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What is the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?*

What is CMMC?

The first step to learning about the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is to understand its mission. The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Accreditation Body, also known as the CMMC-AB, “establishes and oversees a qualified, trained, and high-fidelity community of assessors that can deliver consistent and informative assessments to participating organizations against a defined set of controls/best practices within the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Program.”

The CMMC is both created and managed by the Department of Defense (DOD). The CMMC-AB reviews and combines various trusted cybersecurity standards and best practices and uses them across several knowledge levels that range from basic cyber hygiene to advanced. The CMMC-AB implements recommended controls and processes for a given CMMC level to reduce risk against a specific set of cyber threats. This method aids in both compliance and security that is both cost-efficient and affordable for small businesses. The CMMC-AB uses existing regulation (DFARS 252.204-7012) that is proven by adding a verification component with respect to cybersecurity requirements. The CMMC-AB uses what is known as (C3PAOs), which are authorized and accredited CMMC Third Party Assessment Organizations to conduct assessments and issue CMMC certificates to (DIB) or Defense Industrial Base companies at the appropriate level.

How does it benefit small business?

According to the CMMC website, the CMMC is designed to provide increased assurance to the department that a DIB company can adequately protect sensitive unclassified information, accounting for information flow down to subcontractors in a multi-tier supply chain. The protection of sensitive unclassified information is extremely important because of its sensitive and confidential nature. Sensitive unclassified information is information that the Government creates or owns, or that an entity creates or owns for or on behalf of the Government. The CMMC stands by its mission to secure such data for small businesses in an economically sound way that does not disregard proper compliance and security levels that have been proven to work against cyber attacks that threaten to hack and compromise important data.

The CMMC is intended to serve as an authentication mechanism to ensure that DIB companies implement appropriate cybersecurity measures and processes to protect Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) within their unclassified networks.  In other words, the CMMC provides a secure framework in which information can be protected. The CMMC is evolving and has created pioneering ways to secure important information for small businesses that builds on proven existing frameworks and methods to secure important information while considering affordability and security at the same time.

*this article has been written in collaboration with GCA

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