What Does CMMC Implementation Mean for Small Businesses?

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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.