Discover the Vital CMMC Compliance Requirements: What You Need to Know

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DoD Security Compliance, CUI, CMMC

How To Get Ready for CMMC Compliance Requirements

Learn how to get ready for CMMC requirements and identify your CMMC level, scope FCI and CUI, develop an SSP, and get certified. Get the help you need today!

As defense contractors, it is essential to understand the requirements of CMMC and how best to get ready for them. With multiple levels of certification, scope considerations for FCI and CUI, System Security Plans (SSPs), security measure implementation, and a detailed certification process – there are many steps involved in getting your organization compliant with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). In this article, we will help you identify your CMMC level, scope FCI and CUI correctly, and develop an SSP that meets standards set forth by NIST SP 800-171 guidelines and ITAR regulations while also providing insight into implementing necessary security measures as well as what's required during the certification process. Get ready for CMMC requirements today.

Understanding CMMC Requirements

Identifying your CMMC level is an important step in the process of being compliant. It's essential to understand this phase, so you can make sure that your organization meets all security requirements. To do this, you'll need to consider a few key factors.

First and foremost, think about what kind of data your organization works with and how it's stored or transmitted. This should give you some indication as to which CMMC level would be most appropriate for your company. You may also want to look at industry regulations and guidelines from other organizations in order to get a better understanding of where your business fits into the mix.

Finally, if needed, seek out guidance from experts who specialize in cybersecurity compliance. They can help guide you through the complexities of choosing the right CMMC level for your organization. With their assistance, you can ensure that your business is fully compliant and secure against any potential threats.

cmmc requirements

Understand CMMC requirements to protect your sensitive data & avoid costly fines. Get expert guidance for a secure defense industry business. #CMMC #CyberSecurity

Identifying Your CMMC Level

To identify their CMMC level, DIB companies must undergo an assessment and demonstrate their adherence to specific cybersecurity requirements. CMMC 2.0 has simplified this process by streamlining the model from five to three compliance levels that are aligned with NIST cybersecurity standards.

  • Level 1 is the most basic level and involves the implementation of basic cybersecurity practices, such as antivirus software and strong passwords. Companies at this level can demonstrate their compliance through self-assessment.
  • Level 2 is the intermediate level and requires demonstrating adherence to a specific set of practices and policies. The assessment can be carried out by certified third-party assessors or self-assessments, depending on the specified practices and policies.
  • Level 3 is the most comprehensive level and requires demonstrating compliance with all NIST requirements. This level mandates a full assessment by a certified third-party assessor.

The Department encourages companies to aim to achieve the highest possible level of certification, which aligns with the sensitivity of the information they handle. The level required by a company will depend on the information they handle and the contracts they have with the Department.

Time now to examine Scope FCI and CUI – two more critical components when it comes to ensuring cyber-protection readiness.

Scope FCI & CUI

Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) are two distinct categories of information that must be identified in order to comply with CMMC requirements. FCI is described as any data or information, regardless of form or structure, which the government provides to a contractor for use in completing an agreement. This includes all forms of unclassified data such as technical documents, financial records, personnel files, etc. CUI is defined as any information not intended for public release that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls pursuant to law or regulation. Examples include confidential business information, intellectual property rights and export-controlled data.

When determining if an organization handles FCI or/and CUI, it is important to understand what types of contracts they have with the federal government and what type of data those contracts require them to handle. Additionally, organizations should consider whether their internal systems contain sensitive customer information such as credit card numbers or other personal identifiable information that could fall under the definition of CUI if released without authorization. It is essential for organizations seeking certification to identify all sources of FCI and CUI so they can properly protect this sensitive data from unauthorized access or disclosure during the CMMC compliance process.

It is important to understand the scope of Federal Contract Information and Controlled Unclassified Information as these will be key components when creating a System Security Plan. With this knowledge, organizations can begin taking steps towards understanding what should be included in an SSP and how often it needs to be updated.

"Identifying FCI & CUI is essential for #CMMC compliance. Understand your contracts & data sources to ensure proper protection of sensitive info."

Conducting a System Security Plan (SSP)

Conducting a System Security Plan (SSP) is an important part of meeting CMMC compliance requirements. An SSP should be comprehensive and include all applicable security practices that meet CMMC standards. Regularly updating the SSP to ensure it is in line with current regulations and top-notch practices is essential.

When creating an SSP, it's important to include details about system access control, incident response plans, data backup and recovery procedures, physical security measures, vulnerability management processes, malware protection strategies, user education programs, and other pertinent information. Additionally, organizations should review their network architecture for potential weaknesses or vulnerabilities in order to identify any areas that need improvement before submitting their plan for CMMC certification.

Organizations should also consider how often they need to update their SSPs in order to remain compliant with changing regulations or industry best practices. Organizations should routinely evaluate their SSPs on a yearly basis to keep up with emerging risks and technology developments. This can be done by having regular meetings with staff members who are responsible for maintaining the system’s security posture as well as conducting periodic assessments of the organization’s systems and networks.

Ensuring compliance with all pertinent regulations can be accomplished by adhering to the directives for designing a System Security Plan. The next step in preparing for CMMC requirements is to get certified; this article will discuss the steps and cost considerations involved in obtaining certification.

Key Takeaway: Creating a System Security Plan (SSP) is essential for achieving CMMC compliance and must be regularly updated to stay ahead of changing regulations or industry best practices. Organizations should review their network architecture for potential weaknesses, update the SSP at least once every 12 months, and conduct periodic assessments in order to maintain their system's security posture.

Getting Certified

Organizations seeking to meet CMMC certification requirements must first understand the steps involved in obtaining certification. Depending on the level of certification required, organizations may need to obtain third-party assessment organizations for higher-level certifications while self-assessments can work for Level 1 certification.

When preparing for assessments, cost considerations are an important factor. Organizations should budget for expenses related to compliance, including instruction, consulting costs and any other potential outlays that could come up during the process. It is also important to consider any additional resources needed to ensure that all applicable security practices are reviewed before vulnerability scans or other tests are conducted.

To begin a CMMC assessment, organizations must provide evidence of their current cybersecurity posture by submitting an SSP (System Security Plan). This document outlines all necessary information about their system including its architecture, access controls, security measures in place and procedures used when responding to incidents or threats. Once submitted, assessors will review this document thoroughly and then proceed with a series of tests designed to evaluate the organization’s compliance with CMMC requirements at each level of maturity.

Once these documents have been approved, the organization can apply for accreditation from a recognized CMMC Accreditation Body (AB). Organizations must be ready to present their best case when applying for the accreditation and guarantee that all pertinent security protocols are checked prior to sending in their request. They must also ensure they have documentation showing how they meet certain criteria outlined by DFARS 252-204-7012 such as identifying personnel with access rights, implementing physical safeguards, establishing audit trails and protecting against malicious code. By doing so, organizations will be able to give themselves the green light in taking their compliance process to the next level. 

Once certified, organizations should continue to monitor their security posture regularly as regulations change over time and new vulnerabilities emerge constantly. Doing so will help them remain compliant with government standards while ensuring their customers' data remains secure at all times.

Navigating the certification procedure can be a daunting task, yet it is imperative to guarantee your organization satisfies all essential criteria. To get started on the right foot and make sure you are prepared for any assessments that may come up, review our readiness assessment checklist.

Key Takeaway: Organizations should plan ahead and allocate funds for all compliance-related expenses, such as training, consulting fees and more. They must also provide evidence of their current cybersecurity posture with an SSP before submitting a CMMC application to the accreditation body; once certified they must keep up with changing regulations by regularly monitoring their security posture

Readiness Assessment Checklist

When preparing for any CMM certification, it is essential to review all applicable security practices before undergoing a vulnerability scan. This Readiness Assessment Checklist helps organizations assess their preparedness and make sure they have taken the necessary steps to achieve compliance.

Organizations seeking CMM certification must first understand the requirements of CMMC Level 1 Certification and ensure that all applicable cybersecurity measures are in place. This includes establishing an incident response plan, implementing access control policies, conducting regular system scans, and monitoring user activity logs. Organizations should inspect their systems for any susceptibilities or flaws that could be taken advantage of by hostile actors.

Businesses should also consider the cost associated with obtaining certification when preparing for assessments. Depending on the size of the organization and its current level of security maturity, costs can vary greatly from one assessment to another. It’s important to factor these costs into your budget so you don’t end up overspending during the process of achieving compliance with regulations such as CMMC or DFARS 252-204-7012 (NIST SP 800-171).

Small business owners can take the bull by the horns and partner up with experienced consultants to ensure they meet their regulatory obligations without sacrificing data integrity or confidentiality standards outlined in existing federal contractor regulations for defense industrial base (DIB) networks. With knowledgeable guidance, these businesses can effectively implement security controls required for certifications such as CMMC Level 1 Certification or NIST SP 800-171 Compliance Program despite any resource or expertise limitations.

Readiness Assessment Checklist is a crucial step to ensure that your organization meets all the security requirements before beginning vulnerability scans. Small businesses may encounter difficulties in attaining conformity with standards, so it is important to evaluate these issues when trying to comprehend how they can effectively meet security demands.

Key Takeaway: To ensure success in achieving CMMC certification, businesses should thoroughly review applicable security practices and understand the associated costs. Partnering with experienced consultants can help small business owners efficiently implement necessary security controls for certifications like CMMC or NIST SP 800-171 without breaking a sweat.

Challenges faced by Small Businesses during Compliance Process

Small businesses face unique challenges when it comes to complying with the CMMC and other regulations. Small business proprietors may find it difficult to afford the expense of meeting CMMC and other regulations due to their limited resources in comparison with bigger entities. However, there are ways that small companies can minimize costs while still ensuring compliance.

One way is by taking advantage of existing security tools and processes already in place within their organization. Many times these will satisfy many of the requirements needed for certification without having to invest in additional solutions or services. Additionally, utilizing internal staff instead of hiring outside consultants may also help reduce costs associated with achieving certification.

Another option is to look into free or low-cost third-party assessment organizations (3PAOs) that specialize in helping smaller businesses achieve compliance at an affordable rate. These 3PAOs have extensive experience working with small companies and understand their unique needs and challenges better than larger firms might. Furthermore, they typically offer discounted rates for smaller organizations compared to what large corporations would pay for similar services from bigger consulting firms.

Adhering to regulations is an imperative for small businesses in order to safeguard their operations, though the process can be challenging. Grasping the effects of disregarding regulations and the hazards that come with not meeting obligatory rules is essential for companies to remain in compliance.


Key Takeaway: Small businesses can save money on achieving CMMC certification by leveraging existing security tools and processes, utilizing internal staff instead of external consultants, or enlisting the help of affordable third-party assessment organizations. By utilizing these cost-effective solutions, small businesses can fulfill their compliance needs without incurring substantial expenses.

Consequences Of Non-compliance With Regulations

Failure to observe regulations can bring serious repercussions for defense contractors, particularly small firms. The risks associated with not adhering to the requirements of CMMC, DFARS, NIST SP 800-171 and ITAR are significant and should be taken seriously.

Failing to comply with these standards can result in loss of contracts or even business closure. Organizations that fail to achieve certification may be excluded from bidding on government contracts or other opportunities where security is a requirement. Additionally, organizations found non-compliant could face hefty fines and penalties as well as public humiliation if their violations become known.

Organizations must take proactive measures to ensure they are compliant with all relevant regulations prior to bidding on new projects or renewing existing ones. This includes conducting regular system security plan (SSP) reviews and vulnerability scans; understanding the scope of Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI); consulting experts in CMMC, DFARS, NIST SP 800-171 and ITAR compliance; obtaining third party assessments from accredited CMM Certification Third Party Assessment Organizations (C3PAOs); reviewing readiness assessment checklists; budgeting for costs associated with preparation for certifications; having an incident response plan on standby; implementing employee training programs related to cybersecurity practices as well as regularly monitoring access controls & data flows within systems & networks etc., All these measures will help organizations prepare themselves adequately when it comes time to seek certification levels 1 through 3 under the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program set forth by DoD/CMMC Accreditation Body(AB). 


Key Takeaway: To stay ahead of the curve and avoid potential penalties, organizations should take proactive steps to ensure they are compliant with CMMC, DFARS, NIST SP 800-171 and ITAR regulations. This includes conducting regular system security plan reviews; understanding FCI & CUI scopes; consulting experts in compliance requirements; obtaining third party assessments from accredited C3PAOs ; reviewing readiness assessment checklists; budgeting for certifications preparation costs etc., so that when it comes time to seek certification levels 1 through 3 under the DoDCMMC Accreditation Body program they have all their ducks in a row.

FAQs in Relation to How to Get Ready for CMMC Requirements

How can I prepare for CMMC certification?

To prepare for CMMC certification, organizations should first assess their current security posture and compliance with DFARS/NIST SP 800-171. One way to gauge an organization's current security stance and adherence with DFARS/NIST SP 800-171 could be self-evaluation or through the use of a third party auditor. Organizations should then create an action plan to address any deficiencies in order to meet the requirements of the CMMC standard. Lastly, they must ensure all personnel are trained on applicable policies and procedures as well as maintain records that demonstrate compliance with the standard.

What is CMMC readiness assessment?

CMMC readiness assessment is an evaluation of a company's current security posture in order to determine if it meets the requirements set forth by the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). It involves identifying existing controls and processes, evaluating their effectiveness against established standards, and making recommendations for any areas that need improvement. The assessment can be used as a baseline to develop a compliance plan tailored to an organization’s specific needs.

  1. Implement Access Control: Establish access control policies and procedures to protect CUI from unauthorized access.
  2. Awareness & Training: Ensure personnel is aware of security requirements through training, education, and/or awareness programs.
  3. Media Protection: Manage the use of media in a manner that protects CUI from malicious software or other misuses.
  4. Information System Activity Monitoring: Monitor user activity on information systems containing CUI for anomalous activities or events that may indicate a security incident has occurred or is occurring
  5. Incident Response & Reporting: Develop an incident response plan to detect, respond to, report, and mitigate incidents involving the loss of confidentiality integrity availability (CIA) of organizational assets containing CUI as well as reporting any cyber incidents which involve personally identifiable information (PII).
  6. Configuration Management: Maintain system configurations with approved settings per policy standards; apply updates and patches; document changes; ensure all configuration items are identified tracked monitored tested secured against unauthorized change etc…
  7. Identification & Authentication: Utilize identification methods such as passwords tokens biometrics smart card certificates etc., in order to authenticate users before granting them access rights related to their role responsibilities within the organization.
  8. System & Communications Protection: Establish rules of behavior to protect CUI transmitted across external networks or over public connections.
  9. Media Sanitization: Ensure all media containing CUI is sanitized before disposal in accordance with organizational policies and procedures.
  10. Risk Assessment: Perform risk assessments on an ongoing basis to identify threats vulnerabilities risks associated with the use of storage transmission processing etc., of CUI within the organization’s environment.
  11. System & Information Integrity: Monitor detect correct responses and report unauthorized changes tampering or malicious destruction of information systems that contain CUI as well as any attempts at bypassing security mechanisms put in place by the organization.
  12. Controlled Access Based On Need-To-Know: Limit access rights based upon user job functions roles responsibilities need-to-know requirements etc…
  13. Limitation Of Information System Connections: Control connection types protocols port numbers services applications between connected information systems which are used for transmitting storing processing or displaying CUI; limit remote access from nonorganizational sources, such as home computers, wireless devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones etc…
  14. Security Assessments And Authorization Processes: Conduct periodic reviews/assessments of system security controls and authorizations to ensure that only authorized users have access to CUI.
  15. Information System & Application Usage: Monitor detect correct responses and report unauthorized use of information systems applications or services containing CUI; maintain records related to the usage of such systems applications or services.
  16. Malicious Code Protection: Develop implement test and maintain malicious code protection mechanisms on all organizational information systems used for storing processing transmitting displaying etc., CUI.
  17. Personnel Security Screening: Establish personnel screening procedures in order to verify a user’s identity prior to granting them access rights related to their role responsibilities within the organization.

Do you need FedRAMP for CMMC?

No, FedRAMP is not required for CMMC compliance.

However, some organizations may choose to use the FedRAMP framework as part of their overall strategy in achieving CMMC compliance.

These can be used in tandem to ensure organizations meet all relevant regulations and standards. It is the responsibility of each organization to decide which approach best suits its requirements.


For defense contractors, getting ready for CMMC requirements is an important step in the process of achieving compliance. By understanding your organization's specific needs and level of certification, scoping FCI & CUI correctly, developing a System Security Plan (SSP), implementing security measures that meet those requirements and following the certification process accordingly you can be sure to get your company certified without any issues. With these steps in mind, you are well on your way to being compliant with CMMC standards.

Take the guesswork out of CMMC requirements and get on-call expert guidance from our team. Let us help you create an affordable, tailored path to compliance that meets all DFARS, NIST SP 800-171, ITAR standards.

Schedule a consultation today and take the first step towards CMMC compliance.

At On Call Compliance Solutions, we want to help defense contractors meet CMMC requirements and grow their businesses.

Backed by an award-winning cyber security and IT management team, On Call Compliance Solutions is the #1 source for CMMC, NIST SP 800-171 Compliance, DFARS and ITAR consulting. Give us a call now to schedule a free phone call with one of our compliance experts to see how we can help.

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