Why and how to become a CMMC C3PAO?

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How to become a CMMC auditor or certifier

The Defense Industrial Base is projected to include around 220,000 firms. When CMMC gets fully implemented, each of those companies will be tested every three years to maintain their position as a compliant prime or subcontractor. Since there are limited numbers of approved CMMC C3PAOs, they have an opportunity to assist in the protection of sensitive data and have a different commercial potential. Although the expenditures of becoming a C3PAO can be significant, being a C3PAO will only mean more revenue and authority. Becoming a CMMC consulting firm is going to benefit one in various ways. 

What is C3PAO?

CMMC Third Party Assessment Organization is abbreviated as C3PAO. These organizations will perform evaluations in order to propose to the CMMC-AB that firms in the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) be issued CMMC certifications at the appropriate compliance level for which they have been appraised.

Because each company in the Defense Industrial Base processes government contract information, they will all need to pass at least a CMMC Level 1 evaluation. According to the new requirements, each DIB company will need to pass a CMMC Level Assessment depending on the sensitivity of the other information they handle (like Controlled Unclassified Information). As the promise of CMMC evaluations becomes more tangible, a few firms are considering passing their exams and becoming assessors.

So, how can a company become a C3PAO of the CMMC? Trying to sift through the necessary processes and regulations, like most everything the government undertakes, may be difficult or daunting. There are three significant steps of permission to become a C3PAO, each with its own set of requirements. The steps include being a Candidate C3PAO, then an Approved C3PAO, and lastly, an Authorized C3PAO. 

How can organizations prepare to become CMMC C3PAO?

Most organizations pursuing CMMC C3PAO Authorization will already need to become CMMC Level 3 compliant since the outcomes of these examinations and the information connected with them will be deemed CUI, requiring a CMMC Level 3 compliant environment. According to the companies that have previously been authorized, your firm is most certainly already executing the fundamentals of C3PAO standards. Still, you may find that proper compliance is considerably more rigorous and exact than one may initially believe.

According to Caleb Barlow, CEO of CynergisTek, the CMMC Level 3 evaluation was similar to assessments that many other areas of his firm, particularly those in the finance department, are subjected to regularly. The C3PAO method was unique because it was the first time that the DoD had urged people in the cyber area to brace for the scrutiny that frequently follows audits in other industries. He said one of the most challenging tasks was ensuring that staff knew and correctly followed the rules, practices, and procedures.

CMMC compliance initiative is like any other IT infrastructure implementation project that the IT and Security departments can handle independently. Instead, CMMC cybersecurity compliance involves and necessitates the whole company’s involvement, education, and intentionality in their responsibilities. To be fully compliant, the firm must additionally explain how those positions connect to the company’s overall security. Additionally, CMMC security compliance involves a shift in corporate culture. 

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