Outlining the CMMC Certification Process
The Pentagon maintains the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) will be in full effect by 2025. Of all the recent updates, that is most important signal to receive. CMMC’s unified standard will mandate a strong cybersecurity baseline for companies in the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), covering more than 350,000 organizations, and will become a requirement for any business seeking to bid for business in the DIB. While 2025 is more than 18 months away, changes to meet these requirements may be significant, requiring multiple budget cycles to plan and implement. Even with third-party assistance, organizations should plan for up to 24 months to work through all CMMC preparation tasks.
If the 2025 deadline wasn’t sufficiently motivating, the DoD expressed strong views about their expectation of the current state. Since CMMC 2.0 focuses on NIST 800-171 compliance which organizations have been attesting to for years, there will be no excuse to not being ready when CMMC is fully implemented. With this in mind, contract enforcement will be increased through the Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative. If businesses fail to adhere to the cybersecurity requirements specified in contracts, they could face loss of those contracts and steep fines under the False Claims Act.
With the need to start pursuing NIST 800-171 / CMMC compliance a business imperative for many companies, it’s time to examine the certification process from start to finish.
Step-By-Step: The CMMC Certification Process
The process steps to CMMC certification at a chosen level typically cover:
Review Your Contracts
Begin with a basic question: Does your organization have controlled unclassified information (CUI)? If yes, then you’ll need CMMC certification. Identify the CMMC level required for your organization to bid on DoD contracts. You should also choose a qualified vendor or Registered Practitioner Organization (RPO) to guide your organization through the entire process.
Develop a system security plan and conduct a self-assessment of NIST 800-171 standards. NIST 800-171 acts as a guide for CMMC compliance. If you’re addressing NIST standards, you’ve already essentially started the CMMC certification process. Based on the results, create a Plan of Actions and Milestones (PoAM) complete with target dates to achieve a maximum score of 110. Next, submit the score to the SPRS platform.
Obtain a Gap Assessment
While this is an optional step, strictly speaking, it’s still recommended. Working with your RPO you can schedule an assessment to find existing gaps in your information security processes. Take the analysis and use it to fix identified information security gaps by implementing recommended changes.
Undergo CMMC Assessment
This is the endpoint for your CMMC certification process. The assessment will consist of several phases of its own. Your organization will first need to find a CMMC 3rd Party Assessment Organization to conduct your certification assessment.
Planning — This includes gathering initial scope information, completing the artifact intake form, identifying assessment team members, developing a rough order of magnitude (ROM) and assessment plan, completing and approving the assessment plan and doing a readiness review.
Analysis & Review — This is the heart of the assessment with the C3PAO reviewing objective evidence related to CMMC practices, discussing preliminary findings, and then determining a final output. Based on the review, Cyber AB issues or denies certification based on the organization’s desired level.
Remediation — If the assessment finds that your organization falls short of the CMMC performance required, your RPO can request additional time to remedy the shortcomings. If approved, the business or organization has a 90-day clock to address any shortfalls.
After the assessment is complete, including any remediation steps, the Cyber AB reviews the assessment submitted by the C3PAO and makes a final decision on certification for your organization. If the assessment is approved, your organization is awarded a three-year CMMC certification.
Dial in on What’s Changed: CMMC 2.0 changed the number of compliance levels and more. Get insight into all the differences from Inversion6.
Tackle the CMMC Certification Process with Inversion6
For decades, Inversion6 has provided risk management solutions powered by our carefully chosen team of skilled cybersecurity professionals. We work as an extension of your own team and bring the full weight of our extensive MSSP services to leverage additional protection for your organization, including extensive insight into a wide range of cybersecurity compliance standards.
Inversion6 is the certified expert ready to take the pain out of your pursuit of CMMC assessments and compliance. As a CMMC RPO, we have the experience and knowledge to help guide your organization through every step of the CMMC certification process — from start to finish or by onboarding during the process to help navigate trouble spots.
- Conduct a gap assessment
- Register you with the SPRS portal
- Create your System Security Plan
- Build a Plan of Action & Milestones
- Form a remediation plan
- Maintain compliance and reporting
- Answer your questions throughout the process
The CMMC certification process can be complex, confusing, and resource-consuming. Connect with our team today to get the assistance needed to tackle the process with confidence.