The US Department of Defense (DoD) is planning to roll out a new cybersecurity certification program for its contractors in an effort to better protect its supply chain from cyber threats. 

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said this new cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) program will play a critical role in ensuring that the organizations looking to score DoD contracts meet rigorous cybersecurity requirements.

Lord further explained that the CMMC program is designed to establish security as the foundation for acquisition and combines elements from a wide range of cybersecurity standards into one, clear-cut standard to secure the DoD supply chain. 

The program is scheduled to be up and running in June 2020, with cybersecurity requirements included as part of new requests for information. These requests are part of the opening stages of awarding a new defense contract to an organization. 

The program will create five levels of certification tailored to the criticality of systems or subsystems that the contractors hope to work on. These levels will measure the organization's technical capabilities as well as the process maturity level. 

This program will help make certain that any organization doing work with the government can prove that their networks and cybersecurity practices are up prepared to defend against attacks by adversaries who want access to information detailing government contracts and weapons systems development information. 

Lord said, "We know the adversary is at cyberwar with us every day. So, this is a U.S. economic security issue, as well as a U.S. security issue. When we look at cybersecurity standards, I believe it is absolutely critical to be crystal clear as to what expectations and measurements are, what the metrics are and how we will basically audit against those."

These potential contractors will not be audited by the government, but instead will be audited for compliance with the program's standard by a third-party. This provider will be selected in January 2020. 

Adopting a Best Practice Framework is the best way to defend against today's most dangerous and pervasive cyber threat. NNT suggests adopting security frameworks like the CIS Controls or NIST 800-53 to not only defend against cyberattacks but to also prove that your organization at least had the critical controls in place in the event that you are successfully hit by an attack. It's not a devastating offense in itself to suffer a breach, but get breached and found not to be operating security controls? Big trouble.

Read our latest article Your Best Bet for a Safe Ride? Buckle Up with a Best Practice Security Framework

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