Maintaining successful compliance with the CMMC standards is not easy or simple for the many companies who operate under these protocols and house highly sensitive information of the United States government. The ability of these businesses to continue working on contracts with the U.S. government, while storing or using this important information, is dependent on their ability to achieve CMMC compliance.
As cybersecurity threats and sophistication have grown, the safety requirements put forth by the CMMC have increased as well. This inevitably has led to a CMMC certification process that is a complex checklist. Many businesses find that they must make improvements to the protocols they have in place, as well as the company-wide awareness of those rules, prior to achieving full certification.
There are several common reasons why businesses typically fail the CMMC 2.0 requirements:
Non-Compliance With Latest NIST Standards
The new CMMC updates are tailored in conjunction with the government’s NIST, or the National Institute of Standards and Technology. These standards include the essential baseline protocols that every business operating with sensitive information must have in place. It is important to check in with the NIST regularly for any updates to the framework that apply to your business.
If your company is unsure about which aspects of its network are subject to CMMC, you may be unable to get approval. It could be that certain parts of your network are subject to a different CMMC level from another portion; this will depend on the type of information your company is storing. It is important to understand what type of data you have, your overall network environment status and under what part of the CMMC it is categorized.
One key to passing the CMMC is proper documentation and evidence. If you are unable to properly demonstrate the controls in place and answer their inquiries with a tailored plan of action, the ability of your company to adequately protect the sensitive information you are responsible for may be deemed unsuitable.
So What Can You Do If You Failed Your CMMC Assessment?
Any business that fails to meet CMMC compliance standards will have 90 days to rectify the issue(s) and resubmit the proper evidence to the CMMC. The CMMC does not usually provide exact specifications on how to remedy your situation and achieve compliance. It is the responsibility of the failed company cybersecurity infrastructure.
For the best chance to achieve full compliance, the following is recommended:
Focus On Continuous Improvement
Your organization must make a priority of its cybersecurity controls. The CMMC must be able to establish that each business is constantly improving their framework. Continual problems that are in constant need of improvement or correction are a red flag. Strive to always focus on developing plans of action and milestones (POA&M). The goal should always be to improve your cybersecurity environment.
Focus On The National Standards
With the new CMMC 2.0 updates, the CMMC has joined with the NIST to provide a more united and easy-to-follow protocol for businesses. If you are a level 2 or 3 company, referring to the official NIST website will provide you with the information necessary to begin to improve and modernize your processes.
Consider Voluntary Certification
Another update of the CMMC 2.0 is that at most levels, third-party assessments have been removed. It is still required at higher levels in the certification process, but there is an interim period right now where companies can start the process voluntarily in order to give themselves a better chance of a successful review.
The Importance Of CMMC Certification
Overall, the CMMC 2.0 is still in its early days as many companies are adjusting their protocols and applying the proper POA&M in order to take steps towards improvement. The important thing is to get started as soon as possible. The longer companies wait to gain compliance, the more gaps there are which make cybercrime an exploitive area.
The CMMC is an important operating standard that ensures that the cybersecurity infrastructure within our country’s most important companies is rigorous, modern and well thought out. This makes achieving CMMC compliance a very high priority and something every company with sensitive information should strive to meet.
If you haven’t been able to pass your CMMC assessment, it is important to focus on improvement and to become readily aligned with the standard. For more information on how to identify your certification requirements and to develop a proper plan of action, contact our team of experts today at SeaGlass Technology.