For businesses in the private sector, contracts with agencies of the federal government can be among the most lucrative and long-lasting. There are many industries that produce products that are useful to a variety of federal agencies. Naturally, when dealing with government contracts, the issue of national security is of prime importance. Data and databases must be protected. There are also standards of quality that must be adhered to as well as securing intellectual property rights and brand names. Maintaining consistency of standards among all of the companies that contract with the federal government and particularly the Department of Defense, is challenging to say the least. This is the purpose of DFARS.
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Any business which operates as a contractor for the DoD must be in full DFARS compliance. The Federal Acquisition Regulation applies to contracts with any government agency. The Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement is specific to defense contractors. DFARS is a set of standards that regulate contracts with the DoD. They oversee the acquisition of goods and services with regard to all aspects. Failure to comply with DFARS regulations can lead to the early termination of a contract. Both classified and controlled unclassified information are covered by DFARS.
As computer technology became more sophisticated, the threat of hackers, viruses, and data breaches increased. Cybersecurity had to keep up in order to protect sensitive information. The Federal Information Security Management Act was passed in 2002. This was done to require all government agencies to develop programs for the implementation and documentation of cybersecurity standards.
In 2017, a series of breaches in the supply chain of the Defense Industrial Breach demonstrated the need for greater levels of cybersecurity. In response, the DoD, working in cooperation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Science Foundation, began working on a new set of standards that would be named the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. The CMMC was announced in 2019 and went into effect in November of 2020.
In December 2020, a timeline was released for modifications of CMMC. When it comes to the protection of data, one cannot rest on one’s laurels. The parties who pose threats are constantly developing new techniques and updates must be put in place to protect against them. CMMC 2.0 was published in November of 2021 and is the current standard to which defense contractors must comply. The newer version streamlines the audit and certification process, making it faster for defense contractors to get up to speed with full compliance.
CMMC 2.0 has been especially helpful for small and medium-sized businesses with defense contracts, allowing them to offer their goods and services safely. As time goes on, CMMC will continue to evolve, rising to the challenge of meeting new threats as they occur.
Defense contractors must be held to high standards especially when it comes to protecting data. With national security at stake, cybersecurity must be constantly monitored and upgraded. CMMC 2.0 is the current standard and has proven effective. It will continue to evolve as needed.