The Real Reason You Need to Be CMMC Compliant

USA crime and Cybersecurity is an increasing concern for nearly every type of organization. CMMC is a mandatory security framework for Department of Defense (DoD) contractors and anyone who is part of the defense supply chain. However, these are not the only organizations that should be paying increased attention to their cybersecurity.

Cyber crime rates across all industries are rising, with a number of high-profile ransomware attacks proving the far-reaching effects of security breaches. Federal government agencies and private businesses alike are taking notice; in fact, the recent executive order on cybersecurity issued by President Biden is specifically aimed at increasing security standards across the federal government.

This increased emphasis on security at a national level is certainly a motivator for all organizations to evaluate and update their security. However, the even more pressing reason why you should focus on cybersecurity is to protect your business from the very real cyber threats that can harm your organization.

Good security is more than just checking off a box; it’s an essential risk management strategy for your business’s growth and stability.

Recent Cyber Attacks Cause Concern

The recent Colonial Pipeline hack was the latest in a pattern of increasing cyber attacks which prompted the president to release the order. This ransomware attack on the biggest petroleum pipeline in the country led to gasoline shortages and a $4.4 million payout, although $2.3 million was recovered afterward by the FBI.

Expensive ransomware attacks like this one are on the rise; Harvard Business Review states that ransomware attacks were up 150 percent in 2020.

Other significant cyber attacks that have occurred in the first quarter of 2021 alone include one against CNA Financial, one of the largest US cyber insurance firms; the attack on a Florida water supplier, which attempted to essentially poison a city’s water; and a global Microsoft Exchange attack that exploited four zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Exchange Server, affecting an estimated nine government agencies and 60,000 private businesses.

These types of attacks prove the importance of security—and not only for those in the DoD supply chain, or even just the federal government.

The recent high-profile attacks spurred President Biden to release an executive order in May ordering federal agencies to take specific steps to increase cybersecurity within the next few months.

How CMMC and the Executive Order Answer the Need for Security

The CMMC framework is a thorough method of standardizing cybersecurity preparedness throughout the Department of Defense and its supply chain. This specifically includes implementing best practices that will safeguard confidential information and secure endpoints against unauthorized users. The Department of Defense (DoD) evaluates defense contractors’ eligibility for contracts based on the implementation of these practices.

Inputs from other cybersecurity standards such as DFARS and NIST also guide the MMC certification process, as well as the new standards ordered by President Biden’s May executive order on cybersecurity.

These frameworks guide the cybersecurity practices of federal agencies to ensure that the proper tools, policies, and practices are being used.

Why Should You Maintain CMMC Compliance?

There has been a major push over the past year and a half for businesses in the DoD supply chain to prepare for and now achieve CMMC compliance, punctuated by tight deadlines such as those set by last year’s Interim Rule. Contractors have focused on maintaining compliance with each step as it’s provided in order to remain eligible for government contracts.

Although losing out on contracts is a valid concern, it’s not the only reason why you should be CMMC compliant; the truth is that right now, every business should be looking at improving their security whether or not the government specifically told them to.

The landscape of cyber threats is changing, and those who remain unprepared to protect themselves against powerful threats like ransomware continually face greater risk of suffering financially devastating cyber attacks.

Following CMMC strengthens your security, protects your data, and reduces financial risks. Even if you’re not a contractor or don’t fall under regulations that require compliance with CMMC, it’s smart to follow a thorough security framework like NIST to protect your business. 

As a DoD contractor, staying ahead of CMMC compliance means you receive:

  • Protection from Cyber Attacks—Ransomware has become an increasing threat lately for nearly every type of organization, and contractors in the federal defense supply chain often hold particularly sensitive information that is a specific target of cyber criminals. Complying with CMMC ensures you maintain the highest levels of protection against these attacks.
  • Proactive Security—When you receive a CMMC assessment, a third party will have an outside view of your security and will often see issues that you’ll miss. An outside team can make security a priority and find ways to improve what is already in place.

Preparation for Future Regulations—Regulatory requirements are constantly changing. Continually updating and managing CMMC compliance will enable your company to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to both regulations and best security practices to remain competitive as a business.