As cyber threats become more sophisticated and prevalent, organizations must fortify their defenses to safeguard sensitive data and intellectual property. The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) will be a powerful tool designed to bolster the cybersecurity posture of companies working with the Department of Defense (DoD). At the heart of CMMC lies a crucial component: the Certified CMMC Professional (CCP). In this blog post, we will explore the capabilities of CMMC Certified Professionals, the certification process, and the invaluable services that Registered Practitioner Organizations (RPO) organizations can provide. We also interviewed Brad Schrack, Ingalls Information Security’s Senior Security Analyst and ISO, about his experience obtaining a CCP and what that means for Ingalls clients.
Understanding Certified CMMC Professional (CCP) Capabilities
CMMC Certified Professionals are individuals equipped with specialized knowledge and skills related to the CMMC framework. The CMMC model comprises three maturity levels, each with its set of processes and practices that organizations must adhere to for achieving certification. These professionals play a pivotal role in helping businesses navigate the complexities of CMMC compliance, implementation, and continuous improvement.
4 Key Capabilities of Certified CMMC Professionals:
- In-depth CMMC Knowledge: CCPs possess comprehensive knowledge of the CMMC model, its domains, capabilities, and maturity levels. They understand the nuances of cybersecurity best practices and how they apply to specific industry sectors.
- Compliance Expertise: CCPs guide organizations in aligning their security practices with the required level of certification. They conduct thorough assessments, identify gaps in cybersecurity measures, and recommend appropriate remediation strategies.
- Implementation Guidance: Certified CMMC Professionals can assist organizations in implementing the necessary security controls and policies to achieve compliance. They provide tailored solutions, ensuring that businesses meet the stringent cybersecurity requirements of their contracts with the DoD.
- Continuous Improvement: CCPs foster a culture of continuous improvement within organizations. They help establish effective cybersecurity practices that evolve alongside emerging threats and industry developments.
The Path to Becoming a CMMC Certified Professional
To become a Certified CMMC Professional, individuals must undergo a rigorous certification process. The process involves the following key steps:
- Prerequisites: Interested candidates must possess a background in cybersecurity and relevant work experience in the field. They should also demonstrate familiarity with the CMMC model and its associated concepts.
- Training: Prospective CCPs must complete specialized training programs offered by accredited CMMC training providers. These courses cover various aspects of the CMMC framework, security controls, and assessment methodologies.
- Examination: After completing the training, candidates must pass a certification exam. The exam evaluates their knowledge and comprehension of CMMC principles, practices, and implementation strategies.
- Recertification: Certified CMMC Professionals need to renew their certification periodically. This ensures that CCPs stay updated with the latest cybersecurity trends and remain equipped to provide accurate guidance to organizations.
Services CMMC Certified Professionals Offer to Organizations
The expertise of Certified CMMC Professionals can significantly benefit organizations operating in defense supply chains and handling sensitive government information. The services they provide include:
CMMC Compliance Assessments
CCPs conduct comprehensive assessments to determine an organization's current cybersecurity maturity level, identifying gaps and vulnerabilities that need to be addressed for achieving certification.
Customized Implementation Plans
CCPs develop tailored cybersecurity strategies that align with the organization's unique needs and risk profile, ensuring that the appropriate security controls are in place.
Training and Awareness Programs
CCPs deliver training sessions to employees, enhancing their understanding of cybersecurity best practices and fostering a security-conscious culture.
Continuous Monitoring and Improvement
Certified CMMC Professionals help organizations establish monitoring mechanisms to detect and respond to cybersecurity incidents promptly. They also assist in updating security measures as threats evolve.
How Can Ingalls Help With CMMC?
For Ingalls, the addition of a CCP means the Government Programs team can provide clients with more experienced and trained SMEs that are qualified to not only consult on CMMC but assess the CMMC practices. Ingalls’ staff of CCPs will also be eligible to participate on CMMC Third Party assessments as members of CMMC Assessment Teams. In addition, a CCP can sign off on readiness assessments for CMMC level 1, eliminating the need for a third-party assessor.
“As a Certified CMMC Professional (CCP), I will be able to bring this training and experience to all of our CMMC clients as we help them navigate through the DFARS 252.204-7012 and CMMC requirements, “ said Brad Schrack. “At Ingalls, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the most relevant and helpful information and guidance through the early stages of CMMC.”
Ingalls, as a CMMC Registered Practitioner Organization (RPO), has a staff of Registered Practitioners who are dedicated to assist Defense Industrial Base (DIB) companies with all aspects of implementation of a CMMC-compliant program that ensures the security of Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). CMMC’s key objective is to enhance the protection of FCI and CUI within the supply chain. Because you’re likely to handle these information types as a DIB supplier, specific safeguarding requirements are outlined by CMMC to keep them secure. CMMC combines various cybersecurity standards and best practices, making it a comprehensive verification mechanism for effective security.
“At Ingalls, we are early adopters of CMMC,” said Brandi Pickett, Director of Consulting at Ingalls. “Pursuing the CCP is a testament to our commitment in being experts in the CMMC ecosystem and using that knowledge to support DIBs. I’m thrilled Brad Schrack is leading this effort for our Government Programs Team.”
Along with CMMC consulting services, Ingalls Government Programs also offers a full suite of technology-enabled, integrated cybersecurity risk management services including:
- Authorization to Operate (ATO) Support
- Risk Management Framework (RMF) Roles
- RMF Pro (DoD product offering) / Cybersecurity Assurance Readiness - CSAR (commercial product offering)
- Viewpoint, a patented Cybersecurity Data Visualization tool
- CMMC Preparation, Consultation, and Assessment
CMMC Certified Professionals play an indispensable role in bolstering cybersecurity within organizations involved in the defense sector. With their deep understanding of the CMMC model and expertise in compliance and implementation, CPs guide businesses on the path to achieving and maintaining robust cybersecurity practices. By leveraging the services of CMMC Registered Practitioner Organizations, and associated Registered Practitioners and Certified CMMC Professionals, organizations can ensure they are well-prepared to tackle the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats while also meeting the stringent cybersecurity requirements set forth by the Department of Defense.