What Manufacturers Need to Know About CMMC Compliance

If your manufacturing firm or business wishes to capture some of the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) $773 billion annual budget, it’s important to take not that the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) will be a mandatory requirement for all DoD contractors by Fiscal Year 2026.  

As technology advances, so does the risk of cyberattacks. According to a recent IBM report, the manufacturing industry was the most targeted industry for cyberattacks in 2021, dethroning the previously top-ranked financial services and insurance industries. While phishing reigned as the most common cause of cyberattack, IBM saw that a 33% increase in attacks was caused by the vulnerable exploitation of unpatched software and that ransomware actors relied more on vulnerability exploitation than any other entry point to carry out their attacks, accounting for 44% of ransomware attacks. 

CMMC Compliance is a set of guidelines put in place by the Defense Department to help protect businesses from these attacks. By implementing CMMC guidelines, businesses can help protect their customers, their data, and their reputation.

Why are Cybercriminals Targeting the Manufacturing Industry? 

Intelligence analysts suspect that the manufacturing industry became a particularly juicy target for criminals because of the high uptime requirements for operations and the high likelihood of lucrative payout. 

As of January 2022, Chainalysis determined in their most recent Crypto Crime Report, that over $692 million in ransomware payments were made – nearly double the amount they initially identified at the time of writing the previous year’s report. 

To make matters worse, cybercriminals are beginning to target cloud environments. The IBM report showed that there was a 146% increase in new Linux ransomware code and that there has been a shift to Docker-focused targeting. The increased use of cloud environments makes it easier for more threat actors to maliciously leverage these platforms. 

 What is CMMC Compliance? 

CMMC Compliance is the process of adhering to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) framework to protect your organization from cyber-attacks. The CMMC framework was developed by the Department of Defense to provide a set of standards for organizations participating in the DoD supply chain. The goal of CMMC is to improve the protection of sensitive government information and the reliability of the supply chain. 

By adhering to the CMMC framework, you can ensure that your organization is taking the necessary steps to protect its data and sensitive government data from malicious actors.  

CMMC v.1.0 vs 2.0 

Version 1 of CMMC was released in Janaury of 2020. It was a set of guidelines designed to help organizations protect their data and systems from cyber threats. The CMMC v1.0 was divided into five levels, with each level providing increasing levels of protection.  

The Department of Defense made changes to their Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) in response to feedback it received. To reduce costs and red tape, especially for small businesses, increase trust in the CMMC ecosystem, and align cybersecurity requirements to other federal requirements and commonly accepted standards, the DoD released CMMC 2.0 in November of 2021.  

The biggest change between CMMC v1.0 and v2.0 is the reduction in the number of maturity levels from five to three. These three levels directly correlate to other federal requirements already in place. They are:  

  • Level 1: The majority of contractors associated with Level 1—and a subset of Level 2 programs—will be allowed to perform annual DIB self-assessments. 
  • Level 2: While contractors with non-prioritized acquisitions will need to complete and report a CMMC Level 2 self-assessment and submit senior official affirmations to SPRS, those with prioritized acquisitions will be responsible for obtaining triennial third-party assessments and certification prior to a contract being awarded. 
  • Level 3: All Level 3 contractors will require triennial assessments conducted by government officials. 

For a more in-depth overview of the CMMC requirements, visit the DoD Acquisition & Sustainment website.  

Who Needs to be CMMC Certified? 

CMMC is a requirement for anyone who interacts with the DoD supply chain. This means that if you work with or supply any US military-related organization, you must be certified to do so. The certification process is rigorous, and it ensures that everyone who works with the DOD is compliant with the latest cybersecurity standards. This applies to not only DoD prime contractors but to sub-contractors as well, including suppliers of products. 

Currently, CMMC applies only to DoD projects, however, other federal agencies have begun adopting CMMC as part of their purchasing processes. Due to cyberattacks and other supply chain issues, it is reasonable to expect that companies will begin to impose CMMC-like requirements in the near future. 

Why is CMMC Compliance Important? 

The reason why the CMMC certification process is so important is that the DoD relies on a secure supply chain. If even one link in the chain is compromised, it could have serious consequences. That’s why CMMC was created: to help ensure the safety and security of the DOD’s supply chain. 

CMMC compliance is important for any organization or individual that operates or handles sensitive information, even outside of DoD contracts. The certification ensures that all parties involved are taking the necessary precautions to protect data from unauthorized access or theft.  

Conclusion 

By taking the necessary steps to improve your cybersecurity posture, you can reduce the risk of being targeted by malicious actors.  

Digital Boardwalk is authorized by The Cyber AB as a Registered Practitioner Organization (RPO), strengthening its ability to deliver comprehensive CMMC services that enable clients to prepare for and maintain certification. Digital Boardwalk is among the first to become an authorized RPO in the CMMC ecosystem. 

Digital Boardwalk has been defending organizations from advanced and persistent cyber threats through the implementation of the NIST 800-171 and CMMC objectives since 2017. Read more about Digital Boardwalk’s CMMC strategy here: CMMC Simplified – Pensacola, Lakeland, Panama City | Digital Boardwalk, Inc. 

If you want to learn more about CMMC compliance and how a mature managed service provider can help you become certified, schedule a call to learn more. We can help answer questions and assess your organization’s needs and develop a plan to get compliant.