The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a framework built by the Department of Defense (DoD) to better evaluate and refine the cyber hygiene of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). The DIB includes over 300,000 contractors and subcontractors in the DoD supply chain and continues to be a common and valuable target for cyber-attacks. Breaches of these companies can leak extremely sensitive information and can become a matter of national security if not handled quickly. The risk of this happening is too large and moving forward these companies will need to have regulatory compliance security requirements in line with the CMMC Levels discussed below.  

What do the CMMC levels look like

The CMMC model has five distinct levels and organizes them based on cybersecurity maturity and cyber hygiene. Each of the CMMC levels contain a set of processes and practices shown in the diagram below.  

The CMMC levels range from Level 1 (basic cyber hygiene) to Level 5 (advanced and progressive cybersecurity hygiene). The CMMC levels are cumulative, meaning that in order for an organization to reach a certain level, they must also establish achievement in the lower levels. Along with the processes and practices for each levelthey also align with the type of sensitivity of information to be protected and the associated range of threats. In simpler terms each level has a focus, which is outlined below:  

Level 1: Safeguard Federal Contract Information  

Level 2: Serve as transition step in cybersecurity maturity progression to protect CUI  

Level 3: Protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)  

Levels 4-5: Protect CUI and reduce risk of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)  

How do I know what CMMC level I am at?   

The first step in figuring out what CMMC level your organization is in; you must first determine what type of information you receive or createFor organizations handling very basic information, you most likely only need to get to Level 1. If you are handling Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) however, the process is more involved. This all can vary also depending on the nature of your organizations work.  

It is also important to note that the level of CMMC certification that your organization will need, will be based on the contracts you want to bid onEach contract will list the CMMC level needed in order to win the business. Therefore, if you only want to win business the requires a level 1 certification then, a CMMC Level 1 certification will be your aim. However, due to the nature of some businesses, a CMMC level 3 certification will be the baseline. The DoD will start to require CMMC level achievement this year. This will only account for 15 new contracts; however, by 2026 all DoD contracts will require CMMC level certification. 

How do I start preparing for the CMMC qualifications?   

There are many ways to get ahead and start preparing your organization for the CMMC qualifications. Firstly, there are security measures you can take within your organization such as EDR implementation and Multi-factor Identification on all passwords within your organization. Please refer to our prior blog “5 Cybersecurity Initiatives to Meet CMMC Certification & Buy American Company Security Standards” for more detail on cybersecurity initiatives to take. Another way to begin to prepare for CMMC certification is to consider getting a Managed Service Provider (MSP). MSPs can provide proper knowledge on the regulatory compliance security requirements needed for the CMMC qualifications, as well as create an overall security plan for your businessThey can help prepare your security posture for whichever CMMC level you need to achieve. They can also fill the gaps between where you are and where you need to be. This includes implementation of the cybersecurity initiatives mentioned above.  

The CMMC levels are an important factor in keeping sensitive information protected. With cyber-attacks evolving and data constantly at risk, it is important to have the proper regulatory compliance security requirements needed for the CMMC qualifications.  

CompuData has been providing a holistic approach to manufacturing for over 50 years.  If you are interested in a free cyber security assessment to assess your organization’s cyber hygiene please email us.

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Author: Madison Liloia

Madison is a marketing professional who recently graduated from the Fox School of Business at Temple University. She joined Compudata in 2020 as the Marketing Coordinator, working directly with all departments of the company. She considers herself a lifelong learner and is passionate about helping others. Her background includes experience in technology and software solutions, mainly in the product marketing and communications field. She is a South Jersey native but now lives in Philadelphia and enjoys exploring the city, her favorite restaurant being Barcelona Wine Bar in East Passyunk.