Become eligible for a defense contract with a CMMC certification 

Become eligible for a defense contract with a CMMC certification 

End-to-end services that cater to every aspect of the Department of Defense recommendations through a dedicated team of cybersecurity and compliance experts 

NCSC Framework

Understanding CMMC Compliance

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a set of cybersecurity recommendations and best practices developed by the Department of Defense in 2019 to establish a fundamental level of cybersecurity in the DoD supply chain.  

It seeks to improve the security of all the Federal Contract Information and Controlled Unclassified Information that forms a big part of the defense contracts with its vendors.  CUI comprises all the information that may relate to important information on weaponry defense, ballistics, etc., and FCI is all the information relating to a contract.  

It may consist of information regarding the parties involved, terms of the contract, and other critical contract-specific information.  CMMC compliance emphasizes the need for a System Security Plan (SSP) in all the organizations subject to compliance.  

SSP offers a detailed security purview of every aspect of the IT infrastructure that deals with either storage, transmission, or processing of information.     

What does it cover? 

Here are the basic 17 controls every organization is required to have in place:  

Incident Response (IR)
Access Control (AC)
Maintenance (MA)
Security Assessment (SA)
Configuration Management (CM)
Asset Management (AM)
Risk Management (RM)
Awareness and Training (AT)
Media Protection (MP)
Audit and Accountability (AU)
System and Communication Protection (SC)
Personnel Security (PS)
Physical Protection (PE)
Recovery (RE)
System and Information Integrity (SI)
Identification and Authentication (IA)
Situational Awareness (SA)

To whom does it apply? 

It applies to all the organizations that are in the Defense Industrial Database. The database has more than 300,000 contractors globally who offer their goods and services to the Department of Defense. Both contractors and subcontractors are subject to compliance.   

What are the different levels in CMMC? 

CMMC has categorized organizations into three levels with specific controls for each level. These controls are based on NIST 800 171, and every organization will be audited periodically against the recommendations and controls specified for each level. The most recent CMMC 2.0 has a three-tier model classifying organizations from Foundational (level 1) to Expert (level 3).   

Level 1: Foundational
Organizations falling under this level will be assessed against the 17 controls in NIST 800-171. These are general security controls for a basic level of cybersecurity. These controls are focused on limiting user access to FCI and apply to all the organizations that store, process, control, transmit, or handle FCI in any way.
Level 2: Advanced
Organizations in level 2 are required to implement 110 controls in NIST 800-171. These controls are categorized across 14 domains and apply to all the organizations handling CUI. They are assessed periodically (every three years) based on self-assessment and a 3rd party assessment. Information security controls are critically important because the nation’s security depends on it.
Level 3: Expert
Organizations that handle CUI fall under this level. They are required to implement 110+ controls specified in the NIS 8SP 800 171 and NIS 8SP 800 172, based on which they are assessed every three years.

The consequences of non-compliance

CMMC has not mentioned any monetary penalty for non-compliance with the guidelines. The DoD has, however, specified that if any organization part of the Defense Industrial Base. Contractors doesn’t adhere to the regulations will be barred from engaging in contracts with DoD.   

Challenges for CMMC compliance 

The following are some of the business challenges faced by organizations subjected to CMMC compliance: 

Limited team for addressing compliance gaps

Businesses often don’t have a team that helps them to address their cybersecurity and compliance challenges. They are unable to keep up with compliances, often facing the consequences of non-compliance due to the constantly changing compliance environment.

Lack of information security program

CMMC emphasizes the information security of all the CUI and FCI information. Many organizations don’t have a comprehensive information security program in place, making it highly challenging to implement all the recommendations in the CMMC compliance.

Challenge identifying and locating CUI

Organizations can have large information assets making it challenging to locate, identify, and categorize all the CUI leading to the implementation of blanket controls for securing all the CUI that may lead to unnecessary cost and loss of time in the compliance management process.

System Security Plan does not cover the CMMC entirely

Organizations may have an SSP in place, but it would not cover the scope of CMMC entirely, leading to gaps in compliance. If left unchecked, it could lead to non-compliance.

Compliance not prioritized

Compliance is often not a priority for many organizations leading to limited budget, lack of a team for managing compliance, and many other challenges that could

SharkStriker Approach 

Our approach encompasses the following steps: 

  • 01
    Risk Assessment
    We identify risks across the IT infrastructure engaging in Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration testing using real-world attack techniques. Post assessment, we prepare a detailed report categorizing all the risks as per their severity.
  • 02
    Gap assessment
    The next thing we do is to identify the compliance gaps across the IT infrastructure. We recommend measures to address those gaps.
  • 03
    Risk Treatment plan
    Based on the assessment of gaps across the IT infrastructure we prepare a detailed plan comprising all the measures, security controls, rules, procedures, expertise, and technology to address all the cybersecurity and compliance gaps across the IT infrastructure.
  • 04
    It is the most critical step in the compliance management process where we implement the risk treatment plan with the right set of technology, resources, and human expertise.
  • 05
    Post implementation audit
    To address the errors in implementation (if any), we conduct a post-implementation audit. If any errors are found, we take measures to address those errors.
  • 06
    Training and awareness
    To mitigate the gaps in compliance and cybersecurity awareness, we conduct an awareness assessment across the organization, and upon identification of awareness gaps, we prepare a comprehensive training and awareness program to bridge the gaps in awareness.

Benefits of CMMC compliance

There are some business benefits of implementing the recommendations in CMMC compliance. These benefits include:

Increases business opportunities
Being CMMC compliant automatically makes an organization eligible to become a Department of Defense contractor. Therefore, it helps increase the opportunities of doing business with the DoD.
Prepares the posture for evolving threat landscape
It provides some of the best practices in the industry for securing all the CUI and FCI and assists organizations in proactively managing risks across their IT infrastructure. It empowers them to improve their cyber resilience.
Helps in adhering to global standards
By implementing some of the best practices in information security, organizations also adhere to many recommendations by global standards for data protection and information security assisting them to be compliant with global standards.
Assists with incident response planning
It provides a comprehensive set of controls and measures for incident response that organizations must implement to secure their sensitive information assets and control damage in cyber-attacks.
Reduces the cost of compliance assessment
CMMC requires organizations to self-assess, assisting them to save costs significantly on compliance assessments that can be expensive.

How does SharkStriker help with CMMC compliance?

SharkStriker takes a holistic approach to compliance management. Through a dedicated team, it assists organizations to seamlessly address compliance gaps, guiding them at each step in their CMMC compliance journey. The following is the approach adopted by SharkStriker to assist businesses in achieving their CMMC compliance goals.  

Implement best practices for securing financial information with SharkStriker’s compliance management services for DORA