Manufacturers in Defense Department supply chains have known for years that they have to prove they’re operating at peak efficiency to compete in that space. For many, that meant pursuing ISO certification.
Now the DoD plans to apply the same rigor and expectations of supply chain contractors for cybersecurity. Any manufacturer that hasn’t taken steps to beef up its cybersecurity hygiene will need to start ASAP if it hopes to be a part of any DoD prime contactor’s supply chain.
Scott Singer, owner of cybersecurity consulting company CyberNINES, says he’s concerned that not all companies are as secure as their managers think they are.
“Our country’s supply chain is built on small business,” Singer says. “A lot of the ways people are trying to attack a Lockheed Martin or a BAE Systems or a Medtronic is through that supply chain where it’s not protected. So, it’s critically important that we protect that supply chain and help small- and medium-sized businesses become secure.”
The core of CyberNINES’s business is helping small- and medium-sized manufacturers comply with Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) around cybersecurity. Those regulations are in the midst of an evolution.
Several years ago, in the early days of the DFARS cybersecurity regulations, the government allowed manufacturers to “self-attest” that they were meeting the cumbersome regulations.
But now cybersecurity concerns are at a fever pitch, partly because of the Solar Winds breach, in which a major information technology firm with tens of thousands of clients that use its software was hacked by likely foreign cyber terrorists. A system once reliant on self-attesting is about to get more demanding.
Interested in learning how your cybersecurity checks out? Enterprise Minnesota is scheduling assessments that will provide you with insight and feedback on your security maturity. Contact us today.
As of Nov. 30, manufacturers were to have begun using a complex security standard measurement system and post their scores in a federal database. If their score suggests they’re not fully compliant, they need to tell the government when they plan to reach 100% compliance.
To complicate matters, there’s a new system coming online soon that will replace the self-attesting scores. It’s called the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) system, and eventually it will affect all prime and subcontractors working with the Department of Defense. This system, which will roll out in phases between now and 2026, will require manufacturers to undergo third-party auditing similar to ISO certification.
The CMMC takes a different approach than the portal score system, however. It offers five “maturity” levels (level 1 is the lowest, level 5 is the highest) corresponding to a manufacturer’s cybersecurity preparedness. Which contract you can bid on depends on your maturity level.
By 2026, any company wishing to work with the DoD will need that certification.
“All of a sudden there’re huge teeth in this,” Singer says.
Read more about how cybersecurity issues will affect manufacturers in the Spring 2021 issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine.
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