Cyberattacks on Department of Defense (DoD) distribution networks are a national security threat. As a result, to bid on DoD contracts, military companies must get the CMMC. Companies that are not CMMC security qualified or do not have the appropriate degree of accreditation for a given contract are not permitted to bid. Indeed, the CMMC holds third-party candidates accountable and ensures the security of the defense supply chain. Companies need to understand and attain the CMMC level most suited for them to be equipped and capable of accepting DoD contracts.
The CMMC level required is determined by the firm’s contract with the federal government. Contractors must maintain that level for the length of the contract. Furthermore, if an organization has numerous agreements with differing tiers of CMMC, it must keep the maximum level for the duration of the contract.
This is not a one-time feat nor a one-size-fits-all paradigm; it is a continuous endeavor. Within the CMMC, there are three levels, each more restrictive than the one below. Not all contractors are required to attain the maximum CMMC level (3). In reality, most will be needed to achieve Level 2, while some will require a higher level of certification.
CMMC Levels and General Applicability
The five levels of CMMC address the different tiers of cybersecurity to enable contractors to assess which level is appropriate.
Level 1: Fundamentals
This level serves as a basis for higher-level procedures. On the other hand, operational maturity is not tackled since a contractor’s capacity to conduct processes and recordkeeping may not be regular.
Companies may have access to information about government contracts.
Contractors with a Level 1 certification should have a restricted capacity to prevent data intrusions and recover from hostile activities. At the absolute least, these processes must be carried out on an as-needed basis.
Level 2: Advanced
Companies must comply with the 110 security standards outlined in NIST SP 800-171.
This level is required for any organization that creates or needs accessibility to Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
Companies must demonstrate a basic capacity to safeguard and maintain the assets and CUI of an organization. However, at this level, businesses may still encounter challenges in combating sophisticated, persistent threats (APTs).
Organizations subject to DFARS section 252.204-7012 are required to comply with additional obligations, such as incident management.
Companies must also develop a strategy demonstrating the best deployment and management practices.
Level 3: Expert
This level requires an organization to standardize and improve the integration process across the organization to better battle APIs. This is in contrast to Level 4’s necessity to be vigilant.
Companies should perform and record in a standardized manner throughout their company.
Continuous improvement is also emphasized.
Choosing the Correct CMMC Level for Your Organization
Through requests for data and proposals for bids, the DoD establishes a contractor’s needed CMMC regulation level. The decision is made depending on the specific agreement. Contracts will indicate the lowest degree of achievement a firm must accomplish to be given the deal. Still, they can pick a higher tier to establish their organization for future contracts. Understanding each level and its criteria can assist contractors in understanding their present situation and setting goals.
Existing compliance requirements can also assist businesses in determining where they presently rank on the CMMC chart. Many compliance requirements are aligned with NIST requirements, making it a valuable resource for guidance.