CMMC certification with a KISS in seven steps
KISS—Keep It Simple, Stupid—is a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. In other words, simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.
When the Pentagon announced major changes to its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, called “CMMC 2.0,” on Nov. 4, it simplified the certification process for companies in the defense industrial base (DIB). Changes include reducing the levels of certification from 5 to 3, eliminating some needs for third-party assessments, and aligning requirements more closely with the established controls and checklists the government has been using to secure its systems for years.
The CMMC Accreditation Body (CMMC-AB) is determining changes—and may continue to do so until late 2023. By aligning requirements with the NIST-171, Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs) and Center for Internet Security, (CIS) benchmarks, the government will work to simplify securing controlled unclassified information (CUI) at Levels 2 and 3 and allows you to leverage proven automation software to make compliance even easier to attain and maintain.
SteelCloud’s ConfigOS is the leading automation tool the Department of Defense (DoD) uses to harden its systems and data against cyberattacks. However, you may be surprised to find that automation does more than just save time and effort. Read on and take a look at our Top Seven Reasons to Automate your CMMC 2.0 compliance.
1: Reduce the skills gap within your organization.
Without automation, your organization may need to hire a specialist to ensure your CMMC 2.0 requirements are met. At Levels 2 and 3, those specialists are expensive and very hard to find. Automating STIGs and other requirements reduce talent acquisition costs, allowing you to use the people you already have on staff.
2: Reduce the cost and effort to comply with CMMC mandates.
Instead of needing to figure out security configurations on your own, using NIST-approved checklists and automated mitigation can cut your compliance costs by as much as 90% and significantly increase your return on investment.
3: Implement a compliant infrastructure.
To achieve Foundational Level compliance with CMMC 2.0, the DoD outlines 17 basic practices contractors must meet and requires only self-attestation as proof of compliance at Level 1.
Level 2, the Advanced Level, increases the required practices to 110, aligning with the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) special publication (SP) 800-171. Level 3 will now comply with NIST-172 practices. These changes allow companies to rely on automation tools that have been in use in the government for years, such as automated scanning, remediation and continuous monitoring of controls!
4: Provide continual compliance assurance.
The most challenging part of compliance isn’t getting compliant, however. It’s staying compliant. Automating security configuration control settings and updating gets you compliant and keeps you compliant. With the continuous monitoring and remediation of a tool like ConfigOS, you can easily maintain a compliant environment with no fuss.
5: Standardize processes for consistency.
Let’s face it. Humans make errors and can be unpredictable in the quality of work they perform. However, your software gets it right every time, and you know can consistent results on the back end. By automating scanning, remediation, and documentation, you create a repeatable process that reduces human error and risk.
6: Simplify the ingestion of new policy updates.
A couple of things happen when employees manually handle processes. First, their productivity decreases as they focus on mindless manual tasks, impacting accuracy and productivity. As a result, your security processes won’t mature at scale.
Reducing the initial hardening time by 90% and ongoing STIG compliance effort by more than 70% gives your team the time and freedom to ingest and implement new policy updates. In addition, automation technologies remove the barriers to maintaining STIG, CIS, and NIST compliance while reducing the staffing and time costs associated with system hardening. And they help keep you in control of the processes when you are not always flying by the seat of your pants.
7: Centralize ongoing compliance management.
In the spirit of KISS, maintaining a centralized approach to compliance management reduces complexities. When you operate in silos, you’re prone to wasteful spending, increased risk, and other unnecessary business challenges. Centralizing operations with automation at the core gives you complete visibility into your compliance actions, streamlines effort and minimizes drift.
Seal your CMMC certification with a KISS.
Matthew Travis, who leads the CMMC-AB, sums it up like this: “Ultimately, we want the CMMC certification to be the badge of credibility within the federal acquisition, where if you have CMMC certification, you are showing your client base, your employers, and your competitors, you take cybersecurity seriously.” To the authorities, it’s about more than just compliance. It’s about showing your government clients that you are united against cyberthreats with them…that their mission is a big part of yours.
Automation will make that a lot more possible for you, enabling you to speed through requirements with more accuracy and less effort than ever before. The #1 tool the DoD uses to do that for themselves is ConfigOS. Give us an hour, and we’ll show you how to achieve compliance in less than a day, sealing your CMMC certification with a KISS.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions as we move closer to CMMC compliance.
For more changes and frequent updates, visit https://www.acq.osd.mil/cmmc/index.html