CMMC stands for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. It is a unified standard developed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to assess and enhance the cybersecurity posture of organizations within the defense industrial base (DIB). The CMMC framework combines various cybersecurity controls and best practices from existing standards, such as NIST SP 800-171, ISO 27001, and others, into a single certification model.
The primary goal of CMMC is to ensure that companies handling sensitive defense information have robust cybersecurity measures in place to protect that information from cyber threats. The certification process involves a third-party assessment of an organization's cybersecurity practices and controls, resulting in one of three levels of certification: Level 1 being the basic level and Level 3 being the most stringent.
CMMC focuses on three domains of cybersecurity practices, known as capability domains:
Level 1 - Basic Cyber Hygiene
- Level 1 focuses on basic cybersecurity practices and is the foundational level of CMMC compliance.
- It includes practices and processes that help protect Federal Contract Information (FCI).
- Level 1 requirements primarily revolve around implementing basic safeguards, such as antivirus software, password policies, and employee cybersecurity awareness training.
Level 2 - Intermediate Cyber Hygiene
- Level 2 builds upon the requirements of Level 1 and introduces additional safeguards to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
- It requires the establishment and documentation of intermediate cybersecurity practices and processes.
- Level 2 includes the implementation of a subset of the security requirements specified in NIST SP 800-171, along with additional practices to enhance cybersecurity capabilities.
Level 3 - Good Cyber Hygiene
- Level 3 represents a significant step up in cybersecurity maturity and focuses on protecting CUI through the implementation of an organization-wide cybersecurity program.
- It encompasses all the security requirements specified in NIST SP 800-171 and includes additional practices to further enhance cybersecurity defenses.
- Level 3 requires the establishment of comprehensive policies and procedures, regular security assessments, and the implementation of advanced security controls to protect CUI.
These three levels provide a progression of cybersecurity maturity, with each level building upon the requirements of the previous one. Organizations seeking CMMC certification will need to demonstrate compliance with the specific requirements of each level based on their contractual obligations and the sensitivity of the information they handle.
CMMC certification is becoming a requirement for organizations seeking to do business with the DoD or handle controlled unclassified information (CUI). It signifies that an organization has implemented the necessary cybersecurity controls to protect sensitive information and demonstrates their commitment to safeguarding the defense supply chain against cyber threats.
It's important to note that the CMMC framework and its associated requirements may evolve over time, so it's advisable to consult official sources, such as the official CMMC website (https://dodcio.defense.gov/CMMC/), for the most up-to-date information and guidance on achieving and maintaining CMMC compliance.