Whether you’re a managed IT services provider, a software company, or simply have an IT department, you have a high chance of partnering with other companies requiring your IT services. And notably, the government often requires IT services from vendors. Since government data and information are confidential, only vendors who can prove the highest level of discretion and security can win such lucrative contracts.
One way to prove yourself as credible enough for standardizing information security for the Defense Industrial Database is by obtaining a Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification.
What is the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?
The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a corporate standard and assessment program to safeguard the Department of Defense’s sensitive information.
It was created because cyber-attacks against the Defense Industrial Base became frequent and complex. Any breach of such information can quickly become a matter of national security.
If you ever wish to bid for contracts with the Department of Defense, you must first get a CMMC certification from an accreditation body. The body will train you to assess your compliance with the guidelines before certifying you. Once you have this certification, you can then seek contracts with the United States Department of Defense.
But it doesn’t stop there. It is a continuous process, meaning that the CMMC accrediting body must regularly evaluate your organization to ensure you remain compliant. Even when you have the certification but have broken some of the standards, your IT firm may not be able to win such government contracts.
However, such assessments can be quite costly, discouraging some IT firms from including them in their budget. If you do, it puts you at an advantage over other IT firms in terms of contract bidding with the DoD.
What if you don’t wish to ever bid on requests for proposals in the near future? Why should you include such expenses into your budget anyway?
There are many benefits your IT firm enjoys by getting CMMC certified and assessed regularly. We shall discuss them below.
CMMC benefits: why you need to include regular assessments into your IT budget
Discover and eliminate security gaps
In the age we’re in, cybersecurity is a menace that can hit any unsuspecting company, even an IT firm of your status. While you may think you have all loopholes covered, it may not be so.
A CMMC assessment helps to uncover gaps in your security infrastructure, thereby positioning you to mitigate them before something happens.
The CMMC is one of the most comprehensive security standards on earth and will most definitely uncover whatever loopholes you may have. If any cybercriminal can exploit you, a CMMC assessment will see the hole first so you can address it.
However, it’s crucial to have regular assessments to ascertain the current strength of your cybersecurity infrastructure.
It can save your reputation
We’re in an age where large-scale corporations get hit with serious Cyber-attacks. Unfortunately, they do not only lose money directly from the attack; they also lose their image in the eyes of their client base, thereby losing valuable customers.
If companies cannot entrust you with their sensitive information, your reputation as an IT company will go down the drain. There may also be litigation against your company in case of compliance failure. That’s beyond bad for business.
In short, a data breach to your IT firm is catastrophic to the reputation of your IT firm as a whole.
A regular CMMC assessment will basically reduce the risk of this ever happening.
You can scale your security through a single framework
Typically, many businesses have to get compliance with several regulations and standards to have holistic security across their supply chain. This can be quite some task.
Notably, CMMC is built around the security controls contained within the NIST SP 800-170 documentation, of which no other security guideline could be more comprehensive.
It is a global standard. So by obtaining CMMC, you have all the other regulations and standards in one place. This helps you scale your security throughout your supply chain without wasting time on many smaller sets of guidelines.
Build a security-first organization
The creation of the CMMC by the DoD wasn’t by mistake but by design to implement a new and solid approach to cybersecurity. The digital era keeps advancing, and only organizations that can prove to offer the highest level of security can keep attracting clients.
CMMC incorporates policies, procedures, and controls to create a security-first organizational culture throughout the defense department’s supply chain.
And what’s more, by imbibing such a culture, it will reflect throughout your organization as each employee will work with security in mind.
Win huge contracts with the DoD
One of the main benefits of getting CMMC certification and assessment is that you stand a chance of winning lucrative contracts with the DoD.
To bid on requests for proposals with the United States Department of Defense, you must currently have CMMC compliance. And that comes by not only getting certified but periodically being assessed for compliance.
However, getting the certification is an excellent start. Although you may not be able to bid for the most lucrative opportunities initially, you can work your way towards attaining the highest CMMC certification level. Companies with the highest level can bid for the most lucrative contracts with the DoD.
How much does it cost?
There’s no standard or fixed price for CMMC certification as there are many regulations, of which your company may not currently need all. For instance, an organization that has already implemented all the guidelines set out in NIST SP 800-171 will not need as much action as another company just now trying to improve its security from scratch.
Nonetheless, the minimum CMMC certification level would likely range between $3,000 and $5,000. It looks like much, but the financial (contracts with DoD) and reputational benefits far outweigh it.
Although there are five CMMC levels, the most critical part is to start. And that’s by contacting an approved third-party accrediting body.