creates some confusion about certification methods.

CMMC 2.0 Levels

  • Foundation: Loosely considered the equivalent of CMMC 1.0 Level 1, businesses must adhere to 15 controls to safeguard contractor information.
  • Advanced: Organizations that store or transmit CUI must adhere to 110 controls to protect CUI. This level has been a pain point for companies because it involves different ways to maintain certification.
  • Expert: Consistent with Level 5 of CMMC 1.0, companies must be able to detect, repel, and respond to advanced persistent threats. The controls in the Advanced tier rank among the most stringent 134 cybersecurity measures.

Going forward, companies working in the military-industrial base will be required to maintain CMMC 2.0 standards and demonstrate that to the federal government. The DoD is no longer interested in doling out fines after the fact. Advanced proof of CMMC 2.0 is now the standard.

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.

CMMC 2.0 vs CMMC 1.0 - Sedulous Cybersecurity

The How-To Guide to CMMC Compliance Requirements

The long-awaited Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) has effectively arrived, and the federal government is encouraging voluntary assessments from a Third-Party Assessment Organization ahead of full implementation. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) completed a major rule-making phase on Sept. 15, which is expected to fast-track CMMC 2.0 into government contracts which that CMMC Compliance Requirements are important to understand. 

That being said, the three levels of cyber hygiene mandated by CMMC 2.0 can prove challenging for small and medium-sized businesses. The stringent regulations have companies that enjoy revenue as contractors and subcontractors implementing cybersecurity controls numbering from 15 to 134. Organizations will also face hurdles in terms of developing a policy that articulates best practices and educates employees about cybersecurity awareness.

Proactive business professionals are taking steps now to avoid getting put on waiting lists when a bottleneck of companies reaches out to comply during the eleventh hour. Sedulous Consulting Services qualified as a Third-Party Assessment Organization early in the process so that our CMMC experts could help shepherd businesses through the process. In The How-To Guide to CMMC Compliance Requirements, we provide insight and tips on CMMC 2.0 Compliance Requirements. 

What are the CMMC 2.0 Requirements?

There are different types of compliance requirements assigned to organizations based on the information they store and transmit. These typically include Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). The former poses a limited national security risk and companies that manage FCI can expect less rigorous — although complex — cyber hygiene requirements.

By contrast, CUI tends to involve a wide range, and some pose a significant threat should the data fall into the hands of a rogue nation. Determining which of the three CMMC 2.0 levels an organization must comply with remains the first hurdle. Following an assessment regarding the FCI and CUI your operation handles, the following requirements may be applicable.

  • Level 1: Considered “Basic” cyber hygiene by the DoD, companies that primarily handle FCI fall under its requirements. The level1 CMMC mandate is expected to include 15-17 security controls and 6 covering domains. The controls breakdown relates to the following: Access (4), Identification and Authentication (2), Media Protection (1), Physical Protection (4), System and Communication Protections (2), and 4System and Information Integrity (4).
  • Level 2: Touted as “Advanced” cyber hygiene, companies working with a combination of FCI and CUI can anticipate meeting 110 control and 14 domain requirements. Some rank among the most determined forms of cybersecurity, and they pertain to the following: Access Control (22), Awareness Training (3)Audit and Accountability (9), Configuration Management (9), Identification and Authentication (11), Incident Response (3) Maintenance (6), Media Protection (9), Personnel Security (2), Physical Protection (6), Risk Assessment (3), Security Assessment (4), System and Communications Protection (16), and System and Information Integrity (7).
  • Level 3: Direct military contractors and those who handle high-level CUI can expect to meet “Expert” cyber hygiene requirements. The cybersecurity of DoD contractors is expected to be hard enough to identify, deter, and repel threats from enemy nations. This will entail more than 130 defense items that include the following: Access Control (8), Asset Management (1), Audit and Accountability (7), Awareness Training (1), Configuration Management (3), Identification and Authentication (4), Incident Response (2) Maintenance (2), Media Protection (4), Personnel Security (6), Physical Protection (6), Recovery (3), Risk Assessment (3), Security Assessment (2), Situational Awareness (1), System and Communications Protection (15), and System and Information Integrity (3).

Businesses on tight IT budgets might have considered in-house assessments as a cost-effective way to comply. Given the number of cybersecurity controls and the complexity of these defenses, it may be prudent to work with a third-party cybersecurity firm with CMMC expertise.

Key Steps to Achieving CMMC Compliance Requirements

Meeting the federal mandate allows businesses to remain in the military-industrial base and generate profits from the often lucrative DoD contracts. The compliance process can be relatively seamless when performed by a CMMC professional. These are the general steps needed to meet the inbound CMMC regulations.

  • Identify Data: Review the information your organization stores or transmits and determine whether it is FCI or CUI. If it’s CUI, further analysis may be necessary to align it with one of the three cyber hygiene levels.
  • Readiness Assessment: Conduct a thorough audit of your network to identify cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Document the findings and create a plan to cure the gaps.
  • Test System: Enlist the support of a Third-Party Assessment Organization to conduct a trial run before the CMMC requirements come online. This provides an opportunity to take corrective measures and earn certification ahead of schedule.
  • Cybersecurity Plan: Updates your organization’s best practices, response strategies, and technologies required to meet CMMC demands. It’s also crucial to incorporate cybersecurity awareness training to educate frontline employees about existing and emerging threats.

The DoD has made it abundantly clear that all 300,000 businesses in the military-industrial base will meet the CMMC requirements or find themselves out of the loop. Taking proactive measures before the regulations are part of the process better positions your operation to bid on contracts and generate revenue as a subcontractor.

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 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.

 

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.