When you’re working on government and Department of Defense (DOD) contracts, trust and reliability are key. In a world where cyberattacks cost businesses and governments billions of dollars each year, your cyber readiness can have a critical impact on the contracts you secure and the business you gain. To guarantee the right level of service and security, most government clients demand compliance with key standards like the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), CMMC , and others.
Unless you specialize in cybersecurity, your in-house IT likely will not meet strict government standards. If you aren’t NIST compliant, for instance, most bids will be rejected automatically. IT compliance isn’t optional anymore – you need to be compliant with key security standards, and the best way to do this is to partner with a managed services provider (MSP) with a documented track record of security compliance like VersaTrust.
What Do You Need to be Compliant?
There are two key cybersecurity compliance standards businesses need to be compliant with when handling government and DOD projects. These are:
- The NIST CSF (Cybersecurity Framework)
- The CMMC (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification)
Both of these are voluntary sets of standards. However, agencies often require compliance to move forward with projects. For instance, any government subcontractor that stores, transmits, or processes CUI (controlled unclassified information) needs to be compliant with the NIST’s SP 800-171 standard. Before 2018, self-attested compliance with security standards was often “good enough.” However, the situation has changed now. Under Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 252.204-7012, government partners and subcontractors need a documented and audited security compliance trail.
Why Compliance is Important
You’re probably not going to have the in-house IT capabilities to meet the NIST and CMMC requirements. This is why it’s so important to work with a fully compliant MSP like VersaTrust. As your security partner, the MSP you work with has access to your documents, sensitive data, and CUI. Compliance, in this case, isn’t just about meeting specific government needs for projects. It’s also about working with a security partner who ensures your data stays safe and away from the eyes of cybercriminals.
What about the CMMC?
The NIST framework in general and NIST SP 800-171, in particular, are voluntary sets of standards that companies can look at and work toward. When it comes to U.S. government projects, though, an aspirational approach to security – “we’ll get there someday” – isn’t going to cut it. Thanks to self-attestation and a lack of consistent verification methods, NIST SP 800-171 suffered from low levels of compliance: few of the firms contracted by the government actually bothered to meet all the NIST SP standards. This is where CMMC comes into the picture .
The CMMC is not the same as NIST
A common misconception is that the CMMC is the same as NIST. This is not true. The CMMC was built to address the shortcomings of poor NIST compliance after U.S. government contractors were repeatedly hit with cyberattacks and data breaches they weren’t prepared to handle. The Department of Defense introduced the CMMC to ensure compliance at every level of the supply chain in the defense industrial base (DIB).
Remember: the CMMC isn’t optional
Unlike NIST, CMMC compliance is mandatory if you want to work on DOD projects. Your IT team will need a CMMC compliance certificate, or you’ll need to work with a fully compliant MSP. This is where VersaTrust can bridge the gap between your in-house security and the CMMC’s stringent requirements.
How VersaTrust Can Help You Move Beyond Compliance
When your business has the capabilities and experience to deliver solid results on U.S. government projects, IT compliance should not be holding you back. When you partner with VersaTrust, you shift the security-compliant burden over to a proven, trusted MSP. We have a well-documented compliance process that’s in full alignment with NIST and the more stringent CMMC provisions.
What does this mean for your business? You’ll be able to successfully bid on a wider range of U.S. government and DOD projects where security compliance is mandatory. By partnering with VersaTrust, you get the benefits of a fully compliant IT and security team at the fraction of the cost of enforcing compliance in-house.
At VersaTrust, we work with you to continually improve IT compliance over time as your business grows so that compliance issues will never be a roadblock when securing new projects.
Reach out today at (817) 595-0111! Let’s get on a free consultation call to talk about how VersaTrust can help you navigate DOD and U.S. government IT compliance regulations.