The Department of Defense (DOD) is dramatically increasing its digital security expectations for defense contractors and subcontractors. Having been on both sides of the partnership between government and the public sector, I am happy to see DOD is not only raising the bar on cybersecurity but also providing guidance on the implementation of cybersecurity best practices within the defense industrial base.
The coronavirus is not stopping the U.S. Defense Department from proceeding with work on the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), and it shouldn’t slow down industry in doing the same. Although some of the public hearings that should have taken place by now have been delayed because of the pandemic, the CMMC team continues to train and get the word out about rules changes.
The success of the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) will hinge largely on diverse types of contractors sharing information and following security standards, said a panel of experts exploring CMMC ramifications. Speaking at AFCEA’s Virtual CMMC Symposium, the government officials emphasized that the CMMC will be both an opportunity and an obligation to the defense community
To truly ensure the principle of one person, one vote, the American electoral infrastructure should adopt security protocols similar to those used in the cybersecurity industry. Electoral management should be conducted using variations on the techniques employed for financial systems and national security data. Unfortunately, today’s U.S. voting mechanisms at all levels as well as national policy would not pass even the most rudimentary information assurance audit.
Companies should not be intimidated by the multitiered Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), says a panel of experts. The new system is geared for companies to approach it methodically as they learn more about its implementation and requirements.
In a remote session hosted by AFCEA’s Virtual CMMC Symposium, the panelists encouraged companies to proceed through its steps and seek advice from others, particularly prime contractors. Janey Nodeen, president, Burke Consortium Inc., said, “There is a path to success. It’s not as hard as you think, and at the end of the day it’s very, very valuable to your company.
“It is very much a crawl-walk-run approach, and don’t overthink it,” she added.
Ensuring the sanctity of defense information goes beyond keeping secrets from the enemy: it also brings to light vulnerabilities in the supply chain. One of the key tenets of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is to guarantee the sanctity of the supply chain in a time when data is particularly in peril.
A keynote fireside discussion group at AFCEA’s Virtual CMMC Symposium looked at the threats posed to the supply chain in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Bob Kolasky, director, National Risk Management Center, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security, provided a powerful presentation in which he pulled no punches about the threat.
“The time is now” for companies to begin implementation of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) measures, said the chief information security officer for defense acquisition. Katie Arrington, speaking at AFCEA’s Virtual CMMC Symposium, told participants that many CMMC tenets constitute good practices that can—and should—be implemented even before the CMMC is formalized.
“Let’s not wait until it’s required; let’s do it now,” Arrington said. “The time is now.” She added that the country loses $600 billion a year to adversaries, and practicing basic cyber hygiene methods that will be part of CMMC level 1 standards will help companies immensely.
Adapting to great power competition requires improved acquisition operations, and the U.S. Defense Department's acquisition headquarters has been busy revamping contracting practices. The efforts are succeeding in reducing contracting burdens, timelines and workforce hours, and is bringing in more innovation into the DOD, its top leader reports.
With the U.S. Defense Department’s new cybersecurity verification requirements set to go into effect later this year, the Pentagon gets high marks from cybersecurity professionals for finally addressing the lack of contractor security, but experts also express doubts about the aggressive schedule and the potential for unintended consequences.
The phased approach to rolling out the Defense Department’s cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) is accelerating with the department’s issuance of training guides late next month, said a department official. Stacy S. Bostjanick, director of CMMC policy, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, recently described how that and other steps are part of the foundation for the five-year effort.
Speaking at an AFCEA NOVA Chapter luncheon, Bostjanick described how the CMMC will begin rolling out 15 practices in 2020-21, followed by 75 in 2022, 250 in 2023, 479 in 2024 and another 479 in 2025. The progressive program will increase complexity with higher levels of certification.