DoD Contractors Race to Prepare for Cybersecurity Audits in 2021

Cybersecurity has always been of vast importance to the Department of Defense (DoD), and there are more threats today than ever before (the recent discovery of the Solarwinds hack devastating federal agencies as one example). This means that government bodies need to take extra precautions to ensure their online security.

The problem is, an organization’s security depends not only on its own practices, but on those of its supply chain who have access to sensitive information. This dilemma has led the DoD to roll out new initiatives aimed at tightening cybersecurity.

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, also known as CMMC, is the new cybersecurity standard for DoD contractors and is being rolled out over a 5-year period. The first required changes were put into practice on Dec. 1 of last year to replace and improve previous DFARS requirements.

Now, as it becomes necessary for more and more contractors to achieve compliance quickly with the new Interim Rule changes, contractors are racing to prepare for increased cybersecurity audits in 2021 that will evaluate their self-assessment scoring and overall cybersecurity hygiene.

Interim Rule Self-Assessment and Audits

Preparation begins with a self-assessment. As one of the necessary steps outlined in the Interim Rule, a CMMC assessment requires you to score your business in certain categories and then post this score onto the Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS). The assessment will be based on the new CMMC scoring methodology that judges organizations on their compliance with 110 different factors.

Be aware that there will be audits conducted to ensure that your score is accurate and that you are taking all the necessary steps to ensure you comply with the new regulations, and that you are prioritizing cybersecurity processes. This is particularly important if you are going to be handling controlled unclassified information (CUI).

The new CMMC version of scoring methodology, reporting, and processes differs from DFARS requirements in that it implements increased checks and balances, including the reporting and auditing processes, to keep organizations accountable.

To comply with the Interim Rule and prepare for CMMC audits, contractors must also complete  a System security Plan (SSP) and Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M) to prove how, and by what date, they will reach full compliance.

Continue Updating Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity processes are always fluid, and you will constantly need to change and update them as times changes and technology advances. Being able to make the changes to help you keep up to date with DoD requirements is massively important. To stay on top of new changes and continually ensure cybersecurity, especially during the constantly updated CMMC rollout process, many contractors choose to work with a trusted CMMC consultant. An experienced CMMC consultant can help improve your cybersecurity processes and ensure that you are prepared for audits.

Understanding the changes and updates that the DoD has introduced is crucial for contractors looking to secure contracts with the DoD moving forward. Your cybersecurity and compliance can have a major impact on your business’s future, so take the time now to become compliant with the DoD’s evolving cybersecurity mandates.