How can Defense Vendors and Contractors Enhance their Cybersecurity and Compliance?

Cybersecurity compliance is critical for winning DoD contracts in 2020.

To effectively bid on agreements in 2020, CMMC-level compliance is required.

Analyzing important cybersecurity indicators can assist DoD contractors in identifying areas of weakness and vulnerability.

Partnering with a professional cybersecurity team helps lower the risk of cyberattacks, guard against service interruption, prevent the illegal use of CUI data, and ensure business sustainability amid an actual cyber threat.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has stated that beginning in 2020, both prime and subcontractors would be required to adhere to the forthcoming Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). Many contractors are trying to strengthen their security as they attempt to bid on new contracts throughout the year due to this statement. CMMC will be essential for getting contracts, but compliance isn’t the only option for contractors to improve cybersecurity.

#1. Examine the Three Critical Cybersecurity Categories

Cybersecurity has three significant elements: deployment, efficacy, productivity, and consequence. Contractors need the right team of cybersecurity compliance professionals on their side if they want to effectively bid on a DoD Request For Proposal (RFP) in 2020.

Cybersecurity Implementation. — Organizations must set implementation metrics to identify any potential weak points. Both the prime and the subcontractor should have these measures collected. The first step in building a dynamic strategy for cybersecurity that fulfills the new DoD rules is to protect against current and future vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity Effectiveness and Efficiency. — While protecting against vulnerabilities is the first stage in sophisticated cybersecurity defenses, assessing how successfully a contractor can anticipate and respond to cybersecurity assaults is an equally critical second step. To summarize, military contractors are continually besieged with potential attacks; how they respond to these attempts will provide the groundwork for properly defending their critical Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).

Impact on Cybersecurity. Just as DoD contractors outline their disaster recovery plan in their Request For Information (RFI) and Request For Proposal (RFP) submissions, they must also take the time to assess the consequences of an effective cybersecurity assault. The organization can effectively identify:

  1. How they will react.
  2. How they will gain from the incident.
  3. How they will preserve business continuance in the aftermath by quantifying this impact.

#2. Modify security to meet CMMC accreditation levels and control requirements.

In 2020, the most significant shift for DoD companies will be CMMC certification grades and regulatory needs. CMMC employs a risk-based methodology based on the amount and kind of CUI stored, processed, and managed in layman’s term. These new criteria incorporate NIST SP 800-171A and SP 800-181B security controls. It is expected that NIST SP 800-53 and ISO 27001 will also be employed as requirements.

If DoD vendors want to win contracts in 2020, they must carefully choose the proper CMMC level. Furthermore, they must complete at least the Level 1 certification.

  • Level 1 — Basic cyber hygiene consists of 17 NIST SP 800-171 rev 1 security procedures.
  • Level 2 — Moderate cyber hygiene, consisting of 46 NIST SP 800-171 rev 1 controls.
  • Level 3 — Good cyber hygiene consists of 47 NIST SP 800-171 rev 1 controls.

It should be noted that the first three CMMC levels will incorporate all 110 security measures from NIST SP 800-171 rev 1. Furthermore, if a DoD contractor fails to achieve any one requirement for level certification, they will be licensed at the previous level. Finally, failing to register for Level 1 will lead to rejected bids in 2020 and beyond. The DoD will commence issuing RFI and RFP proposals with precise CMMC level criteria as the year passes. Sections L and M will detail these needs.

#3. Perform a Third-Party Audit

The third approach DoD contractors may enhance their security infrastructure, and adherence is to undergo a third-party audit. Before the new CMMC requirements, DoD contractors may self-certify. DoD contractors will be required to undergo a third-party audit beginning in 2020. There will also be no Plans of Actions and Milestones (POA&M) backup. However, contractors will need to tackle their weak areas right now to attain compliance and certification. These third-party evaluations will commence in mid-2020.

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