In a world where cyberattacks are constantly on the rise, companies must remain vigilant in assessing threats. In fact, the Department of Defense places a very high priority on determining these threats and protecting valuable and sensitive information. DFARS, or the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement, is a set of regulations companies need to follow to get new contracts from the Department of Defense.

What DFARS Compliance Means and Why It Matters to Your Company

These regulations now exist because the federal government has a vested interest in protecting sensitive information. This includes Covered Defense Information, or CDI, and Controlled Unclassified Information, or CUI.

The government is now paying particular interest to private defense contractors or other information systems not operated by the federal government. There is a requirement that these companies continually update their security systems and protocols to meet new and emerging requirements and threats.

Companies that do not understand or fail to adhere to what is DFARS compliance can face fines, the loss of contracts currently in place, and the loss of ability to obtain government contracts in the future. There is a long list of countries worldwide that have reciprocal agreements with the United States under DFARS.

If your company wants to work with the Department of Defense, they need to be DFARS compliant. With business opportunities worldwide depending on this compliance, your company must stay current.

The DFARS Compliance Requirements Your Company Must Know About

For companies that want to be DFARS compliant, the minimum requirements are pretty easy to understand and straightforward. This remains true even though cybersecurity complexity continues to increase.

If you are a contractor of the Department of Defense, you need to show that you can offer adequate security for CUI that moves through your information systems. The entire point of DFARS is to keep unauthorized persons from seeing or disseminating CUI.

If there is a suspected breach of this information, companies need to notify the Department of Defense immediately. They also need to allow the department access to any media affected by the breach.

While this may sound simple in theory, the idea of what constitutes adequate security can be open to interpretation. DFARS requirements fall into 14 different categories, all of which companies must know about and understand.

To remain compliant, companies need to conduct readiness assessments. They need to show continuing objective evidence that addresses all requirements to stay DFARS compliant.

The problem for many smaller companies is finding the manpower and resources to stay ahead of this curve. Since the onus is on the company to remain compliant, small companies need to find ways to keep up with these sometimes complex regulations.

One option for many smaller companies is to retain a third party specializing in this type of compliance. That way, a company can focus on what it does best and leave these somewhat detailed tasks to people qualified for the job.

DFARS compliance is not difficult to achieve with proper planning and continuous monitoring of your systems. The trick is to find a plan built for your company that will work now and in the future.

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