CMMC Compliance for Automotive Manufacturers

CMMC Compliance for Automotive Manufacturers

The automotive industry is an ever-evolving sector that requires ongoing vigilance to protect the intellectual property and other sensitive content that is vital for its success.

For automotive manufacturers contracting with the Department of Defense (DoD), the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC 2.0) provides a list of requirements designed to safeguard sensitive content from unauthorized access like data leaks and data breaches. In this blog post, we will explore what CMMC 2.0 compliance is and how it impacts manufacturers in the automotive industry.

The CMMC certification process is arduous but our CMMC 2.0 compliance roadmap can help.

CMMC Compliance: An Overview Through the Lens of the Automotive Industry

CMMC is a cybersecurity standard developed by the DoD to protect its unclassified information from malicious actors. As a credentialing and certification program, CMMC requires organizations in the DoD’s supply chain, or Defense Industrial Base (DIB), to implement a set of cybersecurity practices and procedures that are tailored to their specific operations.

The CMMC requires automobile manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding federal contract information (FCI) and controlled unclassified information (CUI) from malicious actors by achieving one of three certification levels.

CMMC 2.0 Compliance Levels Explained

Achieving compliance with the CMMC framework is crucial for defense contractors in the automotive industry to protect sensitive data and maintain cybersecurity.

The major difference between CMMC 1.0 and CMMC 2.0 is the elimination of 2 levels. CMMC 1.0 had 5 levels whereas CMMC 2.0 has 3 levels.

CMMC 1.0

  • Level 1: Basic
  • Level 2: Intermediate
  • Level 3: Good
  • Level 4: Proactive
  • Level 5: Advanced

Now, CMMC 2.0 is as follows:

  • Level 1: Foundational
  • Level 2: Advanced
  • Level 3: Expert

Understanding the different CMMC levels and their requirements is essential to achieve compliance.

Level 1: Basic Cyber Hygiene

The first CMMC level focuses on basic cyber hygiene practices to safeguard federal contract information (FCI). This level is designed to protect FCI from unauthorized disclosure, and it involves implementing basic cybersecurity measures such as antivirus software, password policies, and employee training. The Level 1 certification is the minimum requirement for all defense contractors.

Level 2: Intermediate Cyber Hygiene

The second CMMC level involves implementing additional security practices to protect controlled unclassified information (CUI). CUI is information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls, and this level requires defense contractors to implement a more robust cybersecurity infrastructure. The additional requirements include access control, incident response, and security training for employees.

Level 3: Good Cyber Hygiene

The third CMMC level is the highest level of cybersecurity maturity, and it requires the implementation of robust and proactive security measures to protect controlled unclassified information (CUI). At this level, defense contractors are required to establish and maintain a cybersecurity program that meets all the requirements of Levels 1 and 2, as well as implement additional security controls such as multi-factor authentication, penetration testing, and advanced malware protection.

What Companies in the Automotive Industry Must Comply With CMMC?

While technology, equipment, and weapons manufacturers typically come to mind when one thinks about CMMC compliance for the DoD, many companies within the automotive industry are impacted by CMMC. This is because many automotive companies supply parts and components to defense contractors and suppliers or to the DoD directly. As a result, these businesses must also comply with CMMC.

Ultimately, any organization that provides products or services to the DoD must be CMMC compliant This includes truck and auto manufacturers, OEM and after-market parts suppliers, dealers, leasing companies, and other product and service providers—essentially, any organization that supports the DoD’s operations. To be CMMC compliant, organizations must apply for and achieve one of the three levels of certification that are tailored to their specific operations, particularly as they relate to the DoD.

The certification process for automotive manufacturers and suppliers is similar to that of other organizations. They must submit an application to the CMMC Accreditation Body (CMMC-AB), undergo a pre-assessment, and then complete the CMMC assessment process. The assessment process involves determining the organization’s compliance with each of the CMMC requirements, validating the security controls that they have implemented, and ensuring that they have the necessary policies, procedures, and technical systems in place.

How CMMC Affects the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry is one of the most technologically advanced and complex industries in the world. Businesses in this industry must continuously innovate and develop new solutions to improve safety, performance, efficiency, and convenience. Automakers, for example, constantly introduce new technologies and design features that can make their vehicles and trucks more appealing to customers while also helping them to meet increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions standards. Automotive technology, too, has advanced significantly in recent decades, with the introduction of sophisticated communication systems, advanced driver assistance systems, and autonomous driving capabilities. This technology makes cars safer, more efficient, and more user-friendly for consumers, and it helps automakers stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market.

As a result, automobile manufacturers and their industry partners process, hold, store, and share sensitive content with their supply chain partners, as well as with auditors and regulators. Inevitably, these businesses face a host of cybersecurity risks that threaten the safety and integrity of their intellectual property and operations. From malicious malware and ransomware attacks to corporate espionage and insider threats, these risks can have a devastating impact on the performance of a business and the industry as a whole.

Why CMMC 2.0 Compliance Is Important for the Automotive Industry

Businesses operating in the automotive industry are at significant risk of malicious cyberattacks due to the nature of their operations and the volume of sensitive content they generate, store, send, and receive. Sensitive content includes but is not limited to vehicle serial numbers, customer payment information, personally identifiable information (PII), research and development information, software code and algorithms, supply chain and logistics data, component and parts design drawings, warranty and recall data, and much more. These businesses, and their suppliers and dealers, must all ensure the security of their content and the systems and applications that process, store, or share it. Without proper security and governance measures in place, businesses operating in the automotive industry are vulnerable to threats that could compromise their operations, leading to theft of information, loss of revenue, and destruction of brand reputation. And if these businesses have contracts with the DoD, one could argue even national security is at stake.


CMMC Compliance for Automotive Manufacturers – Key Takeaways
  1. CMMC Compliance for Automotive Manufacturers:
    The automotive industry shares lots of sensitive content through an extensive and complex supply chain. CMMC 2.0 ensures this information is protected in adherence to DoD standards.
  2. Understanding CMMC 2.0:
    CMMC 2.0 introduces a streamlined approach with three compliance levels, each targeting different levels of cybersecurity maturity. It’s crucial for automotive manufacturers to understand the differences in these levels./li>

  3. CMMC’s Impact on the Automotive Industry:
    CMMC compliance extends to automotive manufacturers who supply cars, trucks, technology, services, and parts to the DoD. Non-compliance can jeopardize DoD contracts and lead to financial loss and litigation.
  4. Compliance Challenges and Benefits:
    Achieving and maintaining CMMC 2.0 compliance is complicated and costly. Nevertheless, compliance has is benefits, like improved cybersecurity posture, enhanced trust with the DoD, and potential reductions in cyber insurance premiums.

The importance of data security in the automotive industry has never been greater, and organizations that demonstrate compliance with CMMC 2.0 send a message to customers and partners they have implemented the necessary protocols to protect sensitive content for both themselves and the DoD.

This is because CMMC 2.0 compliance is the most comprehensive protection available to the automotive industry. CMMC 2.0 compliance means organizations in the automotive industry adhere to government-grade cybersecurity regulations and best practices. This includes protecting sensitive content, limiting access to privileged files, folders, and accounts, and implementing rigorous authentication procedures. By taking the necessary steps to become CMMC 2.0 compliant, businesses in the automotive industry can ensure they stay ahead of the constantly evolving cyber-threat landscape.

In addition, CMMC 2.0 compliance helps facilitate collaboration between automotive businesses and government agencies, which is essential for the industry. By implementing the same cybersecurity standards, businesses in the automotive industry ensure that the data and information they share with government agencies remain secure, as well as ensuring that government agencies have access to the data they need.

How Businesses Maintain CMMC 2.0 Certification

Once a truck or auto manufacturer, parts supplier, or other organization in the automotive industry has achieved CMMC 2.0 compliance, they must ensure that they continue to maintain the security controls and procedures necessary to remain compliant with the DoD’s standards. This involves regularly reviewing and updating cybersecurity policies and procedures, ensuring that systems are updated and patched regularly, and providing security training to all employees.

Organizations must also ensure that they are compliant with other industry standards, such as ISO 27001 and NIST 800-171. It is also important for organizations to review and update their cyber insurance policies periodically to ensure that their coverage is up to date and that potential risks are identified and mitigated.

Benefits of CMMC 2.0 Compliance for Businesses in the Automotive Industry

CMMC 2.0 compliance provides automotive industry players numerous benefits. CMMC 2.0 compliant companies have an improved cybersecurity posture and protection against cyberattacks. CMMC 2.0 compliance also allows automotive industry organizations to demonstrate their commitment to data security, encourages trust between an organization and its customers, and improves the organization’s reputation and brand image.

Organizations that are compliant with CMMC 2.0 can also compete for government contracts, as the DoD only works with vendors that are CMMC compliant. Additionally, organizations that have achieved CMMC 2.0 compliance may also be eligible for discounted cyber insurance rates, as insurers are more likely to provide a lower premium to organizations that have taken the necessary steps to protect their data.


CMMC Certification and Supply Chain Security

Supply chain security is critical to the automotive industry, as it is essential to protect the products and services that are delivered to the DoD. With the introduction of the CMMC, organizations must ensure that their suppliers and vendors are also CMMC compliant in order to remain in the DoD’s supply chain, the Defense Industrial Base. This ensures that all products and services supplied to the DoD are secure and of the highest quality.

CMMC 2.0 compliance also helps organizations to identify potential threats in their supply chain, as the assessments conducted by certified CMMC Third Party Assessor Organizations (C3PAOs) will highlight any security gaps or vulnerabilities. This can help organizations more effectively manage third-party risk and reduce the risk of malicious attacks and protect their business from potential losses.

Automotive Manufacturers Achieve CMMC 2.0 Compliance With Kiteworks

Just as their counterparts in the defense and security industry sector must accelerate their path to CMMC 2.0 compliance as certification deadlines on the horizon loom closer, businesses in the automotive industry that conduct business with the DoD must do so as well. For file and email data communications with the DoD, the Kiteworks Private Content Network is uniquely positioned—supporting nearly 90% of CMMC 2.0 Level 2 practice requirements out of the box.

With Kiteworks, automotive businesses have full assurance that their sensitive data is protected when it is exchanged with the DoD, other third-party DoD suppliers, and even within their organizations. Content-risk policy management consolidates controls and tracking in one console across all communication channels—email, file sharing, managed file transfer, web forms, and more. Kiteworks’ hardened virtual appliance creates security layers using various security capabilities such as an embedded network firewall and WAF, zero-trust least privilege, AI-based anomaly detection, advanced intrusion detection, and zero-day threat blocking.

Kiteworks also is FedRAMP Authorized for Moderate Level Impact six consecutive years and touts various other compliance achievements such as ISO 27001, 27017, and 27018, SOC 2, Cyber Essentials Plus, and Information Security Registered Assessors Program (IRAP) against PROTECTED level controls.

To gain a better understanding of how Kiteworks can accelerate your CMMC compliance, schedule a custom demo to see the Kiteworks platform in action and learn how it can help accelerate your CMMC compliance journey today.

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