Companies that want to work with the Department of Defense (DoD) need to ramp up their cybersecurity to protect service members and American citizens worldwide. In practice, this means implementing certified security frameworks like the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), published by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD–A&S). CMMC compliance software tools are necessary investments to get started.
Top CMMC Compliance Software Tools
Working with the DoD makes your company a vital part of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) sector, a supply chain that contributes to all Americans’ safety. To lock down the “preferred contractor” status that you’ll need for a long and lucrative relationship with the DoD, you’ll need to implement the many complex controls of the CMMC.
In this guide, we’ll break down the most critical tools by answering two simple questions:
- What does CMMC compliance entail, and what must a useful tool provide?
- Which available tools and services are best suited for CMMC compliance?
With this information, you’ll know exactly what you need to complete your journey toward CMMC certification.
What Does CMMC Compliance Require?
When adopting CMMC compliance software, it’s critical to understand what each framework aims to accomplish first and what controls it requires to meet its security goals.
Put simply; the CMMC exists to safeguard two sensitive forms of data prevalent across the DIB: federal contract information (FCI) and controlled unclassified information (CUI). This builds upon requirements set out in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), clause 252.204-7012, and NIST’s Special Publication (SP) 800-171.
To meet this purpose, the CMMC collects together and builds upon these and other frameworks’ requirements. It comprises 171 “Practices” distributed across 17 “Domains” and in service of 43 “Capabilities,” all analogous to similar controls in DFARS and SP 800-171. Unlike NIST and DFARS, however, CMMC allows for gradual adoption of all these controls over five “Maturity Levels.” Let’s take a closer look at the breakdown of controls within each domain.
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Cybersecurity Domains and Practices
Currently, in version 1.02 (March 2020), the CMMC is available for free download from the OUSD(A&S). Its core, sourced and adapted from the current edition, breaks down as follows:
- Access Control (AC) – Restricting access to FCI and CUI via authentication and management of user account, credentials, etc. (four Capabilities, 26 Practices)
- Asset Management (AM) – Governing inventory management for physical, digital, and other assets connected to or containing FCI/CUI (two Capabilities, two Practices)
- Audit and Accountability (AU) – Requiring regular auditing of security measures to foster accountability across the entire organization (four Capabilities, 14 Practices)
- Awareness and Training (AT) – Specifying regular intervals and other protocols for staff security training, including topics covered and assessment (two Capabilities, five Practices)
- Configuration Management (CM) – Requiring replacement of all default security settings with more robust, custom configurations (two Capabilities, 11 Practices)
- Identification and Authentication (IA) – Building on AC, governing user account settings, including Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), etc. (one Capability, 11 Practices)
- Incident Response (IR) – Defining a programmatic, real-time response to slow, stop, recover from, and prevent future security incidents (five Capabilities, 13 Practices)
- Maintenance (MA) – Governing protocols and scheduling for both routine and special maintenance of all sensitive hardware and software (one Capability, six Practices)
- Media Protection (MP) – Safeguarding use, movement, and disposal of sensitive media containing or otherwise connected to FCI and CUI (four Capabilities, eight Practices)
- Personnel Security (PS) – Securing recruitment, hiring, and retention of staff, and termination and other personnel movement practices (two Capabilities, two Practices)
- Physical Protection (PE) – Restricting access to physical devices and workstations, as well as defined perimeters critical to cybersecurity (one Capability, six Practices)
- Recovery (RE) – Defining the programmatic approach to recovery and continuity of service during and after attacks and other cybersecurity events (two Capabilities, four Practices)
- Risk Management (RM) – Defining a programmatic approach to the identification, analysis, and mitigation of threats, vulnerabilities, and risks (three Capabilities, 12 Practices)
- Security Assessment (CA) – Defining baseline requirements for regular assessments, independent of (and building on) AU requirements (three Capabilities, eight Practices)
- Situational Awareness (SA) – Governing expectations for staff’s awareness of security environment and risks impacting the entire industry or sector (one Capability, three Practices)
- Systems and Communications Protection (SC) – Ensuring safe transmissions of FCI and CUI across internal and external networks (two Capabilities, 27 Practices)
- System and Information Integrity (SI) – Governing procedures to guarantee the integrity and proper functioning of cybersecurity infrastructure (four Capabilities, 13 Practices)
Which CMMC Compliance Tools Are Most Effective?
The best compliance tools relate directly to the controls listed above, such as MFA services for AC requirements or training software for AT requirements. In practice, most companies will find significant value in all-in-one software and toolkits with scalable solutions for all certification processes. RSI Security’s suite of CMMC compliance advisory services is designed to get you certified at any level, no matter your current security.
For companies just starting on the road to DoD contracting, we begin with gap assessment and patch reporting, so you know exactly what needs to be installed (and how). Then, we’ll work with your IT team to build out any infrastructure or practices you’ll need per level. Finally, as a Certified Third-Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO) accredited by the CMMC Accreditation Body, we are capable of verifying your company’s model maturity when the time is right.
For companies looking for a la carte services, two particular cybersecurity areas are most impactful as software and toolkit solutions: vulnerability and incident management.Download our CMMC Whitepaper: Best Cybersecurity Practices for DoD Contractors
Threat And Vulnerability Management
One of the most essential parts of an effective cybersecurity architecture is a programmatic approach to threat and vulnerability management. These tools monitor, analyze, and mitigate risks up to CMMC requirements.
Whether your company handles this critical area of cyberdefense internally or externally, it needs to cover the following preventive threat and vulnerability management practices:
- Inventory monitoring and analysis for all cyber assets, users, and behaviors
- Collection and mobilization of threat intelligence from across your industry
- Implementation of third-party risk management (TPRM) for special threats
- Routine and special event risk and vulnerability assessments (and logs)
- Integration into infrastructure, including detection and response
- Comprehensive penetration testing and root cause analysis
Robust threat and vulnerability management through one or more pieces of software, apps, or individual toolkits is the best way to establish all the CMMC framework’s preventative controls.
Incident Response and Management
Prevention is an essential element of a robust cybersecurity program. However, it’s also only one Domain of the CMMC framework. Companies also need to prepare for attacks that occur, hence the importance of internal or external incident management.
Through software, and other tools, incident management must cover six essential components:
- Event identification – Immediate classification of an attack or other incident
- Incident inventory – Registration and tracking of threat
- Investigation process – Real-time analysis and planning for the mitigation stage
- Assignment of controls – Designation of individual and group responsibilities
- Security event resolution – Execution of planned incident response measures
- Customer satisfaction – Maintenance of satisfactory customer relationship
Like threat management, incident management is a flexible and scalable tool for compliance when tailored to your company’s needs and means.
How Can Professional CMMC Services Help?
The primary benefit of working with a professional service provider like RSI Security includes a streamlined, integrated security solution. We make even the most complex compliance aspects simple.
Plus, our service offerings span well beyond compliance into all elements of cybersecurity awareness, infrastructure, and maintenance. To see firsthand how CMMC compliance software and our experts’ collective decades of cybersecurity experience can benefit your company, contact RSI Security today!