Maryland Now Offers Defense Cybersecurity Assistance Program

Maryland-based DoD Contractors who use ComplyUp’s DFARS/NIST 800-171 Compliance Solutions may qualify for financial assistance through The Maryland Defense Cybersecurity Assistance Program (DCAP).

Defense contractors are prevalent in the areas surrounding Washington DC, particularly Maryland and Virginia, and have a large impact on the economy, as they amount to a sizable proportion of the tax base in these areas. In fact, defense contractors in Maryland have $57 billion of economic impact annually.

To ensure businesses continue to grow and become profitable, the State of Maryland is now providing contractors with assistance in complying with the new DFARS cybersecurity standards, administering a program to distribute federal grant dollars to local contractors to help them become compliant with these rules.

Compliance with these standards is an existential issue for those that do business with the federal government. If these businesses fail to account for and follow these new rules, they will lose the ability to get new contracts and even keep their existing ones. As a result, it is in Maryland’s best interests to help its contractors remain in business. If Maryland contractors can no longer do business with the federal government, the work will simply migrate to other states and Maryland will become less competitive.

The new program is administered by a public-private partnership that is aimed at supporting the defense contracting industry in Maryland, and is run by the Maryland Defense Cybersecurity Assistance Program. Specifically, this program is funded by the Maryland Department of Commerce and is run by the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership. This partnership counts both state government agencies and industries as its members.

There are three different types of grants available. Contractors can receive assistance for NIST 800-171 gap analysis, remediation, or tools, hardware and software services.

The program itself imposes requirements on who is eligible to participate. First, contractors must have a physical location in the State of Maryland. They must also derive at least ten percent of their revenue from work related to the Department of Defense. Alternatively, they should have a procurement request for compliance with the DFARS rule. The program is funded by Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment and is administered by the Maryland state government.

Compliance with these rules is a pressing issue for contractors who not only have to follow the standards themselves, but also make sure their subcontractors are in compliance. Since the money that funds this program comes from the Department of Defense, there are similar programs in other states, such as Indiana and New York. Each program has its own specific rules for participation unique to that particular program.

For contractors, these new rules present a challenge that can be costly and time-consuming. Government suppliers are better off if they can take advantage of every resource available to cut their own costs of compliance with the NIST standards. By fully complying with these requirements, contractors can maintain their business with the federal government.