Justin Blake: Certifying the Need for Small Business in Cyber Security
Choosing to create a small business takes a a tremendous amount of work; and it takes more work when you decide to step into the arena of government contracting. It is certainly not for the faint heart; however, Justin Blake, Principal and CEO of OEDM Group, has excelled in not only making it look easy, but creating opportunities for others interested in tapping into this realm of business.
OEDM Group is the leading small business management consulting firm with deep experience with federal government contracts. They provide process improvement expertise across an array of business functions such as Operations, IT, Cyber Security and Statistical Performance Management. More recently, they have embarked on Cyber Security Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) accreditation efforts, which is a cyber security maturity mandate issued by the Department of Defense (DoD).
In an exclusive interview with Justin Blake, he reveals what inspired him to pursue government contracting and shares the benefits small businesses can have by being awarded one.
Dr. G: What inspired you to launch your company?
Justin Blake: The ability and think outside the box and start my own business with the desire to become a competitive force. My career began while working as an intern with various organizations in the field of Business Process Reengineering at a major telecommunication firm, Embarq, to a Communication Weapons System Quality Assurance Engineer with the United States Army Department of Defense (DoD). This is where ideas, opportunities, and partnerships helped shape and form my marketable skills to start my journey.
Dr. G.: For those that are unfamiliar or have never heard of Cyber Security Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) accreditation?
Justin Blake: CMMC is a unifying standard for the implementation of cybersecurity across the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). The framework includes a comprehensive and scalable certification element to verify the implementation of processes and practices associated with the achievement of a cybersecurity maturity level. It is also designed to provide increased assurance to the Department that a DIB company can adequately protect sensitive unclassified information, accounting for information flow down to subcontractors in a multi-tier supply chain.
Dr. G.: Why is it important for small businesses to know about this?
Justin Blake: Attaining a high-level CMMC accreditation is a signal for companies to meet the DoD’s core objectives when it comes to cybersecurity. Currently, the DoD needs to perform a separate evaluation of each supplier, on a task order by task order basis, to ensure that the suppliers meet certain cybersecurity controls. The CMMC will mean the DoD will no longer need to perform its own assessments. It also ensures DoD will have a pool of accredited suppliers that have already been vetted and meet the necessary controls.
Dr. G.: You used to work as a strategic advisor for a small business. What did you learn from this business that made you a better business owner?
Justin Blake: As a business owner, the pleasure of learning continues today. The fact that being a boss is surely a great and brave decision for anyone to step out on their own. I believe, not everybody is capable of that, nor every person is willing to fight with the competition. After developing self-discipline and self-assurance, starting creation with high aspiration and a thorough and smart plan was no better time than now. Working in an organization, one has certain responsibilities which are limited to a few aspects and growth. The final word and important leadership and management decisions are made by the leadership. However, being an entrepreneur makes one the employer and the employee at the same time.
Dr. G. : What would you say are the top two benefits for small businesses having a government contract?
Justin Blake: The two top benefits to having a government contract are partnership building and business strategy. With partnership building, obtaining a government contract would facilitate meeting the right people who will help a small business grow and introduce to new customers. If awarded a government contract, the business strategy can help a small business modify and build its business strategy for new federal and commercial sector work.
Dr. G.: What is next for Justin Blake?
Justin Blake: Building OEDM Group’s CMMC Service offering to the next level of competitive growth. Additionally, continue to provide exceptional service to our federal clients domestically and globally and review integration on the social level platform for diverse accessibility. Also, to develop an educational platform that provides step-by-step instructions to aspiring entrepreneurs on how to start a business to provide products and services to the government at the local, state, and federal levels.
Dr. G.: How can people connect with you?
Justin Blake: For business questions, employment opportunities, and/or OEDM Group’s services: [email protected] or www.oedmgroup.com
Instagram account: @justindevblake