3 Important Considerations For Your Cybersecurity Budget
While every business has its own unique operational requirements, it’s common for finance managers to try to save on costs and slash budgets in whichever area they can. This should not be the case for an organisation’s cybersecurity budget, though. If anything, companies should be spending for security based on an in-depth assessment of needs, rather than simply throwing in cyber security solutions to fit into a fixed budget.
In this post, we look at three key points that companies should take into account when building the framework for IT security spending.
What makes cyber security highly crucial
The reason why cybersecurity spending should be given priority is that any successful attack could wreak massive damage to an organisation. Ransomware attacks, for instance, cost businesses an average of US$ 812,360 in 2021, according to The State of Ransomware 2022 report by Sophos. That’s just the ransom paid, and does not factor in the costs spent to
recover, the significant downtime that results in operational disruption, and the reputational damage your company could suffer.
Whether due to ransomware or any other form of malware, data breaches continue to be on the rise despite widespread awareness of the potential consequences. This is partly because technology has made it extremely easy to deploy malware, with many of them now offered as-a-Service. But even as cybercriminals have upped their game, many enterprises have failed to see the urgency in taking a proactive stance when it comes to their cybersecurity plan.
It’s time to change that.
Key considerations when budgeting for IT security
When drawing up a cybersecurity budget plan, the issue of how much to allocate and for what cyber security technologies is foremost. Here are the 3 important considerations that IT security, finance, and other relevant stakeholders need to deliberate on to ensure efficient cybersecurity budget allocation.
Have a good understanding of the threat landscape
Threats constantly evolve and understanding what you are up against would put you in a good position to fight them.
The COVID-19 pandemic for instance, opened up new vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit. Security for corporate systems were relegated to low priority with the distraction from the pandemic, and companies scrambled to put in place technologies that support remote work. As a result, cyber attacks in the financial services industry rose globally by a whopping 238% from February to April 2020. Around the same time, fraudsters also managed to get hold of over 500,000 Zoom accounts (usernames plus passwords) and sold these over the dark web for mere pennies.
If cybercriminals have gotten this capable of maximising ‘opportunities’, organisations’ security defences should be working overtime as well.
Phishing scams have gotten more sophisticated and employees may need retraining on these. Cloud utilisation has significantly increased for most enterprises and while this has helped them cope with virtual work demands, cloud security has also become a major concern. Be armed with the relevant threat information in the new normal, prepare for the right defence, and budget accordingly.
Maximise your current cyber security tools
When it comes to cyber security solutions, more doesn’t always mean better. There’s no one tool that can offer the best protection, and just adding more to the mix won’t necessarily elevate your defence. Instead, optimise first your present array of tools by keeping them updated to the latest version. This seemingly simple (but often neglected) routine could spell the difference between getting protection from the latest vulnerabilities and falling prey to these. Many companies who get hit by attacks, are in fact, not victims of “zero day” exploits but of software security bugs that are already known.
Another thing you can do when planning your IT security budget is to map out the resources in your network and the security measures in place for these. This security audit can help you identify what your security tools are doing for the network and where the potential gaps in your IT security could be. You could then best determine what other tech tools you need to acquire to address these gaps.
Invest in people, not just in technology
Many enterprises make the mistake of ensuring that they have the latest in cyber security solutions, without considering the people factor that goes with using these tools. The truth is, having the qualified people with the right skill set may perhaps be the most crucial factor in your defence strategy. After all, technology can only go so far as the security team that makes use of the tools, does the monitoring, and responds to threats as they see fit.
Now having the right people to beef up security doesn’t have to mean directly hiring threat analysts and security experts to join your organisation. People of this calibre are rare and in high demand, hence, only the larger enterprises would merit (and can afford) having one on their team. A more feasible option instead would be to acquire the services of a managed security team. Deciding whether to hire a full time IT security professional or go for managed security services would significantly impact your budget considerations.
The seriousness of cyber threats can never be underestimated, and businesses need to consider investment in IT security as a need and not a luxury. A substantial budget doesn’t equate to infinite spending however, and prudence must be exercised to ensure that you are putting your investment to the most effective use.