The purpose of the CMMC is the same as that of the DFARS: to preserve the controlled unclassified information (CUI) that DoD vendors hold. As a result, the CMMC works inside a paradigm that is based on current DFARS criteria. It consists of five tiers that DoD suppliers go through to improve their ability to safeguard federal contract information (FCI) and commercial user information (CUI).
The CMMC levels and the cybersecurity protocols and practices that go with them are progressive. This implies that to be certified at a certain CMMC level, you must complete all of the standards for the levels before it as if you were applying for certification at all of them. Instead of going through accreditations many times, candidates can apply for a certification level of their choice once. Here, CMMC consulting Virginia Beach can help you understand the intricacies of CMMC.
To obtain CMMC Level 2 qualification, you must meet the cybersecurity procedures and practices necessary for Levels 1 and 2. Furthermore, you must show both Level 2 and Level 3 cybersecurity procedures and practices. For instance, if you meet Level 2 for processes but not practices, you’ll only be qualified for Level 1 certification.
Each CMMC level has a specific focus on ensuring that cybersecurity procedures and practices are aligned with the kind and sensitivity of data to be safeguarded. Only firms that reach CMMC Levels 3–5 can handle CUI, as demonstrated in the diagram above, with Levels 4 and 5 providing enhanced protection against advanced persistent threats (APTs). Those that obtain Level 1 or 2 certification, on the other hand, are merely required to obtain FCI, which implies they are exempt from full DFARS compliance.
Now, let’s break down each of the CMMC levels in detail.
CMMC Level 1
The maturity of the procedure is not yet evaluated at Level 1. Only the procedures indicated for this level must be followed to be certified. As a result, a CMMC Level 1 vendor’s cybersecurity maturity procedures may be inadequate or unreliable.
Practices: Cyber Hygiene for Beginners
Because Level 1 is concerned with securing FCI, you must comply with all 17 fundamental safeguarding standards set out in FAR 48 CFR 52.204-21.
CMMC Level 2
Processes are well-documented.
Standard operating procedures (SOPs), regulations, and implementation objectives that drive the execution of your CMMC initiatives must be established and documented at CMMC Level 2. You’ll be able to guarantee that your SOPs and policies are followed consistently if you have records.
Practices: Cyber Hygiene: Intermediate
In addition to the 17 cybersecurity activities mandated in Level 1, your CMMC consultant must implement a supplemental 55 practices, 48 of which are dependent on a fraction of the NIST SP 800-171 framework’s security standards. Applying this technological foundation is a step toward preventing CUI, and Level 2 focuses on this shift.
CMMC Level 3
Processes are well-managed.
You must develop, monitor, and present a strategy that describes how you will manage the adoption of the needed cybersecurity practices to become a CMMC Level 3 firm.
Practices: Cyber hygiene is essential.
At this level, you ought to be able to protect CUI by complying with all of the security standards outlined in NIST SP 800-171 and be completely DFARS compliant. You must also comply with all FAR 48 CFR 52.204-21 regulations as well as 20 additional cyber hygiene practices.
CMMC Level 4
Level 4 demands you to document, assess, and evaluate the efficacy of your cybersecurity measures. If your organization has a problem, your employees should be able to notify top management and take corrective action.
You must fulfill a subset of 11 security standards from the Draft NIST SP 800-171B as well as 15 extra cybersecurity recommended practices at CMMC Level 4 to defend CUI against APTs. This is in addition to all of the standards in the lower tiers of the CMMC.
Implementing all 156 practices at this level improves your industry’s detection and mitigation abilities, allowing you to successfully address and respond to APT tactics, strategies, and processes.
CMMC Level 5
To reach CMMC Level 5, your comprehensive firm must have standardized and efficient procedures in place.
Level 5 mandates you to implement 15 more cybersecurity practices, for a total of 171, after satisfying all of the standards of the earlier CMMC levels. As a result, your company’s ability to reject APTs grows in depth and complexity.