The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program was created by the U.S. government to create a set of standards that all organizations must meet to be eligible to bid on or renew contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). These standards establish a benchmark against which assessors can measure your organization’s security posture – and if you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of vendors that work with the DoD, you’ll need to have your CMMC in place by October 25, 2025 in order to continue that relationship.
While 2025 may seem a long way off, CMMC takes time so it’s important to start preparing sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, there is no standard timeframe for how long the process takes. It may take smaller companies less time than a larger or more sophisticated organization. Putting together the required documentation can take six to nine months alone, so acting now will be key to your success.
Here’s how to get ready for your organization’s CMMC assessment:
- Conduct a Self-Assessment: To help streamline the CMMC process, the DoD requests that you complete a self-assessment before scheduling your CMMC assessment. Conducting self-audits or self-assessments in advance will also help you cut down on CMMC certification costs. Using a CMMC Compliance tool can help kick-off this process, providing an easy and efficient way to organize, manage and streamline CMMC compliance requirements to help you achieve positive audit results.
- Consult with a Professional: While the DoD has a website that vendors can use for guidance, contact information and to submit their assessments, consulting with a firm that provides CMMC assessment, or a certified third-party assessor (C3PAO) is also a good idea. The assessor or C3PAQ you contact can tell you precisely what your assessment will entail, and advise you on how to prepare.
- Prepare for the CMMC Audit: Only a CP3AO is qualified to perform a CMMC audit. The extent of your audit will depend on the maturity level for which your organization wishes to be certified. The assessor will first speak with you to determine your needs and will request any documents required to evaluate your controls for protecting FCI or CUI. They will also inquire about the systems you’re using and what services you are providing and supplying to the DoD. These documents may include diagrams of your environment, risk assessments, data from vulnerability scans and a list of in-scope controls. (FYI – collecting and organizing these documents prior to your audit can be a challenge if you’ve never done it before. Working with a Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) expert who is well-versed in the process will help keep things on track!)
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be ready to submit your CMMC assessment.
To learn more about how you can prepare for your CMMC audit, watch our on-demand webinar Shedding Light on the Path to CMMC Success.