The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, or CMMC, has been a topic of conversation for a few years within the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). CMMC is a unified standard for implementing cybersecurity across the DIB, which includes over 300,000 companies in the supply chain. The CMMC is the DoD’s response to significant compromises of sensitive defense information located on contractors’ information systems. The US Department of Defense (DoD) released the much-anticipated Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) version 1.0•• on January 31, 2020. Since then, CMMC has undergone much scrutiny and discussion. Here is a timeline of CMMC:

September 2020: The CMMC program published by the DoD (now known as CMMC 1.0). This framework assesses a Defense Industrial Base (DIB) contractor’s compliance with a set of cybersecurity standards.

November 2020: A Presidential interim rule became effective, establishing a five-year phase-in period and requiring compliance with NIST 800-71 rules.

March 2021: The DoD announced an internal review of CMMC’s implementation.

November 2021: The DoD announced CMMC 2.0, and updated program and requirements designed to meet certain goals, including:

  • Protecting sensitive information to enable and protect the warfighter.
  • Dynamically enhance DIB cybersecurity to meet evolving threats.
  • Ensuring accountability while minimizing barriers to compliance with DoD requirements.
  • Contributing to a collaborative culture of cybersecurity and cyber resilience.
  • Maintaining public trust through high professional and ethical standards.

As businesses rely more on online features and networks, they become more vulnerable to cyberthreats. To protect their data and systems, companies must ensure they’re compliant with the necessary laws and regulations. NIST 800-171 compliance and DFARS 7012 compliance are two of the most important requirements for businesses in certain industries, and failure to comply can result in severe penalties.

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of cybersecurity compliance and explain what NIST 800-171 compliance and DFARS 7012 compliance entail. We’ll also outline all the questions CEOs and IT teams should ask about these compliance standards.

The Importance of Cybersecurity Compliance

Cybersecurity compliance is a set of rules and regulations designed to protect sensitive data and systems. Compliance helps ensure your business is protected from potential threats and that you remain in compliance with the law. Neglecting to comply can come at a high cost. For example, fines and other penalties can be imposed on businesses that fail to meet the requirements of their respective industry.

NIST 800-171 Compliance

NIST 800-171 (National Institute of Standards and Technology) compliance is an important requirement for any business working with the US Department of Defense. It mandates that companies implement stringent security measures to protect their data from cyberattacks. To meet this requirement, businesses must follow specific security protocols such as implementing encryption, using secure authentication methods, and regularly monitoring activity on their networks. Failing to comply with these standards could result in severe penalties or even blacklisting from participating in government contracts.

DFARS 7012 Compliance

DFARS 7012 (Defense Federal Acquisitions Regulation Supplement) compliance is another important requirement for those working with the US Department of Defense. This certification will require businesses to adhere to specific cybersecurity protocols to protect their information assets from potential cyber threats. These protocols include implementing access controls, establishing system patching processes, conducting regular vulnerability scans, and monitoring network user activities. Companies will have to pass an audit conducted by a third-party organization before being certified as compliant with DFARS 7012 standards. Failure to comply will result in being unable to do business with the DoD or other government agencies requiring DFARS 7012 certification.

Compliance Questions to Ask About NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 Regulations

Often we find that CEOs are removed from the IT department and don’t know the details of what is required. . Here is a list of must-knows for CEOs and questions they should ask their IT team or provider regarding NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 compliance:

Do We Have a System Security Plan That Provides NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 Compliance Evidence?

First and foremost, organizations need to ask whether they have a system security plan that provides NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 compliance evidence. This is a legal requirement for businesses that handle DoD-controlled unclassified information, and it is essential to building a robust cyberdefense. The plan should be tailored to the organization’s unique needs, include risk-management protocols, and be updated regularly in accordance with changing regulations. It should also include an assessment of the risks associated with data storage and processing.

Do We Have an SPRS Score That Proves Our NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 Compliance

The Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS) is an online tool used by DoD suppliers to evaluate their cybersecurity posture. A high score indicates that the organization has taken appropriate measures to protect customer data from malicious actors. In contrast, a low score means there are vulnerabilities or gaps in the company’s security ecosystem. Organizations must meet or exceed a specific SPRS score to comply with NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 standards.

What Is the Plan of Action for Failing to Meet NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 Compliance Standards?

This plan should include procedures for mitigating any identified risks quickly and efficiently and developing policies specific to different areas of the organization (such as IT). It should also cover employee training on how to comply with these standards to reduce the chance of noncompliance in the future.

Do We Have Employee Training to Ensure NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 Compliance?

Employees must understand what data is considered sensitive under NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 regulations, how it can be protected, who has access to it, and how it can be safeguarded from malicious actors, so they can act accordingly when handling customer information or other confidential data. Training materials should provide clear instructions on how employees can adhere to these standards while performing their regular duties effectively. Any additional regulatory requirements arising during their organizational tenure should also be addressed promptly.

Is your business interested in learning more about compliance services? See how Braxton-Grant Technologies can help get you started on the road to compliance today.

Cybersecurity Compliance Services

NIST 800-171 Compliance Benefits

  • Ability to bid on government contracts:
    Compliance with NIST 800-171 is typically a requirement for companies that wish to bid on government contracts related to defense and national security.

  • Improved cybersecurity:
    NIST 800-171 compliance requires companies to implement various cybersecurity measures, such as protecting sensitive information, establishing access controls, and reporting incidents. This can help reduce the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches.

  • Reduced liability:
    Compliance with NIST 800-171 can help companies mitigate the risk of legal action, fines, and reputational damage in the event of a breach or other security incident.

  • Competitive advantage:
    NIST 800-171-compliant companies may have an advantage over competitors that are not, particularly in the defense industry.

Access to valuable resources: NIST 800-171 compliance can provide access to various resources, such as training and support from government agencies, that can help companies further improve their cybersecurity practices.

DFARS 7012 Compliance Benefits

  • Eligibility for DoD contracts: DFARS 7012 compliance is required for companies that wish to bid on Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. Achieving the necessary level of certification can open up new business opportunities in the defense industry.

  • Enhanced reputation:
    Demonstrating compliance with DFARS 7012 can help build trust and credibility with government agencies and other potential customers who prioritize security and data protection.

  • Better internal processes:
    The requirements for DFARS 7012 compliance often involve implementing policies and procedures related to information security and risk management, which can lead to improved internal processes and efficiencies.

  • Improved supply chain management:
    DFARS 7012 compliance may require companies to assess and improve the cybersecurity practices of their suppliers and vendors, leading to a more secure and resilient supply chain.

  • Improved employee training:
    DFARS 7012 compliance requires companies to train their employees on various cybersecurity topics, which can improve overall security awareness and reduce the risk of human error.

Braxton-Grant Technologies: Your Source for NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 Compliance Practices

No industry can go without compliance. Our team ensures you meet the most recent regulations with reliable solutions and assistance. With Braxton-Grant Technologies, you’ll be guided every step of the way while keeping your operations on track. Contact us today for leading NIST 800-171 and DFARS 7012 compliance services.