Impact News

Blog: Blog

Back To News

Understanding Cybersecurity Risk Management

Friday, October 15, 2021 | Cybersecurity

Manufacturing was the second most targeted industry by cybercriminals in 2020. Washington State manufacturers need to step up their cyber security measures to meet this rising threat. Through Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), your business can be kept safe from hackers anywhere in the world.

Read on to learn more about the threats facing the manufacturing industry and how to better protect your company.

What Kinds of Threats Does the Industry Face?

The first step toward protecting your Washington State manufacturing company is knowing the different types of threats your business faces. The threats are many and varied, and include:

Phishing Attacks

If there's an "oldest trick in the book" for cybercriminals, this is it. It's gotten more technical as time has passed. Modern phishing scams look much like internal emails sent by the company itself. 

They can also take the form of emails sent by organizations. They resemble those that are likely to do business with your company.

These look like official emails, sometimes with copyrighted logos. They can provide cybercriminals with an entry point into the network.

Internal Security Breaches 

Not every cyberattack comes from outside the company. Internal security breaches are on the rise, and they can do serious damage. These attacks are usually financially motivated. 

They can also come from dissatisfied employees who simply want to cause trouble.

Internal attacks are particularly insidious. They don't need to gain access to the network. An employee can use their existing information or credentials to access sensitive data.


Some cybercriminals have been moving away from stealing and selling sensitive information. Instead, they take the system itself hostage and then force a company to pay them to release their hold on it. Software is used to encrypt or otherwise obstruct access to networks. 

Once the demands of the hackers are, they release the network.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Company

There are a many of steps you can take to protect your manufacturing company from cyberattacks. Here are a few simple, yet effective methods for doing so.

Limit Employee Access to Sensitive Data

The number one information security threat is simple human error. By limiting your employees' access to sensitive data, you can greatly cut your exposure to this threat.

Ensure You Have Uninterruptible Power Supplies and Surge Protectors

Sometimes, there may be a power interruption to your system. Uninterruptible power supplies can provide you enough time to save your data.

Every relevant network device should be plugged into uninterruptible power supplies. These can include computers, tablets, and cell phones.

Standard surge protectors work for non-network devices and less sensitive electronics.

Regularly Patch Your Software

This includes operating systems. Any new applications or software can expose you to cyberattacks if it isn't updated regularly.

You should also make sure all your operating systems are up-to-date. Software companies are not required to update all previous versions of their products.

For example, Microsoft no longer provides security updates for Windows 7. If your company uses outdated operating systems, make sure they are still receiving regular security updates.

Use Firewalls for Your Hardware and Software

One way to easily expose your business to malicious cyber attacks is through employees accessing inappropriate or unnecessary websites while at work. Every network device, including computers, tablets, and cell phones, must have regular updates to its firewalls. 

Protecting Your Business with Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)

The US has recently initiated a program known as Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification to address low NIST 800 171 compliance. The program is used to measure a defense contractor's cybersecurity readiness, adeptness, and sophistication.

The goal of becoming certified is to make Uncontrolled Classified Information (UCI) safer and more secure in the hands of businesses that hold federal contracts.

A Few Facts About CMMC Certification

The certification applies to all DoD contractors and subcontractors. It will apply to some new contracts that began in 2020 and all contracts by 2026.

It uses a progressive model that covers incrementally advancing cybersecurity practices. Each step results in an increased level of certification.

You start at level 1 and advance step-by-step to level 5. It can be used in conjunction with DFARS compliance standards to create a more secure cyber environment.

CMMC Goals

The specific intent of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification is to ensure the protection of two types of information: Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and Federal Contract Information (FCI).

Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)

This is information that is not classified under EO 13526 or the Atomic Energy Act. It is, however, information that needs to be protected or controlled by applicable laws. 

Federal Contract Info (FCI)

This is information that the government does not want to be publicly available. It's developed under a government contract to make or create something and deliver it to the government. It does not include information that the government provides to the public.

Certification Levels

Each level of the certification has a set of specific goals that must be met to ascend to the next level. The components included in certification include:

  • Practices
  • Domains
  • Capabilities
  • Processes

As a business contracting with the government advance through their assessment of the components, an overall level of certification is accomplished until the maximum level (5) is reached.

What's the Difference Between NIST SP 800 171 and CMMC?

CMMC differs from NIST SP 800 171 in that it has 5 levels. Each level is cumulative, so each individual level contains its own set of practices and processes in addition to those of the respective lower levels. 

For example, to obtain level 4, you must be in compliance will all of level 4's practices and processes, as well as those of levels 3, 2, and 1.

Protect Your Company from Cyberattacks with CMMC

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a government program that began in 2020. It addresses the low compliance with NIST SP 800 171. It entails a 5 level, cumulative system that assesses manufacturers and contractors who want to obtain government contracts.

Impact Washington provides training and resources in CMMC compliance. For more information, check out our CMMC compliance courses.

Schedule a no-cost