If you're a defense contractor, or are considering entering the defense supply chain, you probably have security and compliance requirements on your mind.
The US is arguably the most advanced market in this space - stringent requirements, known as CMMC, were announced in January 2020 and by 2026, all new US Department of Defense contractors will require CMMC certification.
While 2026 may initially seem a long way off, the reality is that many contractors are already racing to show their leadership in this space, gaining credentials early as they chase increased business with defense buyers. Anecdotally, there is also early feedback of contracts already being made subject to CMMC capabilities with sub-contractors, as larger players seek to minimize complexity and the requirement for re-work in their supply chains further down the track.
What we’re seeing in the US is almost certainly a prelude of what’s to come in other markets, as countries such as the UK, Australia, and others also rapidly establish and tighten up their own CMMC-style regulations.
Considering something that appears as complex as CMMC, your first thought may be that you’ll need to replace some of your existing systems, such as document and file sharing software. If so, you’re on the right track. To demonstrate compliance with protocols such as CMMC, organizations need to have highly secure, encrypted file sharing and collaboration software which comply with the prescribed compliance standards.
When companies learn about these requirements and the resulting need to beef up their cyber security software, they typically make two assumptions:
- Installing more secure file sharing software will cause cyber security costs to skyrocket.
- The new software will be cumbersome and complicated to use.
The good news is that compliance doesn’t need to be that complex, or that costly. Cocoon Data is an ultra-secure file sharing platform that goes as far as encrypting each file with an individual encryption key. It’s easy to use, supports many of the world’s most stringent security and compliance practices, and is exceptionally affordable at only $15 a month.
Using CMMC as the benchmark for a would-be supplier’s secure file sharing set up, let’s explore why you don’t have to spend a fortune to meet even the world’s most demanding cyber security requirements.
What’s Driving Up Cyber Security Costs for Defense Contractors?
Achieving the likes of CMMC compliance is putting a strain on the resources of many smaller contractors. Estimates for achieving compliance at this level range from $3,000 to $30,000—depending, of course, on the unique situation of each business.
But when you consider how working to achieve compliance can affect your cyber security costs, there’s more to keep in mind than just how much you’re paying expert consultants to help you through it. Consider also the hidden costs of having your team spend time learning a new, complicated software. Time is money. You need a simple to use platform that doesn’t add even more cost to achieving the kinds of security standards your organization needs to meet.
The question, then, is how can your business demonstrate compliance while incurring the lowest possible cyber security costs, while also causing the least amount of disruption to your business?
Four Ways to Streamline Compliance
Here are four tips for meeting requirements - including CMMC - as cost-effectively as possible:
- Remember that achieving compliance isn’t just about implementing technology - it’s about changing behaviors. It’s about putting policies in place so that when your users try to do something risky, they’ll run into a warning or barrier. You can use technology to enforce these policies automatically, and to leave an audit trail that helps you demonstrate compliance.
- Don’t assume that an affordable solution won’t be good enough for your needs. “Expensive” doesn’t always mean “best.” Don’t make the mistake of thinking that to provide the right level of security for your organization, you should disregard any solutions below a certain price point. Instead, focus on finding a highly encrypted file sharing system that runs in the cloud to give you outstanding value for your money. Your platform provider, or security and compliance consultant, should be able to tell you directly whether the software you’re discussing can support standards such as ITAR, or CMMC, and to what extent.
- Choose a system that’s designed to get your employees up and running on secure business processes as quickly as possible. Overly complex solutions that require weeks or months to implement only add to your cyber security costs by lowering employee productivity. And, the more complex the solution, the greater the likelihood of unintentional user error.
- Look for a platform that was built for the defense industry, not for consumers. Some solutions on the market provide robust protection for individuals and businesses—but they weren’t initially designed to meet military requirements. When vendors wanted to start pursuing business from defense contractors, they began adding these features in. But this kind of development can lead to complexity, because adding the extra security to meet government defense requirements was an afterthought. Vendors charge accordingly, figuring that they can demand a premium for functionality that allows contractors to win defense business. By contrast, vendors that build their solutions for the defense industry from the ground up can deliver the functionality you need with an easy-to-use design. And, they won’t run up your cyber security costs. These vendors also have specialized expertise in the needs of military organizations and can help you hone your strategy for demonstrating compliance.
Let’s Talk About Controlling Your Cyber Security Costs
If you’re serious about finding a solution that meets all the standards laid out we’ve set above, Cocoon Data provides a compelling solution. The cloud-based environment enables employees, customers, partners, and suppliers to store and share their confidential information with ease.
Because Cocoon Data’s file sharing platform was originally designed for the military and intelligence communities, it also brings the highest levels of security and compliance capability, supporting organizations on their journey to certifications such as CMMC. In fact, Cocoon Data can help US based suppliers address nearly one third of all current CMMC Practises in just one implementation. So, it can be done!
The Cocoon Data platform also meets an extensive range of other, global security and compliance standards such as GDCP, ITAR and EARS, to name just a few.
Above all else, Cocoon is designed to be cost effective, and easy to use, with set up taking a little as a few minutes.