CMMC Compliance Assessment2021-09-02T13:29:21+00:00

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Over the next few years, the Department of Defense will phase-in a new set of cybersecurity standards for doing business with the department: The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). Former Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said that the intention of CMMC is to standardize cybersecurity requirements, and raise cybersecurity to be “the fourth critical measurement” of contractors’ proposals next to quality, cost, and schedule. The establishment of the CMMC means that contractors will need to redouble their efforts, and verify, beyond trust, that their (and any subcontractors’) cybersecurity efforts conform with new policy. Key CMMC tenets and points include:

The Five Levels of CMMC Certification

  • Level 1“Basic Cyber Hygiene”
    – 17 NIST 800-171 Rev 1 controls 
  • Level 2“Intermediate Cyber Hygiene”
    – 46 NIST 800-171 Rev 1 controls
  • Level 3“Good Cyber Hygiene”
    – Final 47 NIST 800-171 Rev 1 controls
  • Level 4“Proactive”
    – 26 NIST 800-171 Rev B controls
  • Level 5“Advanced / Progressive”
    – Final 4 NIST 800-171 Rev B controls

Best CMMC Compliance Solution

In conforming to standards, companies may consider working with IT consultants to ensure compliance. Rizkly offers a lower, controlled cost and guided compliance service to simplify your CMMC compliance efforts. Rizkly compliance advisors are highly experienced in helping SMBs achieve compliance with cyber security frameworks such as NIST 800-171, GDPR/CCPA Data Privacy, and SOC2.  Rizkly, powerful cloud SaaS application and expert advisory combined, enables you to address the important dynamics associated of CMMC:

  • CMMC combines various cybersecurity standards and best practices and maps these controls and processes across several maturity levels that range from basic cyber hygiene to advanced

  • Certification at one of the five CMMC levels required by a DoD project will be appear in RFP L&M sections, becoming a “bid/no bid” decision point

  • Certification will be performed by accredited third party, private sector assessors

  • All DoD contractors (prime and subcontractors) have to achieve Level 1 certification at a minimum

  • No POAMs allowed. If you cannot adequately address a practice for a given level,  you will not certify at that level.

CMMC with Rizkly

The establishment of CMMC indicates DoD’s increasing focus on contractor cyber security. Partnering with Rizkly provides you with a expert advisor that defines and prioritizes compliance tasks along and a powerful compliance software application so you can demonstrate compliance at a reasonable price.

  • CMMC Compliance Software:  A collaborative cloud application providing access to all CMMC 1.0 (and NIST 800-171) requirements for levels 1 thru 5.  You  manage control ownership, tasks, evidence collection, policies, procedures and implementation status.  Learn more about Rizkly CMMC features here.

  • CMMC Compliance Advisory: Assistance with compliance tasks through checklists and suggestions tailored to your project. Streamline collaboration between team members and consultants through multiple channels of communication: chat, email, phone

  • Tasking and Tracking: Assign ownership and access compliance status with a few clicks. Users receive alerts when it’s time to review controls or attach evidence

  • CMMC Compliance Audit Documentation: One-click creation of audit-ready documentation such as System Security Plans (SSP) and Incident Response Plans  (IRP) reduces the time and effort needed to create, review, and maintain compliance documents, letting you focus on implementing security, rather than documenting it

  • Third-Party Assessor Access: streamline CMMC assessment and certification efforts with secure 3rd-party auditor access to appropriate information in Rizkly.  Learn more about all of the features that make Rizkly the perfect CMMC solution here.

Demonstrate your company’s CMMC compliance status with Rizkly.

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      What is OSCAL and its role in FedRAMP Automation?2023-08-16T16:05:25+00:00

      By Chor-Ching Fan

      FedRAMP automation is on its way.  The Open Security Controls Assessment Language (OSCAL) is a machine-readable information exchange format developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to enable automation of risk management and compliance frameworks based on security controls and functional requirements. OSCAL support the expression of compliance information through XML, JSON and YAML formats.  OSCAL was released in June 2021 and is currently in Version 1.1.0 (late July 2023)

      The FedRAMP cybersecurity management program is the first key adopter of the OSCAL standard.  OSCAL promises to enable FedRAMP automation (and other frameworks that adopt it) improving the efficiency and effectiveness of compliance management by providing a standardized, machine-readable format for capturing and sharing security information.  OSCAL automation has the ability to simplify many of the manual tasks involved in compliance including:

      • Generating security documentation
      • Assessment plan and results evaluation
      • Tracking remediation activities
      • Reporting on compliance status

      OSCAL can be used to support a wide range of compliance frameworks, including:

      • FedRAMP (early adoption in progress)
      • NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF)
      • ISO/IEC 27001
      • SOC 2
      • HIPAA
      • PCI DSS

      FedRAMP automation with OSCAL promises to be significant improvement over previous approaches to compliance automation.  As proven by similar information exchange automation initiatives in other industries i.e. ecommerce supply chain documents or financial filing with the SEC,  OSCAL should make compliance management be more efficient, more effective, and more scalable.

      Here are some of the benefits of using the new OSCAL compliance framework:

      • Efficiency: OSCAL automation will reduce manual tasks involved in compliance, such as generating security documentation, conducting assessments, and tracking remediation activities. This can save organizations a significant amount of time and money.  FedRAMP SSPs can easily run 300+ pages in Microsoft Word.  With continual updates and document submissions to the FedRAMP PMO,  this task alone will benefit greatly from OSCAL.
      • Effectiveness: OSCAL provides a standardized, machine-readable format for capturing and sharing security information. This makes it easier to identify, evaluate and determine next steps to remediate key risks for the US government and cloud service providers.
      • Scalability & Extensibility: OSCAL is a scalable framework that can be used to support a wide range of compliance frameworks.  OSCAL is extensible so any user or standards body can leverage the reference models while ensuring it supports the unique elements of their own privacy and security risk program.

      Since its 1.0 release in 2021,  Rizkly has supported the OSCAL standard with the goal of providing the best software for FedRAMP automation.  We love OSCAL and think its great for the cybersecurity compliance world.  Companies (CSPs) can import their existing Word SSPs and generate OSCAL with one-click in Rizkly.  It will not be practical for most organizations to use XML editors and handcraft OSCAL files each time there are updates or submission requirements.  While still in a pre-commercialization status for FedRAMP,  we recommend that CSPs explore the transition to OSCAL along with their FedRAMP R4 to R5 gap analysis and planning efforts. If you’re wondering about a FedRAMP R4 vs R5 gap analysis,  Rizkly, compliance automation software with dedicated FedRAMP OSCAL compliance experts, is ready to assist…just contact us.

      What’s the difference between CMMC and FedRAMP?2023-08-17T17:58:39+00:00

      By Chor-Ching Fan

      As organizations chart their growth through government contracts and assess the cost of cybersecurity compliance initiatives,  many wonder “what’s the the difference between CMMC and FedRAMP”?  The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) are two different compliance frameworks that organizations must follow if they want to work with the US government.

      CMMC is a comprehensive framework designed to protect the defense industrial base’s (DIB) sensitive unclassified information.  While it started with five levels of maturity, the latest version of the CMMC 2.0 framework includes 3 levels and tracks very closely with the NIST 800-171 control framework.  All DoD contractors will need to achieve at least Level 1 (based on the sensitivity level of the information handled by the contractor) in order to keep and/or win new work with the DoD

      FedRAMP is a cybersecurity framework that focuses on the security of cloud service providers (CSPs) doing business with the US federal government. There are two approaches to achieving FedRAMP Authorization, a provisional authorization through the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) or an authorization through a specific government agency sponsor. The JAB is the primary governing body for FedRAMP and includes representation from the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and General Services Administration (GSA). There are four different control baselines that support the different FedRAMP authorization impact levels.

      CMMC FedRAMP
      Purpose Assesses and enhance the cybersecurity maturity of  all contractors working with the DoD Focuses on the security of cloud service providers serving federal agencies
      Certification/Authorization Levels 3 4
      Minimum Level Required for Work Contracts Level 1 (once CMMC is finalized) Authorized at applicable impact level
      Levels and Control Scope
      • CMMC Level 1: 15 controls
      • CMMC Level 2: 110 controls
      • CMMC Level 3: 134 controls
      • LI-SaaS (Low Impact SaaS): 37-57 controls
      • Low: 125 controls
      • Moderate: 325 controls
      • High impact: 421 controls
      Applicability Applies to all contractors that work with the DoD Applies to cloud service providers (CSPs) that work with US government agencies

      CMMC vs FedRAMP

      CSPs must achieve Authorized status in order to provide services to US government agencies.  Soon,  DoD contractors will need to achieve at least CMMC Level 1 status before winning new contracts.

      In general, FedRAMP is a more comprehensive framework than CMMC. FedRAMP requires organizations to enhance process maturity and capabilities across a wider range of topics dealing with data, network, staff, physical building and vendor security.  Here are additional considerations to keep in mind regarding CMMC and FedRAMP compliance:

      • CMMC has been in development for the past few years and is now (2023) nearing finalization.
      • FedRAMP is a mature framework (based on NIST 800-53) that has been in place for over a decade (2011).  We view it as the high bar for cloud cybersecurity compliance.
      • Both CMMC and FedRAMP are constantly evolving. The DoD, FedRAMP PMO and NIST are constantly updating the requirements to reflect the latest cybersecurity threats.
      • Compliance with CMMC and FedRAMP can be a complex and expensive process, especially for SMBs.  Rizkly helps SMBs consider their needs and regulatory requirements and offers an effective and efficient solution for achieving and sustaining improved cybersecurity posture and compliance.
      Do you perform system remediation work?2022-05-19T02:00:44+00:00

      Rizkly experts will advise, guide and review hardware and software technology changes to ensure that they address specific compliance controls but we do not perform the actual implementation work.  Over the years, we have a developed a trusted ecosystem of partners who offer effective and affordable solutions to expedite remediation of security and compliance gaps.  We will gladly refer you to appropriate partners if and when the need arises.   Creating policies,  procedures and other artifacts are also a key part of compliance remediation efforts and these are activities that our advisors do perform using powerful Rizkly features for policies and procedures.

      A description of the services that Rizkly expert advisors provide?2022-05-19T01:37:42+00:00

      Rizkly cybersecurity compliance advisors will work with you through the entire lifecycle of your compliance initiative.  We will scale up/down depending on specific need, and we co-create our involvement in the early stages of the project.  Typical project activities include:

      • Gain an understanding of your business, your clients, your system(s), and your anticipated compliance requirements
      • Educate your team members on compliance requirements, how to leverage the Rizkly app and what will be expected throughout the effort 
      • Develop the system ‘boundary’, and what will be in scope for compliance purposes
      • Draft a system architecture diagram that clearly depicts the system boundary
      • Review existing documentation and work with your team members to understand system and process specifics
      • Perform a high level gap assessment to determine what controls are in place and operating effectively, and where there are gaps
      • For each gap determine a detailed plan of action to remediate
      • Collaborate as needed with personnel (staff and/or your vendors) during remediation. 
      • Provide advisory support, develop documentation, design controls, review evidence, audit prep, etc.
      • Ensure that all artifacts and control implementation statements are effectively captured in Rizkly
      • Educate your team on how to leverage Rizkly to generate audit-ready documentation such as SSPs, POAM reports and SPRS scoring
      • Post-remediation ensure that all controls are in place and operating effectively


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