Submitted by on

Home > CMMC Compliance Deadline

CMMC Compliance Deadline

Share this Page

What is the Timeline for CMMC?

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) compliance deadline spans a five-year phase-in period. According to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the CMMC 2.0 compliance deadline is expected to be the end of 2026. The overall timeline for the implementation of the CMMC program is as follows.

  • December 26, 2023—The proposed CMMC 2.0 rule was published in the Federal Register.
  • February 26, 2024—The public comment period for the proposed rule closed.
  • By Autumn  2025—The final rule is expected to be published, and self-assessments are expected to be required for CMMC 2.0 Level 1 and Level 2, as a condition of DoD contract awards. October 1, 2026—From this date, the DOD intends to include CMMC requirements for Levels 1, 2 and 3 in all solicitations when FCI or CUI information requires protection under the contract. Also by this date, Level 2 Certification Assessments are expected to be required as a condition of contract awards for all contracts that involve CUI.

The CMMC deadline is subject to change, and the DoD may make adjustments based on public comments that are received about  the proposed rule.

The steps required to meet  the CMMC compliance deadline should be taken sooner rather than later.

Is CMMC Replacing National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171?

The CMMC 2.0 program does not replace NIST SP 800-171. Although CMMC and NIST SP 800-171 are both required for contractors working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), they serve different, albeit complementary, roles in enhancing cybersecurity for organizations. 

Rather than replacing NIST SP 800-171, CMMC 2.0 builds upon it, incorporating its guidelines as part of its foundational elements. The transition to CMMC 2.0 does not negate the relevance of NIST SP 800-171. Rather, it uses the NIST standards as a key component of its more comprehensive cybersecurity framework. For organizations, particularly DoD contractors, this means that adhering to NIST SP 800-171 is still vital, but they must also navigate the additional requirements and the certification process introduced by CMMC.

Following the CMMC compliance deadline, CMMC 2.0 and NIST SP 800-171 will continue to coexist with distinct roles in the cybersecurity landscape. NIST SP 800-171 will serve as a foundational standard for protecting CUI, and CMMC compliance will add a certification layer.

What Companies Need CMMC Compliance?

CMMC compliance is mandatory for entities within the defense industrial base (DIB) sector, which encompasses various businesses that engage either directly or indirectly with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The fundamental aim of CMMC is to safeguard DoD contractors’ and subcontractors’ Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) against cyber threats.

Entities that will be mandated to adhere to the CMMC compliance deadline include those engaged in contracts with the DoD, whether as primary contractors or subcontractors at any level. This consists of a broad spectrum of enterprises, ranging from major defense contractors to smaller suppliers and service entities. The applicability of the CMMC compliance deadline is not limited to defense product manufacturers. It also covers entities offering services, such as IT support, logistics, research and development, engineering, consulting, and training, when their operations involve handling or accessing FCI or CUI.

To be ready for the CMMC deadline, organizations subject to compliance need to understand the three levels. Each level is based on required practices and controls, and in a tiered manner, each level builds on the previous level.

  • CMMC Level 1
    Allows suppliers to self-attest their compliance through annual self-assessments. At Level 1, organizations need to demonstrate basic cyber hygiene across 17 practices that represent the basic safeguarding requirements under FAR 52.204-21. Level 1 is primarily focused on DoD contractors and subcontractors that manage FCI. 
  • CMMC Level 2
    At Level 2, organizations must demonstrate that they have implemented the requirements of NIST SP 800-171, which includes 110 practices that also encompass the Level 1 requirements. Level 2 is primarily focused on DoD contractors and subcontractors that manage CUI. 
  • CMMC Level 3
    Requires organizations to undergo a government-led assessment every three years. At level 3, organizations will need to demonstrate compliance with a subset of NIST SP 800-172, which includes  110+ practices that also encompass the Level 1 and Level 2 requirements.

How Does Your Organization Get CMMC Compliance?

Achieving compliance to meet the CMMC deadline is an essential undertaking for organizations involved in the DoD supply chain. The process of CMMC compliance involves a series of meticulous steps.

Understand CMMC requirements
The first step is to thoroughly understand the CMMC framework and identify the level of compliance that needs to be achieved in advance of the CMMC deadline. Which of the three CMMC levels is applicable will depend on the type of information handled by the organization. 

Conduct a self-assessment
Once determining which level is applicable, organizations need to conduct a gap analysis to understand how their current cybersecurity practices match up against the CMMC requirements. This assessment should highlight areas that need improvement to meet the specific requirements for the CMMC compliance deadline. Often, this will involve reviewing documentation, processes, and IT infrastructure.

Develop a plan
Based on the gap analysis, organizations need to create a plan to address deficiencies that have been identified. This plan should detail what is needed to implement necessary cybersecurity practices and processes, including those related to people and technology. Part of the plan should be directions for updating policies, enhancing security infrastructure, and training employees.

Implement updates to cybersecurity 
Following the plan, updates to existing cybersecurity programs and processes need to be implemented. This usually includes upgrading systems, adjusting network configurations, and updating security controls to meet the CMMC practices at the level applicable to the organization.

Document policies and procedures 
CMMC places a significant emphasis on documentation. Organizations must have well-documented policies and procedures that align with CMMC requirements. This documentation should cover how the organization intends to protect FCI and CUI, and how it will sustain those security practices. Artifacts should also be maintained for all applicable security controls, as your company prepares for its CMMC assessment. 

Undergo a pre-assessment  
For organizations that require a third-party assessment, this is an optional internal audit that is recommended before the official assessment. This step helps identify any oversights or areas that might need further improvement.

Choose a certified third-party assessor organization (C3PAO)
If a third-party assessment is required, a C3PAO needs to be selected to conduct an independent assessment. This assessment verifies that the organization meets the requirements for the company’s desired CMMC level. To select a C3PAO), verify their accreditation status on the CMMC-AB Marketplace, and evaluate their experience, cost, and reputation.

Conduct an official assessment and  achieve certification
Again, if a third-party assessment is required, after a successful assessment, the organization will receive its CMMC certification, which remains valid for three years.

Be Prepared as the CMMC Compliance Deadline Approaches

The steps required to meet the CMMC compliance deadline should be considered sooner rather than later. While the actual deadline is still being finalized, pending reviews of the framework as of February 2024, it is coming. That will require effort for DoD contractors and subcontractors to meet the requirements and maintain approved status as DIB contractors.

Egnyte has experts ready to answer your questions. For more than a decade, Egnyte has helped more than 17,000+ customers with millions of users worldwide.

Last Updated: 13th March, 2024

Share this Page

Get started with Egnyte.

Request Demo