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Accelerating Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) compliance on Azure

Expanding compliance coverage to meet CMMC requirements, announcing a new CMMC acceleration program for DIB companies serving the DoD.

As we deliver on our ongoing commitment to serving as the most secure and compliant cloud, we’re constantly adapting to the evolving landscape of cybersecurity to help our customers achieve compliance more rapidly. Our aim is to continue to provide our customers and partners with world-class cybersecurity technology, controls, and best practices, making compliance faster and easier with native capabilities in Azure and Azure Government, as well as Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365.

In architecting solutions with customers, a foundational component of increasing importance is building more secure and reliable supply chains. For many customers, this is an area where new tools, automation, and process maturity can improve an organization’s security posture while reducing manual compliance work.

In preparing for the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) from the Department of Defense (DoD), many of our customers and partners have asked for more information on how to prepare for audits slated to start as early as the summer of 2020. 

Designed to improve the security posture of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), CMMC requires an evaluation of the contractor’s technical security controls, process maturity, documentation, policies, and the processes that are in place and continuously monitored. Importantly, CMMC also requires validation by an independent, certified third-party assessment organization (C3PAO) audit, in contrast to the historical precedent of self-attestation.

Expanding compliance coverage to meet CMMC requirements

Common questions we’ve heard from customers include: “when will Azure achieve CMMC accreditation?” and “what Microsoft cloud environments will be certified?”

While the details are still being finalized by the DoD and CMMC Accreditation Body (CMMC AB), we expect some degree of reciprocity with FedRAMP, NIST 800-53, and NIST CSF, as many of the CMMC security controls map directly to controls under these existing cybersecurity frameworks. Ultimately, Microsoft is confident in its cybersecurity posture and is closely following guidance from DoD and the CMMC AB to demonstrate compliance to the C3PAOs. We will move quickly to be evaluated once C3PAOs are accredited and approved to begin conducting assessments. 

Microsoft’s goal is to continue to strengthen cybersecurity across the DIB through world-class cybersecurity technology, controls, and best practices, and to put its cloud customers in a position to inherit Microsoft’s security controls and eventual CMMC certifications. Our intent is to achieve certification for Microsoft cloud services utilized by DIB customers.

Note: While commercial environments are intended to be certified as they are for FedRAMP High, CMMC by itself should not be the deciding factor on choosing which environment is most appropriate. Most DIB companies are best aligned with Azure Government and Microsoft 365 GCC High for data handling of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).

New CMMC acceleration program for a faster path to certification

The Microsoft CMMC acceleration program is an end-to-end program designed to help customers and partners that serve as suppliers to the DoD improve their cybersecurity maturity, develop the cyber critical thinking skills essential to CMMC, and benefit from the compliance capabilities native to Azure and Azure Government. 

The program will help you close compliance gaps and mitigate risks, evolve your cybersecurity toward a more agile and resilient defense posture, and help facilitate CMMC certification. Within this program, you’ll have access to a portfolio of learning resources, architectural references, and automated implementation tools custom-tailored to the certification journey.

For more information on participating in the program, email cmmc@microsoft.com

Learn more about the CMMC framework

Read our in-depth article on CMMC on the Microsoft Tech Communities blog, and stay tuned to the Azure Government Dev Blog for ongoing guidance on implementing Azure to achieve compliance with CMMC requirements.

Disclaimer: Customers are wholly responsible for ensuring their own compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Information provided in this post does not constitute legal advice, and customers should consult their legal advisors for any questions regarding legal or regulatory compliance.