The government mandate of DFARS comes with the power to legally enforce these regulations. The penalties for non-compliance can be costly to the Department of Defense (DoD) contractor. A few of the consequences include adverse actions related to the False Claims Act, poor performance reviews, termination, and debarment. You may also be subject to lawsuits related to these data breaches1.
DoD contractors frequently seek out an Managed Cyber Security Company to help them bring their systems and procedures into compliance. You should also consider bringing in a legal team to help you navigate the legal side of DFARS compliance.
Why Use a Cybersecurity Legal Team for DFARS Compliance
The DFARS legal document is 350 pages. Your DoD contractors may not have the time or expertise to go through the entire thing and fully understand it. A specialized legal team has learned about these requirements inside and out, from the explicitly stated standards to those that may be more ambiguous.
Your primary role as a DoD contractor does not involve legal matters, so you may not have the in-house staff necessary to field this task. Outsourcing this part of the compliance process to a team of dedicated experts makes perfect sense. You can continue making great products while maintaining and growing your government contracts.
What Do Cybersecurity Attorneys Do
A cybersecurity law firm does more than go over the legal documentation of DFARS for you. Here are a few of the important tasks that they can handle for DoD contractors:
- Draft policies and procedures: Your existing cybersecurity policies and procedures may fall short of what’s required under DFARS and other government regulations. The attorneys’ documentation skills can improve the current policies and ensure that they can accommodate future changes when new security requirements are put in place.
- Prove compliance: Once you bring your systems into compliance with DFARS, you need to prove it. This process involves specialized legal materials that are best left to an experienced team. Cybersecurity attorneys can prepare this documentation and present it to the DoD.
- Defend against lawsuits: Data breaches may lead to lawsuits due to the information that was lost or other related issues. You can have your cybersecurity attorneys handle this, rather than allowing the legal matters to eat up your time and attention.
- Cooperate with DoD investigations: The legal firm will work with the DoD during investigations following a breach or a related incident. If you had to put employees inexperienced with legal matters on this task, you could end up with some significant compliance issues.
- Advise on state data breach laws: DFARS isn’t the only regulation you need to worry about as a DoD contractor. You also need to comply with state data breach laws and may face additional penalties if you fail to take them into account. The legal firm’s job revolves around keeping up with the latest updates and changes to cybersecurity law. You don’t have to pull your resources away from DoD contracts to try and determine whether you need to make adjustments.
- Negotiate with vendors: How many vendors do you work with as a DoD contractor? When you have a lot of companies that you do business with, it’s difficult to sift through the contracts and discover opportunities to get a better deal. Cybersecurity attorneys, on the other hand, are more than happy to help negotiate these arrangements so you get the best terms possible. They can also eliminate redundant contracts that are costing you money.
- Handling False claims allegations: False claims allegations are a serious issue in government contracting. A cybersecurity law firm familiar with DFARS and other government regulations can defend you against such claims. They also improve your documentation quality to decrease the chance that you run into a False claims situation.
How Cybersecurity Attorneys Help DoD Contractors Implement Changes
You can put many technical solutions in place for better cybersecurity, but people are always the weakness in the system. Phishing attacks and other forms of social engineering are still effective at giving attackers access to sensitive systems. Cybersecurity attorneys can incorporate data security and privacy policies into your standard employee handbooks and standard operating procedures to improve cybersecurity awareness at your organization.
One way that the attorneys encourage the adoption of these policies is by using role-appropriate education. People outside of the IT department don’t need a lot of details into how phishing works. They need to know about the obvious and subtle signs that could indicate an attack, what they need to do if they suspect phishing, and who they should contact in this situation. When the policies are clear and easy to understand, it’s a lot more likely that employees will follow the new procedures.
A law firm experienced in DFARS compliance is an invaluable asset for DoD contractors. Even if you’re currently compliant, you never know when the regulation or state-level laws may change the security standards. When cybersecurity attorneys are handling the legal aspects of DFARS compliance, the rest of your staff can work on current DoD contracts and winning bids for new ones.