In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) in the United States are encountering a buzzword that has quickly become the talk of the town – CMMC, or the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. This framework has garnered significant attention and has left many MSPs wondering about its implications, relevance, and how to handle the avalanche of information surrounding it. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of CMMC, its role in the world of MSPs, and how it influences their managed services.
Before we dive into the details, let us first break down what CMMC stands for – Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. CMMC is a United States government framework designed to enhance cybersecurity measures and ensure the protection of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) in the US defense supply chain. This means that CMMC is primarily aimed at safeguarding sensitive data in the defense sector, making it a crucial component for organizations involved in government contracts, including defense contractors and their supply chain partners.
CMMC vs Other Frameworks
One essential point of comparison is understanding how CMMC differs from established cybersecurity standards like NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), ISO, and SOC 2. These frameworks have been in use for years, and many MSPs are already familiar with their requirements. During this comparison, MSPs should understand how CMMC fits into the broader cybersecurity framework landscape and where it stands in relation to other standards.
CMMC is Not an MSP Framework
One of the common misconceptions addressed in this context is that CMMC is a framework designed specifically for MSPs. It is important to emphasize that CMMC is not an MSP-specific framework; rather, it is designed primarily for defense contractors and their supply chain partners. MSPs may need to adhere to CMMC requirements only if they handle sensitive government contracts. In essence, MSPs are not the primary targets of CMMC, but they do play a vital role in ensuring compliance within the defense supply chain. It is worth mentioning that MSPs who have already achieved MSP Verify certification already meet CMMC controls as a result of their certification status.
CMMC Adoption Within an MSP Environment
The heart of the current discussion revolves around whether CMMC is relevant for a specific MSP. MSPs should seek guidance on assessing their MSP practices to determine if CMMC compliance is necessary. Factors such as the types of clients served, the nature of the services provided, and existing cybersecurity measures should all be considered. This self-assessment is a crucial step in understanding whether CMMC should be on an MSP’s radar.
CMMC as Part of a CaaS (Compliance as a Service) Practice
An important question MSPs must explore is the integration of CMMC into a Cybersecurity as a Service (CaaS) practice. This approach involves MSPs offering CMMC-related services to their clients as a value-added service. It should also be noted that CMMC CaaS offerings are very different from the core compliance question involving the MSP and the customer. Incorporating CMMC services into an MSP’s offerings can open new avenues for growth and differentiation in an increasingly competitive industry, if it is done properly.
In conclusion, the complexities of CMMC can be daunting, but it is essential for MSPs to navigate this landscape effectively. CMMC is a solvable problem and MSPs do have a unique advantage compared to most other cybersecurity consultants and non-MSPs. As the world of cybersecurity continues to evolve, MSPs who grasp the intricacies of CMMC will be well-positioned to provide their clients with the highest level of security and compliance.