The recent U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS 252.204-7012) Interim Rule has left many companies unsure of how to begin. A critical first step in this process is understanding that the decisions your organization makes early on in this journey become increasingly harder to unwind and that these decisions can lead to significant sustainment costs to maintain. Because these early decisions can have costly consequences, knowing the five following elements will help to make sure you select and assemble the right security compliance team – successfully keeping your existing DoD business.
1. Start with the End in Mind
No matter if you are big or small, take the time to educate yourself about the effort involved, the time it will require, and the commitment by you and your staff to attain your goals. Cybersecurity can seem like a foreign language and the level of help you need to become compliant can feel overwhelming. As you look for regulatory compliance services from consulting companies, seek a partner committed to helping you understand the full scope and picture of what your initiative will require.
As part of understanding the full scope, it is important to recognize that security compliance and regulatory demands have become the responsibility of more than just IT specialists, but every level within your company’s leadership team now has a responsibility. Security compliance solutions will stretch across departments and physical locations and require standardized practices, processes, and procedures as well as ongoing investment in people and technologies.
2. Select a Cybersecurity Compliance Team That Prioritizes Your Needs Over Their Offering
Your company and structure are unique to you and the people who work for it, whether you have one or many different locations and teams. You also have a specific operating environment that’s unlike any other business in the world, making compliance needs very personal every time they come up – whether it be DFARS, CMMC, ITAR or some other regulation at hand. When looking for help navigating these regulations seek companies aligned with you personally and professionally with what makes your business unique.
Interview regulatory compliance consulting companies and listen for their willingness to offer a tailored solution to meet your unique needs. Beware of companies offering an easy solution for compliance. The reality is there is no such thing as overnight compliance. Companies need time and resources tailored specifically for their needs before they’re able to meet all requirements. Experienced and trusted companies will work with you to develop a plan based on your company size, location, number of employees, and other factors.
3. Look for a Partner to Bring Together the Complete End-To-End Solution
Finding a partner to help you pull together the complete solution is one of the most challenging areas to consider when building your compliance team. DoD regulatory compliance covers many different topics, controls, and requirements. Few companies are equipped to give you everything you need.
With the growing rate of cybersecurity breaches, it’s time to think about more than just a new process or a patched solution. As a compliance project manager, you want to have an end-to-end look at what is needed and who can provide that service to you. When talking with potential partners, take the opportunity to discuss and define every stage in the process, so there are no gaps in coverage with hidden costs that could be avoided by better planning. Also, make sure that the partner you select can act effectively as an honest broker with motivations and interests to provide trade off solutions that are aligned to your business needs.
4. Select a Team with Proven Regulatory Experience
A more experienced company is the best option for your compliance needs. Having the experience to understand what auditors are looking for and what is deemed an acceptable approach. They will also be able to solve ever-increasing complex cybersecurity issues and have experts on staff with experience in related industries which can give you a competitive advantage against other companies that may not know how to navigate these regulations as well. An experienced team has an extensive network of industry leaders, partners, and complementary businesses who are all working together to amplify each other’s knowledge base – meaning less work for your company.
When you work with a company who knows what they’re doing, it can be like having your own personal mentor. Not only will the company know the ins and outs of federal contracts and compliance law, the experience you gain from working with a long-time partner enables them to share valuable insights and lessons learned.
5. Seek an Easy to Understand, Well-Designed Compliance Journey
A good company is one that does not hesitate to share its full set of government and regulatory advisory services. This will reassure you with the knowledge they are well-versed in all areas, including strategy, planning, assessment remediation, documentation, compliance program management, and audit preparation. Further, a great partner should be willing to help you understand short and long-term budget expectations, so you fully understand the size and scope of investment required.
President Biden’s recent Executive Order on improving the nation’s cybersecurity announced that the government must move toward Zero Trust architecture and many other security initiatives. This is only more indication of how the government is getting more serious about needed changes.
The future of your business and cybersecurity is at stake, so don’t overlook a critical part: finding a team that understands what you’re trying to do. You need someone who shares a deep-rooted obligation to national service, as well as an internal drive for security compliance. Your journey should not be seen as just checking off requirements; rather it’s shared responsibility with other DoD suppliers in protecting our nation’s vital data. For answers to your cybersecurity compliance questions or other DFARS insights, call us today at 1-833-530-2083.