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Five Steps to NIST 800-171 Compliance Submission

If you're looking to comply with NIST 800-171 and are overwhelmed by the requirements, there's a solution for you.


CMMC Level 3 certification requires third-party authorization

CMMC certification is a requirement for all DoD contractors. The exact requirements are laid out in the RFP, and contractors must be CMMC certified by the time they are awarded a contract. The deadlines for CMMC certification vary, so it's best to start the process early rather than wait until it is too late.

CMMC is composed of 110+ practices that are part of the NIST SP 800-171 requirements. These practices are further subdivided into capabilities. Organizations seeking certification must adhere to at least 110 of these practices. The infographic below highlights the number of practices associated with each level.

The higher CMMC certification levels enhance the ability of organizations to protect CUI while reducing the risk of advanced persistent threats, which execute multiple incursions in an organization. Basic cyber hygiene, which every company should practice, is part of CMMC. Level 1 certification requires implementation of seventeen controls that align with NIST SP 800-171 Rev2. Intermediate certification requires implementation of forty-six NIST SP 800-171 controls.

CMMC certification is mandatory for federal contractors. The federal government is particularly interested in this mandatory information security standard, and is pushing suppliers to comply with it. It considers the program an essential response to the growing threat of cybersecurity. Contractors are required to renew their certification every three years, and if they don't meet CMMC standards, they'll be disqualified from future DOD contracts.

The first step in CMMC certification is a Gap Analysis. It identifies potential security gaps and facilitates the creation of a Remediation Plan. It also enables DoD contractors to prioritize remediation steps. The Remediation Plan is then implemented, which prioritizes security measures and brings the contractor into CMMC compliance.

The certification process is rigorous and regulated, and a third-party authorization is essential for Level 3 certification. The process is conducted by an accredited C3PAO. The C3PAO will guide the organization through the entire assessment process and will review its results. After the pre-assessment, the C3PAO and the Quality Auditor will work together to verify that the organization's readiness matches the maturity level requirements. CMMC-AB will then give the organization 90 days to resolve any gaps identified in the formal assessment.

CMMC Level 3 certification requires third parties to assess a company's implementation of the NIST 800-171 standard. To maintain compliance, companies must undergo three annual third-party assessments to meet the requirements. To qualify for this certification, companies must hire C3PAOs that are accredited C3PAOs. They should also work with CMMC assessors that are certified by the NIST.

Requirements for CMMC Level 2 certification

There are several steps required to achieve CMMC Level 2 certification. The first step is to identify the scope of your organization. This includes a description of what your organization does not do, and 110 controls from NIST SP 800-171. The assessor will evaluate the controls based on NIST SP 800-171A, which outlines 320 assessment objectives. Some of the objectives are specific to a specific asset category, while others are more general and apply to multiple asset categories. The CMMC level 2 process is based on NIST SP 800-171 Rev 2, which groups these 110 controls into 14 domains.

The second step is to ensure that your security infrastructure is compliant. This includes taking steps to protect CUI, which is important for DoD compliance. In addition, the contractor must implement security controls to protect the network. Security controls should include three different levels of protection. Having a secure infrastructure is crucial to the overall security of your company, and it will be a major area of concern if you are trying to secure your information.

CMMC Level 2 certification is essential for contractors with DoD contracts. The contractor must be prepared to undergo a third-party assessment every three years. In addition, it must meet the security requirements in NIST SP 800-171 Rev2 and NIST SP 800-172. Moreover, the organization should document its security controls. This documentation should be robust and comprehensive.

The new requirements for the CMMC 2.0 standard also include the use of POAMs. POAMs were not allowed in CMMC 1.0 but are now allowed. POAMs are specific measures that correct deficiencies in an organization. A POAM should include the tasks and resources that must be performed to achieve the plan. The company should also know which controls are required for which tasks.

Organizations supporting DoD also need to ensure that they have good cybersecurity hygiene. However, many organizations won't be able to implement the large list of controls necessary for CMMC Level 2 certification. For this reason, many organizations are turning to managed security services providers that specialize in CMMC security solutions. These companies can take on the compliance burden for their organizations and help them stay in compliance.

Audit requirements for CMMC Level 2 certification

CMMC Level 2 certification requires an organization to implement a number of controls to meet its standards. These controls are more detailed than the requirements for CMMC Level 1 certification, and they must be properly implemented to ensure the security of confidential user information (CUI). This certification process can take anywhere from nine to 18 months, depending on maturity. To ensure a successful audit, an organization must follow five specific steps.

CMMC Level 2 certification requires an audit by a third party. This assessment must be performed by an accredited C3PAO or CMMC Assessor. The audit must show that a company complies with the initial 17 practices and an additional 93 practices from NIST 800-171 and NIST SP 800-172. In addition, the company must undergo an external DIBCAC audit to prove that it has met the requirements for Level 2 certification.

CMMC 2.0 differs from NIST SP 800-171 in several ways. For one thing, CMMC 2.0 requires detailed documentation to prove compliance. As a result, organizations that handle CUI may have an advantage when it comes to CMMC Level 2 compliance. However, defense contractors without this certification may face trouble bidding on defense contracts.

The new CMMC 2.0 program has three levels of certification. The first level is the foundational level. The next two levels are the advanced and expert levels. These levels are determined by DoD contracts. These contracts usually require the contractor to maintain compliance with CMMC 2.0. If the organization meets the CMMC 2.0 requirements, it will be able to use POAMs in place of some critical security controls.

Another important part of CMMC certification is the implementation of policies. Organizations must develop policies in 15 domains. These policies are not required to be individually authored, but instead should be grouped together. However, it's recommended that organizations develop a high-level policy. This policy is intended to set expectations about the planning and performance of the process. It also includes regulatory guidelines.

While a CMMC 2.0 audit may be difficult to prepare for, it can be beneficial to consult with a CMMC assessment firm before the assessment. This way, they will tell you what to expect and how to prepare for the audit. The CMMC 2.0 process will change the pass/fail approach and replace it with Plan of Actions and Milestones (POA&M). Although no one knows how severe a POA&M will be, it's important to understand that multiple POA&Ms can lead to higher severity findings.

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