The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification has recently undergone an important update to the requirements it has set forth for small businesses that want to achieve compliance. The new update to the CMMC cybersecurity framework ensures that small businesses have the proper level of security based on the type of information they house and the size and relevance of the business itself.
While the framework is essential for maintaining proper security against the ever-growing threat of cyber-criminals, the new update does offer some important benefits to small businesses that want to achieve compliance more efficiently.
First, let’s take a look at what the new CMMC 2.0 update consists of:
The CMMC 2.0 Update
At its core, the 2.0 update to the CMMC has simplified and streamlined the process of achieving compliance for a majority of small businesses that need to meet the requirements. One of the most important differences, according to their website, is that the total number of “levels” has been minimized from 5 to 3, and there is no more distinction between processes and practices. Overall, it has been condensed to assure clarity and efficiency for all involved in the process of certification.
The first level consists of the “foundational” practices that every business needs to employ in order to be protected from the most common cyber attacks. Companies with larger sizes or greater high-risk information, however, will need to meet more stringent requirements if they are categorized in levels 2 or 3.
Another important change to the CMMC 2.0 is that the requirements found in level 2 are deeper than the previous level 2 requirements. Specifically, this involves specialized tailoring of cybersecurity information to protect what is known as “Controlled Unclassified Information” or CUI. This type of information requires a significant increase in the depth and documentation required for protection. It should be noted that not all CMMC Level 2 members will be required to attain a CMMC certification.
How CMMC 2.0 Changes Benefit Small Businesses
While the CMMC update is arguably beneficial for all defense contractors, small businesses in particular can expect to gain several advantages from the CMMC 2.0 model. Outlined below are some of the ways small businesses have been positively impacted by CMMC 2.0, whether they are looking to acquire a contract or are already under contract:
Removal Of The Maturity Process
First, we will discuss the removal of the previous requirements of the maturity requirement. In the first CMMC iteration, the maturity requirements were quite redundant as they were already listed in another standard known as the NIST 800-171.
In total, these maturity requirements were found to require more paperwork and were delaying the ability to actually tackle the cybersecurity issues. The removal of this aspect was intended to help streamline the process for small businesses and help them focus on improving their cybersecurity and achieving compliance.
Addition Of “Plan of Action and Milestones” (POA&M)
A plan of action and milestones is a new addition to the 2.0 requirements. Basically, it is a document that identifies the tasks needed to accomplish certification. It delineates resources required to achieve the elements of the plan as well as any target goals. It also includes a schedule of completion dates for the milestones. It can be thought of as the work instructions that are developed in order to more easily guide small businesses towards full compliance.
Reduced Third-Party Interference
In previous iterations of the CMMC, there were third-party assessments that were required at nearly every level of the certification process. In the new 2.0 update, these third-party assessments have been dramatically reduced. This helps to further streamline the process while also reducing the fees required to undergo a third-party assessment.
The average cost of these assessments ranges between $50 and $60k. For many businesses, this would be a significant amount of money to budget for achieving CMMC compliance. These new reductions make the cost much more attaineable for businesses while still ensuring a thorough inspection process.
CMMC 2.0 Consistencies
While there have been changes to the new 2.0 version of the CMMC action plan, the depth and rigorous nature of its requirements have not changed. The main concept to note is that it is more affordable, streamlined and efficient which is a substantial benefit to small businesses. The CMMC 2.0 has taken away the paperwork hassles and third-party costs associated with the initial version to achieve this.
Altogether, these new requirements make the process of becoming certified much easier for small businesses while also reducing the overall costs associated with achieving compliance. The new requirements are also much easier to digest and implement than the previous iteration.
For more information on how your small business can benefit from the CMMC 2.0 update, or to work with our team of certified cybersecurity experts, contact our experienced staff today to schedule a consultation.