The Cybersecurity Maturity Model, or CMMC, certification has been put in place by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) in order to ensure anyone contracting with them can properly secure the data they will need to do their job. This certification has gone through development since its first implementation, and starting around the end of 2021, CMMC 2.0 has been the standard companies must become certified under. If your company wants to become CMMC certified, then you should always check the latest certification version to ensure you’re ready to apply.
What is CMMC?
The DoD created and now requires CMMC certification for all of its contractors and subcontractors because working with the department requires the use of controlled unclassified information (CUI). While this information isn’t classified, it could cause harm if cybercriminals got their hands on it. CMMC 2.0 created five certification levels that divide contractors based on how strong their cybersecurity posture is and therefore what kinds of information they can be trusted with. Any company that wants to become certified will need to have their business assessed by an accreditation body to receive their level of certification.
Why get CMMC certified?
The primary reason to get certified is to become eligible to bid on and sign contracts with the DoD because without an assigned security level, a company will not be allowed to work with the government body. A company may also want to follow CMMC guidelines in order to make themselves compliant with other certifications such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) because the requirements for these compliances overlap. Being compliant also sends a strong message about a company’s cybersecurity posture and can help clients feel their data is safe or benefit a business with acquiring other contracts that require a strong cybersecurity environment.
The 5 Levels of CMMC
The levels of certification align with a company’s security posture and their overall readiness to handle the threats associated with possessing sensitive information that cybercriminals want. These cybersecurity levels include:
- Level 1 Basic: Cybersecurity posture can protect contract information.
- Level 2 Intermediate: Moving towards readiness to protect CUI.
- Level 3 Good: NIST compliant.
- Level 4 Proactive: Can protect CUI from APTs.
- Level 5 Advanced: Well developed APT protection.
Generally speaking, level 1 shows that a company can keep basic contract information safe while levels 2, 3, and 4 layout a logical path for businesses to follow towards the highest level of cybersecurity. Working with controlled unclassified information begins at level 2, and levels 4 and 5 focus on protecting against advanced persistent threats (APTs). Additionally, if a company qualified for level 3, then they have also satisfied all the requirements for NIST certification.
Becoming CMMC certified up to the highest level can be a long-term goal for a business, but it will be well worth the effort if your business aims to contract with the DoD or other government agencies. It is important to always stay up to date with your security tools when you want to become certified, and our team here at Robinett Consulting want to give you all the information and advice you need to help make that happen.