StateRAMP and the Cost of Cybersecurity Ignorance

by Jessica Kashary

As businesses evolve in the digital landscape, so do the threats they face. Investing in cybersecurity is critical, especially when doing business with State and Local Government or Educational organizations (SLED), making the importance of cybersecurity immeasurable.

One avenue to achieve your cybersecurity goals is to leverage StateRAMP, a program designed to elevate the security posture of organizations, both large and small. This blog post will explore the imperative need to invest in cybersecurity, address common concerns about the associated costs, and highlight why StateRAMP is a strategic move.

Cybersecurity: A Non-Negotiable Investment

In today’s interconnected world, the cost of not prioritizing cybersecurity is far more significant than the investment required. Data breaches, cyberattacks, and the subsequent damage to reputation can be catastrophic for any business. If cybersecurity is not in your budget today, it needs to be.

Overcome The Cost Barrier 

A common concern often raised is the perceived high cost associated with cybersecurity audits and compliance. However, consider the cost of not investing in cybersecurity. IBM’s study on the cost of a data breach, which reached an all-time high of 4.45 million USD, emphasizes the financial repercussions of inadequate security measures. It’s essential to shift the perspective from seeing it as an expense to viewing it as an investment in security, not just for your organization but for the wider community. 

The Cost Comparison of StateRAMP vs. FedRAMP 

Some may fear that the costs of complying with StateRAMP mirror those of FedRAMP. However, there are notable differences, such as the approach to FIPS requirements. StateRAMP’s flexible approach allows companies to meet best practices without exorbitant costs. Additionally, if your organization has already completed a 3PAO audit for FedRAMP, this can be leveraged through the StateRAMP Fast Track process. 

Breaking Down StateRAMP Costs

StateRAMP offers a phased approach to cybersecurity, starting with the Progressing Security Snapshot program. This program is designed to evaluate your organization’s adherence to minimum NIST controls, addressing fundamental questions such as boundary definition, MFA implementation, and employee training. For organizations who are early in their cybersecurity journey, this program offers many services at a highly competitive rate and is strongly favored by the government. The Progressing Security Snapshot is the preferred program for small businesses, as it is acknowledged for its effectiveness and affordability.

StateRAMP Ready/Authorized are two different statuses organizations can obtain at different stages in the StateRAMP verification process. StateRAMP Ready status is for organizations that need to undergo additional security and system validation. As for Authorized, this status is for organizations that have completed all security and system validation. These statuses demonstrate a commitment to robust cybersecurity practices.

Progressing Security Snapshot Program Costs:

  • Annual StateRAMP Membership Fee Starts at: $500
  • Monthly advisory calls and quarterly Snapshot scores: At most $1,000 a month.

Ready or Authorized Costs:

  • Annual StateRAMP Membership Fee: Starts at$500
  • Requires an audit by an independent 3PAO. Cost varies with system complexities, impact levels, and 3PAO choices: Costs start at $70,000
  • Compare with SOC 2 Type 2: An average cost of $60,000.

Market Growth for Cost Reduction:

  • Reduced fees for Ready or Authorized Review by StateRAMP PMO for smaller businesses to ensure accessibility.
  • StateRAMP is actively working to expand the market, aiming to reduce costs further.
  • It is recommended to obtain multiple quotes from the 39 registered 3PAOs.

The Path Forward

It is imperative to invest in cybersecurity, especially when engaging with SLED organizations. While there are costs involved, the consequences of neglecting cybersecurity far outweigh the investment required to protect against potential threats and data breaches. StateRAMP offers a strategic pathway, making security accessible to businesses of all sizes. Exploring StateRAMP and leveraging its resources helps organizations safeguard their assets against potential threats and foster trust among government and educational institutions. It’s time for organizations to embrace the evolving digital landscape and make cybersecurity a top priority.

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