Cost of CMMC Certification

In the realm of cybersecurity, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) has emerged as a pivotal framework for organizations to safeguard sensitive information. CMMC Level 2, in particular, is a focus of many businesses, as it requires a higher level of security than Level 1. This guide will help you gain insight into the cost of CMMC certification, with a specific emphasis on achieving Level 2 compliance.

What is CMMC Level 2 Certification?

CMMC Level 2 certification signifies that an organization has successfully demonstrated that it has implemented and managing an intermediate level of cybersecurity practices and controls to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Achieving this certification demonstrates a commitment to securing sensitive data and complying with Department of Defense (DoD) requirements.

  • Factors Influencing CMMC Certification Costs:

    CUI Boundary cope and Size of Your Organization: The cost of CMMC certification can vary greatly based on your organization’s size and complexity. Larger organizations typically have more extensive systems and processes to secure, which may result in higher costs.
  • Current Cybersecurity Practices:

    If your organization has already implemented robust cybersecurity measures and aligns with NIST 800-171 best practices, the cost to prepare and achieve CMMC Certification may be lower. In contrast, organizations starting from scratch might need to invest more in security infrastructure.  On average, a company should plan anywhere from 6 to 18 months to effectively prepare for its CMMC certification.  This timeframe includes both the baseline gap assessment, remediation, technology investments, and documentation preparation. Accurately preparing for your certification is the most critical and time-consuming phase of the process.
  • CMMC Level:

    Achieving higher CMMC levels generally requires more resources and, consequently, higher costs. Level 2, being intermediate, strikes a balance between security and cost-effectiveness.
  • Third-Party Assessment Organizations (C3PAOs):

    Hiring Authorized C3PAOs for your certification assessment is a mandatory step in the CMMC certification process. Costs for their services can vary, so it’s essential to get quotes and compare offers.  
  • Security Technologies and Tools:

    Depending on your organization’s needs and existing technologies, you may need to invest in security tools and software. These expenses can contribute significantly to the overall cost of achieving CMMC Level 2 compliance.
  • Training and Workforce:

    Employee training is crucial for CMMC certification. Costs associated with training and cybersecurity awareness programs should be factored into the budget.
  • Documentation and Compliance:

    Preparing the necessary documentation and aligning your organization’s practices with CMMC requirements can be a time-consuming and costly process.

Steps to Minimize CMMC Level 2 Certification Costs

Assess Current Practices:

Start by assessing your organization’s existing cybersecurity practices to identify areas that need improvement.  The first step for most successful organizations achieving compliance with the CMMC Level 2 requirements is aligning its CUI Boundary with NIST 800-171 controls as a starting point.

Select an Authorized C3PAO Carefully:

Research and compare C3PAOs to find the one that offers the best value for your specific needs.  Interview several candidate companies and inquire how many mock assessments and DIBCAC Joint Surveillance Voluntary Assessment (JSVAO projects they have conducted.  These are good indicators on their experience level working with CMMC Level 2 clients.  In addition, an Authorized C3PAO that has a staff with multiple CMMC and other cybersecurity certifications is always a plus.

Adopt Cost-Effective Solutions:

Invest in cybersecurity technologies that align with CMMC requirements while considering cost-effectiveness.  Accurately defining your CUI Boundary for CMMC certification is a critical step toward a cost-effective compliance journey.  Leverage as much technology already in place and invest wisely in new technologies and best practices to maximize your operational readiness and security posture.

Prioritize Training:

Prioritize employee training and awareness programs, as a well-prepared workforce can prevent security incidents.

Documentation and Compliance:

Streamline the documentation process by leveraging existing resources and processes to meet CMMC requirements.

CMMC Level 2 certification is a significant step towards ensuring the security of Controlled Unclassified Information. While achieving this certification involves various costs, a well-planned approach can help manage and minimize expenses. It is crucial for organizations to evaluate their unique circumstances, prioritize cybersecurity, and make informed decisions regarding the cost of CMMC certification. By doing so, businesses can protect sensitive information and meet the stringent cybersecurity requirements set forth by the Department of Defense.

About the author

Amy Williams

Vice President of CMMC

Amy Williams began her career in Accounting Information Systems, a precursor to cybersecurity that imbued her with the talents and knowledge that she uses today. A member of multiple fields of study, Dr. Williams has ample experience understanding fraud, system errors in internal systems, and internet security protection. She has been on the forefront of developing cyber strategies for supply chains since the world wide web made the internet popular for sharing data in business. With both a Master’s Degree and PhD from Virginia Tech, Amy Williams has held prestigious positions with the NY Citizens Crime Commission where she built an alliance with the FBI, and she led the development of BlueVoyant's CMMC and CIS Advisory Practices prior to joining Coalfire Federal. Back to Full Bio