Businesses that deal with federal contract information (FCI) and controlled unclassified information (CUI) know that CMMC compliance requirements have to be a top concern. The Department of Defense (DoD) developed the CMMC standards to ensure that the contractors with access to this sensitive information have the security systems to safeguard the data.
The CMMC audit will test and ensure that businesses interested in earning these contracts with the government have their systems set up appropriately. Let’s explore what you should know about this rigorous testing system.
Key Resources for CMMC Audit Preparation
To help you prepare for your CMMC audit, we have compiled a list of resources you can use to design your systems.
● The list of essential official guidelines from the DoD
● Information about the importance of the assessment process from the CMMC Accreditation Body (Cyber-AB)
● Information from the Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity Assessment Center (DIBCAC) on how the assessments are conducted
● DFARS Cybersecurity FAQs: Bridging DFARS 252.204-7012, NIST SP 800-171, and CMMC
The Current Landscape of CMMC Enforcement
Over the past few years, we have seen some significant shifts in assessing defense contractors. Updating these requirements accounts for the need for optimal security when it comes to protecting sensitive data.
● Mid-2022: We saw the authorization of 20 certified third-party assessment organizations (C3PAO). These organizations will eventually move on to complete the CMMC assessments when the new regulations go into play.
● June 2023: Some of these organizations have been able to run joint assessments with the Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity Assessment Center (DIBCAC). They completed about one per month. These assessments were not considered official CMMC assessments.
● July 2023: It was announced that the Rule for CMMC had moved to the Office of Management and Budget.
● Mid-October 2023: It is projected that the new text will be published.
● 2024: Requirements expected to start appearing in contracts.
As you can see, the implementation and expansion of the latest CMMC will be here soon, making it imperative that businesses start preparing now.
Understanding CMMC Audit Costs
Preparing for the CMMC audit will come with some costs. Consider both soft and hard expenses. Your soft expenses will include areas such as consulting, where you speak with professional teams who can help you prepare for the audit and find potential problems in your existing cybersecurity setup.
Your hard costs, on the other hand, are direct financial requirements, such as setting up your network to meet the specifications. The costs associated with the audit and certification can often range between $10,000 and $40,000. The state of your current cybersecurity configuration and the managed security services provider you work with will significantly impact where your expenses land.
Strategies To Minimize CMMC Audit Costs
As you review the costs associated with maintaining a CMMC certification, you will likely want to uncover strategies to reduce the expenses when possible. Automation can fulfill that job for you. An automated platform, like Ignyte, is designed to meet the framework’s requirements. You can reduce the work you must do to remain compliant by including this technology in your system.
With the help of automation, you can ensure that as the CUI moves throughout your organization, all of the parts of the system it passes through keep it secure. As more shifts and adjustments come to the regulations in the future, the platform will immediately begin to shift to ensure that you remain in CMMC compliance and prepare for your next audit.
Navigating the CMMC Audit Process
Navigating the CMMC audit process requires careful thought and planning to ensure you know what your business needs to do to remain safeguarded.
Step 1. Business scope determination
During this step, you determine and define the areas of the business that will deal with any part of the CUI. This includes processing, storing, or otherwise transmitting the information. Your business scope needs to have all the business responsibilities related to this information and the people involved in the process.
Step 2. Technical scope determination
Next, you look at the technical side of your requirements. Consider how you can document your tech assets with your organization and how they will protect the sensitive information flowing through them. You will need to register your technology assets inventory.
Step 3. Reviewing current corporate cybersecurity programs
Once you know the scope of your business and technical requirements, you will look at the current corporate cybersecurity programs. Note how these programs run and the levels of protection they provide.
Step 4. Analysis of cybersecurity controls in place
Finally, you analyze what controls and safety features you already have. Note where your controls fall short of the requirements and what you must do to bring your system up to compliance levels.
Taking the Proactive Approach for Your CMMC Compliance Requirements
For businesses that want to receive contracts from the DoD or otherwise handle CUI, taking a proactive approach to passing and maintaining a CMMC certification is essential. Preparing for the CMMC audit takes considerable time and investment and the requirements are strict for anyone who wants to work in the industry. Proactively preparing prevents scrambling to meet requirements at the last minute. It also helps ensure that you won’t miss one detail because you rushed, which can seriously harm your business.