Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Audits Made Easy

Recently the US Federal Government announced plans to impose a cybersecurity audit and certificate program referred to as the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which will be used as a standard requirement for all firms dealing with DoD data.  The CMMC closely follows established frameworks pulling heavily from the NIST CMF and 800-171 publications.  The obvious advantages of using a ubiquitous framework and assessment to ensure compliance with these new regulations helps to reinforce many of the best practices that firms in this space should have already been following.

Each firm must record their policies, procedures, and controls related to the NIST frameworks, showing a clearly delineated map of these relationships for auditors to follow, test, and critique.  The DoD recently announced that they plan to start the audit process in 2020 with more than 60% of firms expected to have completed their requirements by the end of the year.  This leaves firms with sparse time to evaluate and immortalize their processes, with a narrow window to fix non-compliant or lacking areas of their cybersecurity framework.

These moves by the Federal Government and the DoD are being widely celebrated by the cyber defense industry as a win against unintentional release of classified information, and as strong guidance for the industry to help ensure a curb in the currently vulnerable industry.  With a long history of leaks, and hacks, the government consulting and data analytics firms, that make up much of the cyber defense of the country, will be helping to ensure our enemies have one less tool to utilize.

With StrunkAccess Risk and Policy Manager consulting firms are finding a tool that can help navigate through the complicated process of becoming compliant with risk frameworks, helping to protect their companies and clients.  From SOC 2 to NIST to any risk framework, StrunkAccess is an elegant solution utilized to help hundreds of companies evaluate, record, and manage their risks.

SOC 2 for Companies vs CPA Firms

SOC 2 reports are becoming ubiquitous for businesses in the B2B market, creating a shared confidence that best business practices are followed and systems are developed with security and data privacy in mind.  StrunkAccess GRC provides a unique SOC 2 experience, and through our conversations with clients we have seen that predictably CPA firms have a much different view of the SOC 2 vs Companies required to have them.

Companies

To compete in today’s market a company must be able to satisfy their customers’ needs.  With many companies now requiring 3rd party verifications from their vendors, the go to responses are an assessment based on how integrated the vendor is within the operations of the requesting company and a SOC 2 report.  From a company’s perspective a SOC 2 is really just a means to lubricate the sales processes and removing barriers or objections to the perspective business.  While a SOC 2 audit can add value to a company by solidifying policies, procedures and controls, the overwhelming sense our clients have relayed to us is a SOC 2 is necessary to help increase their bottom line by doing business with more sophisticated entities.

CPA Firms

While the SOC 2 has been a big boom to the bottom line of CPA firms, many firms realize SOC 2 readiness is a time consuming and onerous process for their clients.  It also winds up delaying the SOC 2 process more than any other part of the audit, especially for first time SOC 2 participants.  Because of this CPA firms concentrate on giving companies tools and examples that can help them fill gaps in their organizational structure.  The issue arises that before a SOC 2 audit no company is fully ready, all companies need to add policies or modify existing policies to close gaps and follow the general outline of the SOC 2 trust principles.  The biggest divergence that we see here is that the CPA controls for SOC 2 vary from firm to firm and can create a maze that is hard for companies to follow, even though the process with the CPA firm may be well established.  The big difference here is that CPA firms are looking at a SOC 2 as an ends, where as companies view them as a means to an end.

An independent certified public accountant has examined Strunk’s operations and found them to be in compliance with the AICPA’s Trust Service Principles. It was determined that Strunk meets the Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy criteria for SOC 2 established by the AICPA.