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What do CMMC and NIST 800-171 regulations mean for you?

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and NIST 800-171 are new regulations affecting businesses soon. What do these two acronyms mean? CMMC is a cybersecurity framework that has been developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST 800-171 regulates federal agencies, contractors, subcontractors, or other organizations with access to sensitive information on behalf of a covered entity.

This law was enacted as part of an effort to address cyber vulnerabilities in federal systems. Read this blog post for more details about what these regulations mean for you!

What is the cybersecurity maturity model certification?

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a cybersecurity framework that has been developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). CMMC was designed to help organizations make improvements in their cyber defense operations. The certification process will allow companies to measure where they are currently on the maturity model and document how to establish secure software development practices.

CMMC is not a certification that an individual can obtain. CMMC is designed to evaluate the cybersecurity maturity of organizations in four main areas: cyber defense operations, risk management practices, software development processes, and network security engineering practices. The evaluation process will look at how prepared companies are for complying with NIST 800-171 regulations.

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is one of two requirements needed to comply with NIST 800-171 regulations.

As we approach the deadline for compliance, many businesses wonder how these new standards will affect them and what they need to do to prepare.

If your organization does not have this certification, consult our resources tab on this blog post for more information about getting started!

What are the CMMC and NIST 800-171 regulations?

The CMMC and NIST 800-171 regulations are a set of standards that can help businesses increase their cybersecurity, system resilience, and operational efficiency.

What does the new certification entail? The NIST 800-171 standard requires companies to assess existing vulnerabilities in operations for potential breaches or IT risks.

Companies must also measure the number of cyberattacks they have faced to understand better how well prepared they are against future attacks. Companies certified through CMMC will demonstrate these improvements by issuing an assessment report at each level (basic, intermediate, advanced).

In addition, there is no guidance on what specific tasks should be completed within those levels, so organizations know both where they stand and what work needs to be done.

How will these new regulations affect you and your business?

The CMMC and NIST 800-171 regulations will affect everyone in the cybersecurity community. Organizations of all sizes with different budgets and expertise levels are affected by these new requirements. The Cybersecurity Assessments Tool (CAT) is a user-friendly way to measure compliance for small businesses that may not have an extensive IT staff or budget. CAT enables organizations to use their resources more efficiently: they can focus on what needs attention now instead of spending time assessing areas where there might be a vulnerability.

Who certifies the cybersecurity maturity model?

Cybersecurity Accreditation Body (CMMC-AB) establishes a certification process and acts as the primary arbiter of all cybersecurity maturity compliance activities with companies.

CMMC-AB issues a CMMI certification to companies that are accredited by another Accreditation Body.

NIST 800-171 certifies compliance with the cybersecurity framework for federal agencies and contractors and those who provide services or products to them. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is designed to be risk-based. It provides guidance on managing IT systems security risks in operational/technical areas (such as information security governance) and business process areas (including supplier management). It also includes an appendix of standards, guidelines, practices, procedures, checklists, questions lists), which may help organizations comply with these requirements.

The CMMC-AB manages the CMMC ecosystem, including:

  • CMMC Third-Party Assessor Organization (C3PAO) applications 
  • Designing the provisional program 
  • Training C3PAO 
  • Establishing criteria for becoming a C3PAO 
  • Publishing the criteria 
  • Working with licensed partner publishers 
  • Licensing training providers 

All organizations seeking to be CMMC certified must complete a thorough gap analysis, hire a C3PAO, and submit the report to the CMMC-AB.

Steps to take to prepare for these changes

The CMMC and NIST 800-171 regulations mean that all organizations must implement a cybersecurity program to protect their information systems. To prepare for these changes, you should take the following actions:

  • Evaluate your current cybersecurity maturity level – map out all relevant areas of your business, including supplier management
  • Conduct an analysis on potential risks with external third parties as well as internal employees and contractors
  • Map out or create a scope statement that lists details about what will be included in the initial examination (assessment) by CPAO, such as goals, boundaries, organizational structure/stakeholders, etc 
  • Create policies and procedures related to improving the security of networked devices; customer data protection; access control properties for physical locations where IT assets are managed within a business.

How long does it take to get CMCC certification?

Many organizations have already done the work to be CMCC certified. A recent survey found that the average company takes about nine months to go from application submissions, approval process, and certification testing. Once you’ve completed all these steps successfully, your certificate is issued for three years. For those just starting on their journey toward CMCC Certification, ChatFortress suggests a minimum of six months of preparation time before going through any applications or approval processes.

Does your company need compliance, regulations, and certification?

CPAO will provide resources for information about the new standards and requirements. The CPAO can also create an initial examination (assessment) which includes goals, boundaries, organizational structure/stakeholders, etc.

This assessment will be used in helping your company identify where you are on the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification scale: Unaware; Aware but Not Active; Aware and Active; or Fully Matured. Your current level of security should dictate what must take place next–whether it’s as simple as developing policies related to improving networked devices’ security or if more advanced steps need to happen, such as correcting potential risks.

Do you need to implement CMMC into your company?

The process of implementing CMMC and NIST800-171 can be intimidating, but that’s no longer the case with ChatFortress’s new book “CMMC + NIST800-171 Compliance Checklist & Implementation Guide“.  ChatFortress has created a clear blueprint for how to implement CMMC and NIST 800-171 in your company. This book is full of tips, tricks, and implementation recommendations. Plus, the ChatFortress team provides you with all the document template resources and software recommendations for implementing your cybersecurity compliance program.

Claim your CMMC Gap Analysis and Implementation Resources today!

Get your CMMC questions answered by emailing [email protected] and get the support you need to help implement Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) into your organization.

About ChatFortress:

ChatFortress is a leading cybersecurity company helping business owners protect their assets from cybercriminals. ChatFortress is the creator of the Cybersecurity Report Card, the only external security assessment that validates 3rd party risk. We provide companies with access to the latest technologies, social engineering and human behavioral strategies, and user education to create a proactive cybersecurity culture. Helping you fortify your business against cyberattacks.