CMMC 2.0: What You Need to Know About the Latest Version
America’s Defense Industrial Base (DIB) is—like many other organizations—subjected to ceaseless cyberattacks of increasing frequency and sophistication. In order to mitigate the risk of this important data becoming compromised, the US government has established a compliance framework known as CMMC in order to fortify cybersecurity measures across all pertinent parties that deal with the DIB.
Originally announced in September of 2020, the CMMC framework has a five-year phase-in period, meaning organizations have until roughly 2026 to become compliant. In November 2021, CMMC 2.0 standards were announced as an update from the original CMMC framework. Keep reading to learn about CMMC and what these changes are to the CMMC requirements.
What is CMMC?
The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is the compliance standard for organizations that operate in America’s Defense Industrial Base (DIB), established in order to safeguard digital assets, sensitive yet unclassified information, and more across the supply chain.
CMMC’s framework is comprised of three important components:
- Tiered model: CMMC cybersecurity standards should appropriately reflect the type and sensitivity of the information being handled, increasingly strengthening as information increasingly grows in importance; this facet of the CMMC framework also outlines how data is passed on to third-party contractors.
- Assessment requirements: CMMC mandates assessments by authorized parties to confirm cybersecurity measures are in place.
- Implementation through contracts: In order for some DoD contractors to bid on DoD contracts, the bidding organizations will need to complete a corresponding level of certification as it pertains to the project.
The original CMMC 1.0 model is further broken down into the five levels of cybersecurity, which are essentially the steps to progressively increasing cybersecurity efforts:
- Level 1 Performed: As the most foundational level, this aims to protect federal contract information (FCI)
- Level 2 Documented: This is a level above the basic Level 1 CMMC standard, which serves as a middle ground between rudimentary cybersecurity efforts and slightly more advanced measures
- Level 3 Managed: Protect controlled unclassified information (CUI)
- Levels 4 Reviewed & 5 Optimized: Further safeguard CUI and take proactive efforts to reduce the risk of complex cybersecurity threats
These levels are cumulative and build upon the last as the importance and sensitivity of relevant data increases. This means that an organization must demonstrate compliance on levels 1 through 3 in order to be compliant at level 4.
Distributed among these 5 levels are 17 domains relating to cybersecurity efforts, ranging from access control and incident response to maintenance and recovery.
Why Is CMMC Compliance Important for Your Organization?
Following the CMMC framework is not only required in order to bid on certain DoD contracts and projects, but also benefits your organization in its own right.
By implementing the CMMC framework, your network, digital assets, and other important information are protected from the endless barrage of evolving threats. This compliance standard provides a road map for an operational strategy and cybersecurity response process nimble enough to defend against attacks and anticipates future threats.
Maintaining a proactive cybersecurity posture saves your organization time, money, and reputational damage. When proper security measures are implemented to protect your assets and network, the chances of a catastrophic breach or cyber attack are reduced and you can continue business without interruption.
Major hacks and virtual threats are a publicity nightmare that can result in damaged trust between you and your clients. That’s why it’s so vital that your cybersecurity stance is optimized and dynamic for the threats launched at your organization today and tomorrow.
CMMC 2.0: Updates and Takeaways
In striving for optimized cybersecurity regulations and boosted oversight, there are three main points of change implemented in CMMC 2.0:
Refined Model for Framework
Whereas CMMC 1.0 had 5 levels of cybersecurity compliance, this updated version only has 3: foundational, advanced, and expert.
- Level 1 of this refined model includes 17 practices
- Level 2 involves 110 practices and is aligned with NIST SP 800-171 standards
- Level 3 entails more than 110 practices and is parallel to NIST SP 800-172 standards
By focusing on fewer levels of cybersecurity compliance, organizations can be further streamlined in their efforts, which saves valuable resources.
CMMC 2.0 enables organizations who operate at level 1—or level 2, for some cases—to conduct self-assessments when testing for compliance. This saves smaller organizations time and money yet helps them remain competitive in the marketplace. Additionally, there is improved oversight into third-party assessments.
Flexibility in the Timeline
This update for CMMC 2.0 allows for organizations to waive CMMC standards for special, mission-critical circumstances. Waivers would only be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis.
Furthermore, under these new standards, companies can make Plans of Action & Milestones (POA&Ms) to reach compliance in a specified timeline; these POA&Ms essentially function as a placeholder for compliance, which allows organizations to still be awarded contracts with compliance requirements as they continue to implement CMMC cybersecurity measures.
Ensure Your Compliance with CMMC 2.0 Today
Security Compliance Associates offers a range of services to assess your cybersecurity controls and determine areas of improvement, which helps you maintain compliance and save time and money. By partnering with us to manage your cybersecurity posture, your internal team can address other important matters.
Contact us today at 727-571-1141 to get started. We can evaluate your organization to assess if you are following CMMC requirements and conduct a Readiness Assessment, as needed, to help you attain your desired maturity level. Take an active step in strengthening your security regulations to protect controlled unclassified information and avoid threats from cyber-attacks.