NIST and CMMC assessments are crucial for identifying risks and threats.They help businesses identify vulnerabilities, ensure compliance with industry standards, and implement effective security measures to protect against evolving cyber threats and safeguard critical data and infrastructure.

NIST 800-171 Overview

A NIST assessment involves a comprehensive evaluation against the standards outlined in the NIST 800-171 framework. This process includes reviewing existing security controls, policies, and procedures to identify compliance levels and potential gaps. The assessment covers areas like access control, incident response, system and information integrity, and business continuity. It involves scrutinizing IT infrastructure, applications, and data management practices to ensure alignment with NIST guidelines. Recommendations for improvement are provided, focusing on enhancing security posture and risk management. The ultimate goal is to safeguard sensitive data and systems against cyber threats while maintaining regulatory compliance.

CMMC 2.0 Overview

A CMMC 2.0 assessment evaluates a defense contractor's adherence to specific cybersecurity practices and maturity levels, as mandated by the U.S. Department of Defense. It involves a thorough review of cybersecurity protocols against CMMC 2.0's streamlined framework, which includes three maturity levels focusing on essential cybersecurity controls and practices. The assessment, conducted by accredited assessors, determines a contractor's capability to protect sensitive defense information, ensuring they meet the required standards for DoD contract eligibility.

The two assessments differ on a few dimensions:

NIST 800-171

  • Developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Broadly applicable across industries, providing a flexible framework to manage cybersecurity risks
  • Provides guidelines and best practices but does not require formal certification

CMMC 2.0

  • Developed by the United States Department of Defense (DoD)
  • Mandatory for defense contractors within the DoD supply chain
  • Requires formal assessment and certification by accredited third-party assessors
What Is...
How are NIST and CMMC Risk / Threat Assessments Different?
Value Add
How Gradient Cyber adds Value

We can perform either a NIST or CMMC assessment side-by-side with you that will:

  • Establish a clear baseline of your IT environment's current security posture
  • Measure you relative to best practice benchmarks
  • Document a detailed, risk-based analysis with prioritized recommendations, guiding you towards optimal cybersecurity resilience and compliance

The value of a Gradient Cyber Assessment is that it is administered, scored and retained in our XDR platform. Assessments can be performed over time, enabling customers to see how their scores are trending across NIST domains (Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, Recover), and a much broader set of domains and levels across CMMC.

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