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Understanding the Aspects of CMMC Compliance

If you are a defense contractor or a business that deals in Controlled Unclassified Information, you might have come across Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. CMMC cybersecurity is one of the most advanced data security framework that has been made a mandatory requirement by the DoD. Meaning, any contractor that works directly or indirectly with the DoD must be validated by the CMMC government contracting

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model has a wide range security maturity levels that defense contractors should meet. The compliance level helps the Department of Defense determine if a contractor is qualified for the job or not. 

With the increase in cases of data breach, it has become a challenge for the DoD to ensure the safety of Controlled Unclassified Information stored with the DIB vendors. The recent data breaches have made it essential for the DoD to address cyberattacks. CMMC compliance is one such step towards ensuring the defense contractors are protected against cyberattacks.

Ever since the CMMC has rolled out, CMMC compliance has been made a mandatory requirement by the DoD. Without meeting CMMC standards, no defense contractor can bid on government jobs or get new contracts. Noncompliance with the CMMC regulations can take away your ability to bid on DoD contracts or continue the contract. 

As of now, there are over 100 provisional assessors that are getting trained to become Level 3 certified assessor. Besides this, the DoD also released the interim DFARS Vs CMMC cybersecurity rules last year. 

According to the interim rule, the defense contractor will be required to have an SSP, POAM, and Incident Response Plan. Some new provisions have been added that requires the defense contractor to self-score their assessment method. Another provision allows qualified and trained DoD auditors to score SSP IAW for a defense contractor. 

Many of you must be wondering why DoD has implemented CMMC. 

CMMC has been introduced by the DoD to serve as mechanism to ensure the defense contractors have taken appropriate measures to safeguard controlled unclassified information stored and processed within their systems. CMMC is put in place to verify whether a defense contractor has some level of data security practices. 

Every year, the DoD has to face enormous cybersecurity challenge. According to a report, the Pentagon prevents over 36 million phishing and ransomware attacks in a day. Even with all the resources, the Pentagon faced a data breach incident in 2018 in which the personal information of 30,000 employees got exposed. The information was stored in one of their third-party contractors. 

The need for a robust cybersecurity plan has been there for a long time. In 2015, when the DoD determined cybersecurity requirements in DFRAS, it required the defense contractors to comply with data security standards charted by the NIST. While the framework is effective, the implementation of the program is slow. This let the DFARS to come up with more comprehensive cybersecurity practices called the CMMC. 

The new compliance requirement ensures that a defense contractor has taken all necessary measures to protect the CUI stored in their networks. Moreover, only those contractors will be able to bid who are fully compliant. …

Understanding the Benefits of Outsourcing CMMC Compliance 

Ever since the introduction of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, the US Department of Defense contractors are looking for ways to become compliant to ensure continuity of contracts. DoD contractors can either opt to acquire CMMC cybersecurity certifications on their own or rely on a third-party service provider or CMMC consulting VA Beach

Several self-assessment handbooks offer assistance to DoD vendors and suppliers for their in-house certification initiatives.

However, when it comes to the CMMC program, one must be aware of the pitfalls when looking after the compliance requirements on their own. Every DOD contractor has to pass the third-party CMMC assessment to become certified with the DIB. If a contractor fails in the initial third-party assessment, they may lose valuable time while rectifying the mistakes. Such contractors may also experience hold-ups and delays. Businesses that count on government contracts for revenue may get adversely affected by audit delays. 

This is where a CMMC consulting agency comes into the picture. A majority of DoD contractors don’t have skills and enough IT resources to become NIST SP 800 171 or CMMC compliant. Such contractors can outsource their CMMC compliance initiative to a proficient MSP. 

Qualified and experienced managed services are equipped with IT infrastructure processes to assess IT infrastructure and look for control gaps. They can also help a business with its security plan. They also have a support team to look after the remedial activities whenever there is a need. Managed services providers have all the necessary tools required to monitor IT security, resolve control gaps, and create a detailed report. 

For a small business that relies on government contracts, building such capabilities in-house can be a challenge, both in terms of time and money. By outsourcing the compliance initiatives, they can ensure they are on the right path to compliance. Outsourcing such tasks also save them money and effort. 

When it comes to choosing a managed service provider, one should be mindful of whether the MSP is CMMC RPO or CMMC Registered Provider Organization. 

Businesses with CMMC RPO seal are the one that has been recognized as cyber-knowledgeable. They have a good understanding of how the CMMC compliance process works. 

One of the significant tasks of MSP is conducting gap analysis and readiness evaluation. 

Gap analysis and readiness examination serve as a foundational step for the DoD contractors to understand where they are lacking in meeting the CMMC cybersecurity requirements.

This assessment allows the MSP to identify IT assets and processes that are not in accordance with the NIST 800 171. 

Here are some questions you should ask when conducting a CMMC gap analysis. 

  • How do you store the data, and how is it accessed?
  • Is your IT support staff appropriately trained?
  • Do you have effective incident response plans in place?
  • Have you implemented and maintained a data security plan?

The answers to these questions will help you locate risk areas. The results will also assist you in creating and implementing an effective Remediation plan. 

Without a thorough Gap Analysis, an organization may experience challenges in identifying security risks, categorize activities, and assign a budget for CMMC compliance initiatives.…

What is a Vulnerability Management Program from the Point of View of an Auditor?

There are weaknesses in every technological ecosystem. A “Weakness in a data system, system security protocols, internal procedures, or execution that could be abused or provoked by a threat source” is one of the definitions for vulnerabilities that NIST has defined. Software developers, criminals, or security researchers may unavoidably discover bugs or weaknesses in the software and technology we employ over time.

A CVE number is given to a vulnerability once it has been made publicly known to identify it formally. The National Vulnerability Database (NVD) of NIST and MITRE both keep an up-to-date list of CVEs. Over 19,000 CVEs were monitored and maintained by NIST’s National Vulnerability Database in 2020, and over 9,000 CVEs have already been found for 2021. Undoubtedly, vulnerabilities are a concern for everyone and must be continually addressed. To address the dangers posed by vulnerabilities, DoD contractors must build an efficient vulnerability management program.

What is Vulnerability Management?

The “cycled process of finding, classifying, ranking, resolving, and eliminating” software vulnerabilities is known as vulnerability management. NIST defines vulnerability management as a data security constant monitoring capability that identifies vulnerabilities on devices that are likely to be utilized by attackers to infiltrate a gadget and use it as a foundation from which to extend penetration to the network.

Why Do You Need a Vulnerability Management Program?

How is vulnerability management different from program management if we add the term “program” at the end of vulnerability management? An expert in program management might reply as follows: A program is a collection of related initiatives and activities that are coordinated and managed within a framework that enables the delivery of outcomes and benefits. A program’s objective is to connect similar work. Anyone with vulnerability management knowledge can appreciate the significance of the idea behind this definition of “program.” Performing vulnerability management is a coordinated activity that calls for the efficient completion of numerous tasks and initiatives.

What constitutes a vulnerability management process’s four primary components?

A more prominent firm will require additional personnel and processes to guarantee that vulnerability monitoring is conducted properly and effectively. Although the number of individuals and procedures involved will vary from business to business, the following four key components should be present:

  • Inventory
  • Identification
  • Reporting
  • Prioritization
  • Response

The Importance of Creating an Inventory of IT Assets

As the proverb goes, you can’t defend what you can’t see. All forms of technology have flaws, as was already mentioned. You can’t identify the weaknesses in your technological ecosystem if you don’t know what technologies you currently use. A business must be aware of the technology used in its surroundings and keep an accurate inventory of its assets. Creating a thorough inventory of all your technological assets might be difficult for different businesses.

Due to tighter internal control regimes brought on by increased regulatory supervision, financial service and DoD companies organizations appear to have less difficulty recognizing their inventory of IT assets. Controls like disabling end users’ ability to install software or changing their endpoints’ configuration significantly limit the chances of introducing untested or unauthorized software into the ecosystem. Shadow IT hazards can also be decreased by limiting the devices connected to a network or by implementing stringent procurement procedures for hardware or cloud services.

On the other hand, software development companies appear to be at the other extreme of the spectrum. Contractors frequently use BYOD devices and have full access to the technological infrastructure. Creating an exhaustive asset inventory can be very challenging in this kind of setting.

Because resources can be set up quickly and easily in the cloud, things could become more difficult. Do you know what resources and technology your cloud environment possess? Are you aware of the cloud services that are present in your ecosystem? The most important aspect of a vulnerability management program is keeping an exhaustive inventory of all technological assets. …