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New Cybersecurity Certification Program Launches

Southern’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies has launched The Department of Defense-approved cybersecurity certification training program that will help defense contractors and subcontractors protect sensitive information. CMMC-AB (CMMC Accreditation Body), who reviewed and granted approval for the program, is the sole authoritative source for the Department of Defense for the operationalization of CMMC Assessments and Training. Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is the new unifying standard for the implementation of cybersecurity across the Defense Industrial Base (DIB).

Southern is first to take the lead in Connecticut to offer Certified CMMC Professionals (CCP) courses. The university has partnered with CyberDI, the premier Licensed Publishing and Training Partner of the CMMC-AB. CyberDI is one of the first approved LLPs in the marketplace.

Courses are designed by cybersecurity experts, instructional designers, and education psychologists and offered during a five-week, 10-module course that is available at several convenient times, offering flexibility to professionals. Our team includes highly knowledgeable members of the CMMC ecosystem who have deep understanding of the development of the current CMMC requirements based on federal cyber requirements of the past 20 years. Registration is now open.

“Southern is committed to offering innovative programs in the areas critical to national interests and community service,” said Manohar Singh, dean of the SCSU School of Graduate and Professional Studies. “With this new certification training program, participants will engage with subject matter experts and join a community of their peers for a comprehensive overview that will prepare them for their assessment and compliance with the DoD CMMC program. “

The U.S. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment introduced the Cyber Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), a new standard for suppliers to operate within the Defense Department’s acquisition and procurement process. All companies that provide supplies for the department’s projects and operations – such as defense contractors – will need to be certified. The requirements are being phased in by Oct. 1, 2025.

Currently, contractors have been able to merely attest they were in compliance with safety standards by conducting self-assessments. But under the new system, self-assessment option will be complemented by third-party trained professionals assessing whether those standards are being met. Southern will help teach those who seek to become certified assessors and professionals. Lisa Lancor, chair of Southern’s Computer Science Department, noted that this certification training program should prove valuable to those pursuing a career in the increasingly critical field of cybersecurity. The CMMC Accreditation Body specifies a clearly defined path through its certifications with each certificate building on the next. For example, before becoming a Certified CMMC Assessor – Level 1, (CCA-1), a person would have to become a Certified CMMC Professional (CCP).

“Currently, there are no CMMC-certified assessors who can do the assessment of companies that have defense contracts, such as Sikorsky Aircraft and Pratt & Whitney,” Lancor said. “This opens up a huge market for anyone who wants to get into CMMC as a career, helping to secure organizations from external hackers. The CCP certificate is also of interest to companies that have contracts, or sub-contracts, or sub-sub-contracts, with the Defense Department so they can better prepare for their CMMC assessments.”

Lancor said the training towards CCP is currently available at SCSU, and the training for the CCA will roll out as the CMMC Accreditation Body defines the standards for the CCA certificate.

CCPs and CCAs must be trained by a CMMC-approved Licensed Training Provider (such as Data Intelligence Technologies), and CMMC-Accrediting Body Certified Instructors, and then tested by the CMMC Accreditation Body. When an individual passes that test, they become certified at the level of their testing and can work for a Certified 3rd Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO) that would go out and assess contractors and all of their subcontractors, according to Lancor.

She said the partnership with CyberDI will also enable SCSU students pursuing a Master of Science degree in computer science with a cybersecurity concentration to receive the training for free. For further information, go to: CMMC.SouthernCT.edu

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