Why You Shouldn’t Delay Your CMMC 2.0 Compliance
When it comes to Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) compliance, the rule is simple: no certification, low chances of winning a contract.
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is on its way to making CMMC mandatory for defense contractors. Although it hasn’t gone into play yet, this means that if a business wants to bid on DoD contracts or continue working on existing contracts in the future, it must obtain the appropriate CMMC level.
Unfortunately, many organizations often dismiss the urgency to comply, potentially putting their businesses at risk. As a result, it jeopardizes their opportunity to work with the DoD.
At Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS), we help hundreds of clients and prospects with their compliance needs. In this article, we sat down with our Senior Vice President of Cybersecurity, Sean Harris, MBA, CISSP, PMP CCSP, MCSE, RP, CCP (or a Certified CMMC Professional), to answer the following questions:
- Why is complying with CMMC as soon as possible critical for businesses?
- What are the consequences of delaying CMMC compliance?
- How do you start getting CMMC 2.0 certified?
Why is complying with CMMC as soon as possible critical for businesses?
One reason why you shouldn't delay your CMMC certification is that it will soon be required to bid on new contracts. In 2021, the DoD began incorporating CMMC requirements into new Requests for Information (RFIs) and Requests for Proposals (RFPs). This means if you are not yet certified once the final rule has been implemented, you will be ineligible to bid on new contracts, which could significantly impact your business's revenue.
Another reason is that it can take time to achieve certification. The process involves a thorough assessment of your company's cybersecurity practices and implementing necessary security controls to meet the requirements of your desired CMMC level. Depending on the size of your organization and your current cybersecurity posture, certification could take several months or longer.
What are the consequences of delaying CMMC compliance?
You’re most likely aware of the potential ramifications of NOT complying with CMMC, but delaying it is just as detrimental to your organization’s security and competitiveness. According to Harris, here’s what could happen:
1. Loss of Business Opportunities
Since the DoD will soon require CMMC certification for defense contractors to bid on new contracts or continue working on existing ones, delaying compliance limits your ability to participate in DoD projects, resulting in missed business opportunities and revenue loss.
2. Disqualification from DoD Contracts
If a business fails to obtain the required CMMC certification, it may become ineligible for DoD contracts that mandate compliance. This disqualification can substantially impact your ability to secure government contracts, potentially affecting your long-term growth and sustainability.
3. Legal and Contractual Penalties
Non-compliance with CMMC requirements can lead to legal and contractual penalties.
“The False Claims Act applies,” Harris says. False Claims Act, or FCA, is a federal law that imposes liability on individuals and organizations for submitting false or fraudulent claims to the government.
He continues, “In the context of the CMMC, if a company is found to be non-compliant with CMMC requirements and still claims compliance to obtain government contracts or payments, they may be subject to FCA enforcement.”
You may face contract termination, financial liabilities, and legal action for breaching these obligations. Such consequences can result in reputational damage, loss of business relationships, and potential litigation.
4. Damage to Reputation and Trust
In an era where cybersecurity incidents make headlines regularly, failing to prioritize CMMC compliance can damage an organization's reputation on a whim. Your clients, partners, and stakeholders may view non-compliance as a lack of commitment to cybersecurity and the protection of sensitive information. This loss of trust can lead to severed relationships and difficulty acquiring new business opportunities.
5. Increased Cybersecurity Risks
Delaying CMMC compliance exposes your organization to heightened cybersecurity risks. Without implementing the necessary security controls and practices outlined in the CMMC framework, you remain vulnerable to cyber threats, such as data breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive information.
6. Inadequate Protection of Sensitive Information
CMMC compliance protects controlled unclassified information (CUI) handled by defense contractors and federal contract information (FCI). By delaying compliance, you risk inadequate protection of sensitive government information. This jeopardizes national security interests and compromises the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical data.
7. Competitive Disadvantage
Delaying CMMC compliance puts your organization at a competitive disadvantage.
Obtaining CMMC certification demonstrates your commitment to robust cybersecurity practices. You gain a competitive edge over non-compliant counterparts when bidding on contracts and partnering with organizations that prioritize security.
8. Cost Escalation
While achieving CMMC compliance requires an investment of resources, delaying compliance can lead to increased costs in the long run.
The fallout from a cybersecurity incident, such as data breaches or cyberattacks, can be financially devastating. The expenses associated with incident response, remediation, legal fees, regulatory fines, and reputational damage can far exceed the cost of implementing necessary security measures.
How do you start getting CMMC 2.0 certified?
Given its complexity and essential nature, we understand that obtaining CMMC certification can take too much time and resources. This reality can pose challenges for small to medium-sized businesses like yours. That's why we recommend considering the assistance of a reliable compliance service provider to jumpstart your CMMC certification process.
ITS has the necessary tools and assets to help assess and create a security and remediation plan to prepare you for compliance. This process includes running a gap analysis to see what you already have in place and what you don’t–and then filling the gaps to get to a certain level.
In addition, we also help monitor the process, resolve issues, and provide detailed reporting to keep you in the loop. Schedule a meeting with us today to start your CMMC compliance journey.
Here are other references you can review about CMMC compliance:
- How Much Does CMMC Compliance Cost? (& Is It Worth It?)
- Can You Perform a CMMC Self-Assessment?
- 5 Problems When Working with MSPs for CMMC Compliance (+ Solutions)
- eBook: Everything You Need to Know About CMMC 2.0 in 2023