If your company works with the Department of Defense (DoD), chances are you will need to comply with the DOD's new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). This critical certification aims to ensure all contractors and companies in the defense supply chain maintain adequate cybersecurity practices.
Earning your CMMC certification requires undergoing a comprehensive audit by an accredited CMMC Third Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO). These audits analyze all aspects of a company's cybersecurity policies, systems, and processes to assign a CMMC level ranging from 1 to 5.
Preparing thoroughly for your CMMC audit is crucial to demonstrate your adherence to CMMC requirements during assessment. As a partner assisting defense contractors with CMMC readiness, here are some key steps we recommend companies take to get ready for CMMC audits:
Understand CMMC principles and requirements
First, understand the core principles and maturity processes outlined across the 5 CMMC levels. Study the model requirements and domains like access control, asset management, recovery, and others that CMMC covers. Identify any gaps where your policies and systems may fall short so you can address them before assessment.
Create and organize CMMC compliance documentation
The C3PAO auditors will need to review documentation showing how your organization meets CMMC standards. Gather policies, procedures, diagrams, risk assessments, and other artifacts demonstrating CMMC alignment. Organize documentation into a structured CMMC binder or digital system for easy auditor access.
Formalize and test incident response plans
A big part of CMMC focuses on incident response and recovery capabilities. Formally document your plans and procedures for detecting, responding to, and recovering from cyber incidents. Make sure to test these procedures regularly and maintain evidence like test results.
Train employees on cybersecurity practices
Your workforce is a critical part of CMMC readiness. Provide comprehensive cybersecurity and data protection training to all employees. Educate staff on cyber risks, safe internet usage, phishing avoidance, proper data handling, using securely configured systems, and reporting responsibilities.
Confirm third party compliance
CMMC also requires oversight of third parties like contractors and partners that handle your company's data. Collect artifacts from vendors, partners, and suppliers to validate their compliance with CMMC controls. Maintain an inventory of third parties along with CMMC evidence.
Perform internal CMMC audits
Prior to your C3PAO audit, conduct internal audits against CMMC standards. Identify and remediate gaps uncovered in these practice audits. Perform tabletop exercises to confirm incident response plans. Dress rehearsals will help fine tune readiness.
Implement Improvements as Needed
If any shortcomings surface during preparation, take corrective action to implement needed improvements. Strengthen vulnerable areas like access management, asset hardening, logging practices, or security training. The goal is to perform any remediation before the C3PAO audit.
Choose a qualified C3PAO
When selecting your CMMC Third Party Assessment Organization, confirm they have the proper accreditation and auditing expertise. Check their experience conducting CMMC assessments for other organizations similar to yours.
Preparing for your first CMMC audit can feel daunting. You want to clearly demonstrate how your cybersecurity policies, systems, and processes align with every CMMC requirement. The thought of auditors scrutinizing your company keeps you up at night.
The good news is that with the right preparation, you can absolutely ace your CMMC audit. Our team at It's Just Results helped numerous defense contractors implement robust cybersecurity programs and pass their audits with flying colors. We’re here to guide you each step of the way—from understanding CMMC principles to formalizing your documentation to training your staff. Together, we’ll identify any gaps early, so you can strengthen your security posture before auditors ever knock on your door. I’m confident with our support, you’ll sail through your CMMC assessment. Your critical DoD contracts will be secured, and you’ll join the ranks of CMMC certified organizations. This achievement will give your company such a competitive edge. Let’s get your audit ready!