How Much Does CMMC Compliance Cost? (& Is It Worth It?)
The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a critical requirement for any organization looking to do business with the United States Department of Defense (DoD).
However, achieving CMMC compliance is a significant investment - and you may be wondering: is the price really worth it?
As a managed IT provider for over 20 years, we’ve helped multiple organizations make the right decisions with their CMMC journey. We invited our in-house CMMC specialist, Sean Harris, to answer the following questions in this article:
- How much does CMMC compliance cost?
- What are the price factors of CMMC compliance?
- Is CMMC compliance really worth it?
By the end of the article, you’ll have a better understanding of the prices behind CMMC compliance, and if it’ll benefit your organization to get certified.
How Much Does CMMC Compliance Cost?
The cost of CMMC certification is an investment in improving your organization's cybersecurity posture, protecting sensitive data, and potentially gaining a competitive advantage in winning contracts with the DoD.
Which is why it can be frustrating when experts say there isn’t an exact price range for CMMC compliance.
“It’s like if you wanted me to renovate your house, and you're just sending me emails asking how much time and money will it take to bring my house to the latest building code standard,” Harris explains.
No matter how knowledgeable a company is, they won’t immediately know what shape your house is in. Therefore, they won’t be able to give you an exact quote or price range.
“[Getting a price] starts with a thorough gap analysis,” Harris said.
Many companies offer free network assessments you can take advantage of. While those are great places to start, Harris recommends paying for an expert to dive deep into your network, point out the specific projects you’ll need for CMMC compliance, and explain the associated costs with those projects.
Gap analyses are also hard to place a price point on because every company will have a different process. Some MSPs offer packages, while others offer consultancy services charged per hour.
So, how do you plan out a budget if there isn’t a set price point?
It starts with taking a look at the factors that affect CMMC compliance cost.
4 Factors Affecting CMMC Compliance Cost
You will get a good feel for the price point - whether it’ll cost an arm or a leg or maybe just a toe - depending on the following factors:
The larger your business, the more moving parts you’ll need to protect. Businesses with 20 employees will have a much easier time (and smaller bill) than a 200-person company.
How fast do you need to get your company up to speed with CMMC regulations? The quicker you need it, the more you’ll have to pay, as the extra overtime, manpower, and skill required to pull off a fast, seamless certification comes with a hefty price tag.
For companies with generally good IT practices, it takes one to three months for CMMC Level 1 as it’s the simplest of all CMMC compliance requirements. CMMC Level 2 will take an average of one to six months. Meanwhile, it’ll take a year or so for CMMC Level 3 due to government audits and IT coordination.
3. Level of CMMC Needed
Each level of CMMC comes with different requirements, as they each protect different kinds of data. The highest level requires much more stringent requirements than the lowest level, and each added process will push up the budget.
4. Current State of IT
Your current state of IT is the biggest indicator of your possible CMMC bill. Do you already follow IT security best practices? Or have you admittedly put IT on the back burner while you’ve dealt with everything else?
If you already have strong cybersecurity measures in place, it may require fewer changes to become CMMC compliant. On the other hand, if your IT infrastructure is outdated or lacks security measures, it may require more time and money to achieve compliance.
Is CMMC Compliance Worth It?
Whether or not getting CMMC (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification) compliance is worth it depends on your specific situation and needs.
CMMC compliance is designed to ensure contractors working with the DoD meet specific cybersecurity standards. If you work with the DoD, then becoming CMMC compliant may be necessary for you to continue doing business with them.
However, even if you don't work with the DoD, becoming CMMC compliant can still be valuable for:
- Enhancing your overall cybersecurity
- Evaluating and improving your organization's cybersecurity practices
- Making you a stronger candidate for customers looking for vendors with solid cybersecurity practice
That being said, becoming CMMC compliant can be a time-consuming and costly process, so it's important to carefully evaluate whether or not it's worth it for your specific situation.
“We have a partner that went with a SOC certification recently,” Harris shared. “They actually have a big client right now. Their client said, if you get this, we will give you this contract. And so, it was a very easy math problem for them. They went, ‘Fine, let's do it.’”
“And so, the costs are not that important. You want to make sure you're always getting the best value for your dollar, but it's in perspective of the business cost.”
Ready to Get a CMMC Compliance Quote & Gap Analysis?
In conclusion, the cost of CMMC compliance is highly subjective. The price point varies depending on factors such as company size, level of urgency, the necessary certification level, and the organization's IT practices.
You can, however, expect to allot a large budget, especially if you’re partnering with a highly reputable managed IT provider.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to pursue CMMC compliance should be based on a careful evaluation of the costs and benefits, as well as your specific needs and circumstances.
This is why as an expert in the cybersecurity field, ITS recommends starting with a thorough gap analysis of your organization.
Start with our free cybersecurity assessment to jumpstart the process and begin the deep dive into your network.
You can also check out our other resources for CMMC:
- Who Needs to Comply with CMMC 2.0?
- What is the Difference Between CMMC and NIST 800-171?
- Everything You Need to Know About CMMC 2.0 in 2023 [ebook]