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Estimated Costs Associated with NIST 800-53 and NIST 800-171 Security Risk Assessments

The primary purpose of security risk assessment is to determine the level of security of a computing environment against the threats that exist within its boundaries. During this significant process, there are three pivotal attributes to be examined: people, processes, and technologies. Therefore, in today’s threat landscape, it is highly essential for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to consistently carry out security risk assessments in order to ensure that security controls are functioning properly and critical data and systems are not exposed to threat actors.

Some of the procedures associated with security risk assessments may directly impact business continuity due to the level of testing and probing that some corporate systems may require. Therefore, organizations must consider the potential impact of this activity on revenue generation prior to engaging a risk assessment expert.

Unfortunately, security risk assessment appears to be a burden for many SMBs due to certain preconceived notions about the financial expenses associated with becoming compliant with primary and/or secondary cybersecurity industry standards. Therefore, this article would highlight the key items to consider when thinking about the estimated costs associated with NIST 800-53 and NIST 800-171 security risk assessments.

Advantages of Using a Third Party Security Risk Assessor

As it relates to security risk assessments, organizations have two options: developing an in-house solution or collaborating with a third party partner to deliver an external security risk assessment solution. On average, the cost of building an in-house risk assessment process for NIST 800-53 and NIST 800-171 compliance standards can range anywhere from $30,000 to $35,000 depending on the maturity of a computing environment and the available manpower to carry out the procedures.

When considering an in-house security risk assessment solution, small to midsize businesses must understand that this option could impact other parts of their business operation because focus and attention is taken away from other revenue generating activities.

However, by collaborating with a trusted third party partner to deliver a security risk assessment for NIST 800-53 and NIST 800-171 compliance standards can range anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 in initial and ongoing costs, depending on the vendor you select. Ultimately, the cost benefit for using a third party security risk assessor is far reasonable and the processes are very efficient because of domain familiarity and attention to detail from an external, unbiased perspective – having this type of perspective tells government and/or industry compliance auditors that your company have taken all required measures to assure internal and external best practice resilience.

Companies that outsource security risk assessment services to third-party experts can manage their time and resources effectively. In addition to the fact that third-party security risk assessment experts and consultants are equipped with the expertise, experience, and discipline to carry out assessments with accuracy, below are some of the added advantages that come with using third party security risk assessment experts:

  • Risk assessment experts are flexible when working with clients. They can work with workflow software and multiple frameworks to provide cost-effective solutions.
  • They identify and explore both internal and external IT security threats, vulnerabilities, and associated risks.
  • They verify and ensure conformity and compliance to regulatory requirements, industry standards, and best practices.
  • They provide independent evaluations with a collaborative approach designed to help companies make informed decisions.
  • Risk assessment experts have the experience and expertise to handle various cybersecurity issues with detailed and insightful observations and recommendations.

Cost Factors to Consider for NIST 800-53 and NIST 800-171 Security Risk Assessments

The cost factors associated with NIST Compliance are different for every company because of the several factors required to make a factual cost determination. These factors include organization size, scope of the security risk assessment, the risk assessment timeline, complexity of the IT environment, etc. However, it is absolutely feasible for SMBs with limited budgets to attain NIST 800-53 and NIST 800-171 security risk assessment.

Below are some of the direct and indirect cost factors to consider for the NIST risk assessment:

  1. Direct Cost Factors:
    • Consultation and analysis.
    • Compliance solutions required.
    • Size of the organization (considering people, processes, and technologies within an organization).
  1. Indirect Cost Factors:
    • Mean time to completion – This is the amount of time required to conduct the before, during, and after phases of the NIST 800-53 and NIST 800-171 security risk assessment process.
    • The framework type – The roadmap for any security risk assessment affects cost because it determines what methodologies, question sets, data to be collected and how the data will be analyzed and reported.
    • Risk reporting requirements – Communicating with outside counsel and government agencies may be required during or after a NIST risk assessment. Therefore, it is important to ensure that costs are properly managed. It is critical that the third-party security risk assessor your organization chooses to collaborate with has legal and law enforcement relationships that can be easily leveraged.


Conducting Security and Risk Assessment for companies seeking NIST 800-53 and NIST 800-171 compliance demands strict adherence to NIST information security standards and guidelines. The NIST recommended procedures determine the costs associated with security and risk assessment services. Managing the cost of security risk assessment for NIST 800-53 and NIST 800-171 compliance is very important. Small and mid-size businesses need to seek an experienced and independent assessment team that follows these procedures recommended by NIST.

GoldSky has been very outstanding in providing cost-effective security and risk assessment services to different organizations that seek different kinds of cybersecurity compliance across various industries in the US and beyond. We have the expertise and independence, and we have developed a detailed roadmap on how to conduct security and risk assessments to help businesses meet new security standards and guidelines. Get in touch with us, schedule a free consultation, and let us discuss the costs associated with conducting a security risk assessment service for your company.

CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATIONGetting started in security can be challenging. Let us help ease the burden of security and compliance with our small-mid sized business services and solutions.