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CMMC – LEVEL 1 – A Beginner’s Guide

Dealing with the Federal Government means you’re likely handling Federal Contract Information (FCI). But what exactly is FCI, and how does it affect your cybersecurity practices and new CMMC requirements?

Understanding FCI

FCI is any information not intended for public release that you generate or receive while fulfilling a federal contract. This could include anything from invoices and order forms to organizational charts and performance reports. While not as sensitive as Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), FCI requires a basic level of protection as outlined in FAR Clause 52.204-21. This clause specifies 17 cybersecurity safeguards to ensure FCI’s safety.

The Self-Assessment Requirement

As a handler of FCI, self-assessment per the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a must – this is where Level 1 comes into play. But what does self-assessment involve?

Breaking Down Self-Assessment

Self-assessment is essentially an internal check against the 17 controls defined by CMMC Level 1. These controls are a mix of processes, procedures, and technologies designed to keep your cybersecurity practices up to standard. To self-assess, you’ll need to:

  1. Review Your Practices: Analyze how your current security measures align with each control.
  2. Document Compliance: Confirm that each control is not only in place but functioning effectively.

Assessing Your Confidence Level

If cybersecurity isn’t your forte, ensuring compliance can be daunting. The increasing frequency of data breaches reported in the news doesn’t help. In such a scenario, can you stand confidently by your self-assessment should a breach occur?

The Viridis Approach: “Sleep at Night” Confidence

At Viridis, we recommend treating self-assessments with the same seriousness as an external audit. Our security experts can assist in:

  • Identifying critical data and assets for protection.
  • Evaluating and enhancing your security posture.
  • Facilitating vulnerability testing and remediation.
  • Developing employee training strategies for FCI handling.

We focus on integrating security into your everyday business processes seamlessly and efficiently, tailored to your specific needs and budget.

Key Strategies for Compliance

  1. Know Your Assets: Understand what you have, how to protect it, how/when to destroy it.
  2. Train Your Users: Educate employees on the importance of handling FCI.
  3. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication: Add an extra layer of security.
  4. Restrict Admin Privileges: Limit access to sensitive information.
  5. Regularly Update Systems: Stay on top of software and OS patches.
  6. System Hardening: Secure your IT infrastructure.
  7. Network Segmentation: Isolate critical systems and data.
  8. Reliable Backups: Regularly back up data and test recovery plans.
  9. Monitor Systems: Stay vigilant for any signs of a breach.
  10. Vendor Management: Ensure your third parties are also compliant.

Let’s Get Started

Ready to tackle CMMC Level 1 with confidence? Viridis is here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today to make compliance a seamless part of your business operations.

Prefer to self-assess first? Check out the in-depth CMMC Level 1 blog post and checklist download.