On top of the day-to-day operations that come with safeguarding your business, DoD contractors must also keep up with the ever-changing regulatory compliance standards set by the Department of Defense (DoD). As new compliance standards get released, it can become challenging for DoD contractors to stay compliant. In fact, nearly 87% of US defense contractors are failing to meet basic cybersecurity regulatory requirements.
One challenge is understanding the difference between three of the main compliance standards—CMMC, NIST, and DFARS compliance.
What You Need to Know About the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)
When your business contracts with the DoD, you must comply with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) standards. The CMMC 2.0 is an overarching regulation that sets the security requirements for contractors providing services to the Department of Defense.
With 3 different security maturity levels in this framework, each contractor must meet the requirements of a certain level based on the type of contract, service provided, and other factors. These maturity levels comprise the following:
- Level 1 (Foundational)
- Level 2 (Advanced)
- Level 3 (Expert)
What Does NIST Do For Your Business?
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency within the United States Department of Commerce. Responsible for developing standards and special publications to promote security and privacy practices, this compliance regulation is specifically catered to nonfederal organizations and systems that process or store Control Unclassified Information (CUI).
NIST has developed several standards and special publications that are used by many organizations, including the DoD. These documents guide various topics such as:
- Data encryption
- Access control
- System security planning
- Risk management
- Identity and access management
What is DFARS Compliance?
The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) is a set of guidelines required by the Department of Defense. To understand what DFARS compliance is, you would need to be aware of NIST as they go hand-in-hand. It’s designed to facilitate compliance with other laws and regulations, such as those issued by NIST.
To be specific, DFARS compliance outlines specific requirements that DoD contracts must adhere to in order to remain compliant with various cybersecurity standards and government regulations.
The Biggest Differences to Identify
With technical terms being thrown around in each compliance regulation, you still may be wondering how each of these standards differs. To make it easier to understand, there are three main differences between CMMC, NIST, and DFARS compliance:
- CMMC is an overarching regulation that applies to all DoD contractors regardless of the type of contract or services provided.
- NIST sets the security requirements for nonfederal organizations processing or storing CUI and focuses on the more technical controls like encryption.
- DFARS outlines specific requirements that DoD contracts must adhere to remain compliant with various cybersecurity standards and government regulations. In particular, the requirements DFARS compliance enforces help to stay compliant with NIST.
Why Your Business Must Implement These Regulations
Besides it being required for those contracting with the DoD, these regulations help protect your organization from cyber attacks and data breaches. With cybercrime being the biggest threat to any business, the importance of complying with these strict standards and regulations cannot be understated.
And because contracting with the DoD means working with sensitive and confidential information, compliance with these regulations ensures that the data is handled properly and securely. For businesses seeking to become DoD contractors, implementing these regulations helps to make sure you remain compliant throughout the entire contracting process.
Never Worry About Compliance With HRCT
Keeping up with the ever-changing world of compliance regulations can be a full-time job on its own. But at HRCT, we provide the tools and resources needed to help you remain compliant with all of your DoD contracts so you never have to ask yourself what is DFARs compliance.
With experienced professionals who understand the complexities of these regulations, you can rest assured that we will take care of every aspect necessary for compliance.
From audits to assessments, we provide the trusted support your business needs to stay compliant with CMMC, NIST, and DFARS. Contact us today to talk to one of our experts and get started on your compliance journey.