There are a number of data security protocols and data management systems that you can use to prevent a breach in your organization, but the Department Of Defense is gradually rolling out a specialized system for government contractors that work with the defense industrial base. You might have already heard of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) but since it is so new and so different from any other data framework, it can be challenging for contractors to get fully understand what it is, and how they need to go about getting qualified for it.
The first thing you need to understand is that the CMMC has five tiers or five levels. Every company starts off at the lowest level and you gradually work your way up as you meet more requirements and gain credibility in your data security systems. However, not every company needs to achieve the highest level. In fact, many companies may only need to qualify for the first or second level of the CMC qualification.
This is because the difference in levels is not so much about how good a company is with its data, but rather it has to do with the nature of the data that the company handles. Level 5 companies will be handling data that requires that kind of infrastructure, while companies at level 1 may never even need to interact with that kind of information or data. It's a good idea to evaluate exactly what your business requirements are, the kind of services you are doing for the department of defense, and this will give you a better understanding of which level you should be aiming to qualify for.
More Than Just Management
It's also important to know that the CMMC is not only about how you manage data, it's also concerned with how you store, process, share and secure the data locally. This will vary depending on the level you are qualifying for however, it does require a complete and thorough inspection of your current system. In fact, many companies have even chosen to set up an entirely new wing dedicated to the CMMC system rather than having to modify their existing infrastructure. This does work out to be a lot easier and far more cost-effective for those whose system is very different than what the CMC requires.
One of the things that make CMMC compliance more challenging than any other form of data security solution is that its effects are widespread in the organization. More than the data itself, ensuring safety in accordance with CMMC standards means that the entire organization is structured in a way that promotes data security.
This is a step that can be especially challenging for larger organizations so be prepared to go back and forth with different departments and executives to get the ball rolling.
You should also know that in order to qualify for a CMMC badge, your systems will need to be audited by a third-party organization also known as a CMMC Third-Party Assessor Organization (C3PAO). However, this is a step that will come further down the line when you have the internal structure finalized.
Lastly, it’s important that you take proactive steps today and start working towards a CMMC qualification. Sooner or later it is going to be the norm, and this is a process that can take quite some time. Especially the process of evaluating your internal systems and getting them in shape to be accepted by the C3PAO can take a while. Also, keep in mind that you can’t partially qualify for a CMMC rating, you need to achieve all the milestones and be qualified in each area in order to be eligible.