The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a unified standard for implementing and standardizing information security controls across the enormous Defense Industrial Base. Every company which currently has contracts with the DoD or wishes to bid on requests for proposals (RFPs) in the foreseeable future will need to earn the appropriate certification.
There are five CMMC levels in total, with level three or higher being the requirement for bidding on any contracts that involve handling controlled unclassified information (CUI) on behalf of the DoD. One of the most important changes over previous standards and regulations is that CMMC requires a third-party assessment from an approved auditor. A CMMC assessment will determine your current security posture and provide you with an appropriate certification if all the necessary standards have been met.
How CMMC certification fits in your IT Department Budget?
According to Katie Arrington, chief information security officer (CISO) of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, reaching the minimum CMMC certification level should cost around $3,000 to $5,000. The costs will increase substantially the higher the level, since there are more controls and processes to apply.
It’s a bit tricky to generalize the costs involved due to the wide range of actions companies may need to take to achieve compliance. For example, a company which has already enforced all the controls and standards laid out in NIST SP 800-171 shouldn’t need to do much at all, while those which are just getting started improving their security posture will need to do far more.
If your organization currently works with the DoD or hopes to do so in the future, then you need to account for CMMC compliance in your budget. However, obtaining a CMMC assessment in the first place can give you a better idea of what needs to be done, and how much it will cost, in order to reach your desired certification level.
Including a CMMC assessment in your upcoming IT department budget offers many benefits, which we’ll explore below:
#1. Uncover and mitigate gaps in your cybersecurity
A CMMC assessment doesn’t just evaluate your readiness for receiving a certification. It also uncovers gaps in your cybersecurity infrastructure and gives you a chance to mitigate them before they can be exploited. CMMC, which is based upon the NIST SP 800-171 publication, is one of the most comprehensive security standards in the world, and there’s no better way to assess your current cybersecurity posture.
#2. Reduce operational and reputational risk
Given the rapid development of the cyberthreat landscape, it has never been more important for businesses to take a proactive approach towards reducing risk. After all, a data breach can have catastrophic consequences for your business, including serious reputational damage or even litigation in the case of a compliance failure. Including a CMMC assessment in your IT budget helps you prevent such eventualities and let you innovate without increasing risk.
#3. Scale your security with a standardized approach
CMMC is built around the security controls included in the NIST SP 800-171 documentation, which is one of the most comprehensive set of security guidelines in the world. Being a global standard in cybersecurity, it helps you scale security across your supply chain without having to focus on dozens of different regulations and standards at once. A CMMC assessment will uncover potential vulnerabilities and ways to mitigate them across your entire infrastructure.
#4. Win lucrative contracts with the Department of Defense
Getting a CMMC assessment also carries many financial rewards. Earning a certification lets you bid on requests for proposals (RFPs) with the DoD, with higher CMMC levels opening up more lucrative opportunities. While you might not be aiming for the highest certification level at the start, adopting a process of continuous improvement can help your business grow and secure and maintain more valuable contracts in the future.
#5. Drive innovation with security by design and default
One of the DoD’s primary aims is to drive a global culture shift in cybersecurity. For too long have many organizations viewed cybersecurity as a necessary evil rather than an enabler of innovation. CMMC brings together policies, plans, procedures, and controls to build a security-first organizational culture across the entire DoD supply chain. By adapting company culture to CMMC, your employees will always have security at the forefront of their minds and be driven to innovate without fear.
Charles IT can help you prepare for your official CMMC assessment with expert guidance and cutting-edge security solutions. Contact us today to request your consultation.