How to prioritize your cybersecurity budget

Organizations around the world are becoming increasingly reliant on computer networks. With the digital revolution and increase in the use of social media platforms, businesses have had to store data using cloud services.

When cloud services use only default security systems, they become extremely prone to cyberattacks. As attackers creatively introduce new threats and challenges, cybersecurity personnel must continuously assess current and future needs, including budget.

Apart from that, the global workforce is rapidly welcoming remote work, and you cannot neglect the dangers that come with it.

According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $1.07 million greater when remote work is a contributing element. Accenture reports that attacks per company climbed from 206 to 270 over a year.

With all that in mind, you must plan and prioritize your cybersecurity budget. By doing so, you can deploy an effective security program while saving more than a few bucks. The following information will help you prioritize your cyber security spending.

What are the key cybersecurity threats and risks?

An organization runs its business operations with the help of several systems, internally and externally. Therefore cybersecurity is relevant to all entities that operate within the business perimeter. To protect the information and preserve confidentiality and integrity, an organization has to design and implement cybersecurity protocols across all systems in place.

Threat actors have various intentions:

  • Financial fraud
  • Information or data theft
  • Activism
  • Denial of service
  • Infrastructure destruction (usually government services)

And they can come from a wide range of individuals and groups:

  • Nation states  – foreign governments trying to disengage infrastructure, spread false information to influence public opinions or even military espionage. 
  • Cybercriminals 
  • Hacktivists – activists who hack and break into servers for political reasons.
  • Insider threats – current, former or temporary employees and third-party contractors with legitimate access to an organization's physical or digital assets.
  • Poor cloud configuration – blame this on the carelessness of the organization and their inability to prioritize security.

Understanding an organization's cybersecurity risks requires one to identify vulnerable points in the system. For this, you have to determine the type of data in your systems that can be valuable to outside interests. You also have to identify other elements that would handicap your business operation if inaccessible.

Some potential targets include:

  • Customer data – social security numbers, biometric records, other personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Employee data – medical records, call recordings, banking details
  • Intellectual property and strategic planning – novel product designs and plans that are top secret
  • Product quality and safety – business secrets that give an organization their competitive edge
  • Financial data – contract terms and pricing, salaries

Assess your cybersecurity risk

Although cyber situational awareness helps you identify immediate risks and prepare for breaches, there are other important things to consider. 

Cybersecurity risks affect a company’s bottom line. Hence, investing in cybersecurity has to be in line with delivering a measurable return on investment (ROI).

Keeping ROI in mind, assessing potential risks is a crucial first step in setting your cybersecurity budget's priority. Then, you must focus your efforts on understanding the tools you are utilizing to minimize them.

Prioritize security tools

The tools in place must be able to mitigate identified risks. Maybe not all tools are really necessary. Sometimes, you could do with just a fraction of the existing tech stack. Sometimes you might have to look at economically viable and completely different options.

Some questions to start with:

  • Does this tool directly address our risks?
  • If so, do they provide the necessary ROI?
  • Can one or more tools be replaced with something better to increase ROI?
  • Can we automate security tasks to minimize internal resources?

Closely align business goals with cybersecurity strategies

Cyberattacks threaten business continuity. Therefore, leadership teams have to realize the importance of cybersecurity for organizations to scale. 

Imagine getting ready to launch a new product, and your system is inaccessible, backups encrypted, and someone is demanding a ransom for access? No one wants that!

With effective security in place, you can stay ahead of the competition. By keeping customers' data safe, their peace of mind prevails. What's more, your IT team can focus their time on other growth-oriented projects.

The bottom line

Yes, prioritizing your cybersecurity budget will be challenging. On the brighter side, it is an opportunity to eliminate tools that are not useful, save money, and optimize existing systems. Start somewhere, start today, start assessing risks, and things will fall in place.

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