Cybersecurity budget

How Can I Be Secure, but Not Overspend My Cybersecurity Budget?

With evolving and emerging cyber threats, setting aside enough money for cybersecurity initiatives is increasingly important. Recent standards indicate that many businesses set aside about 10 percent of their cybersecurity budget. But is that enough? To fully protect your IT infrastructure, you’ll need to  invest in cybersecurity awareness training, security software solutions, endpoint protection, firewalls, perimeter breaches and data loss prevention, contract management systems (CMS) and more. In modern organizations, that 10 percent may just be a starting point.

Every business has unique operational requirements, and that’s certainly true when it comes to budgets. With many IT budgets increasing across the U.S. to handle a variety of factors, such as digital transformation and a shifting economy, more businesses are reevaluating their cybersecurity budgets. As part of this reevaluation, leaders are trying to identify the right spending level based on the level of risk they are willing to accept.

Are You Gonna Spend That?

The size of your company generally has a large effect on the size of your budget and should be taken into consideration when planning your fund allocation. Percentage-wise, small and medium businesses are often surprisingly found to outspend larger ones when it comes to their IT budget. Data reports conducted by CIO Magazine broke down the following trends in spending across small, medium and large businesses in 2017:

  • The average small company (less than $50 million in revenue) spends 6.9 percent of its revenue on IT.
  • Mid-sized (between $50 million – $2 billion) spend 4.1 percent.
  • Larger companies (over $2 billion) spend a relatively tiny 3.2 percent.

The same survey discovered that enterprise organizations projected a 4.8 percent increase in 2017 IT budgets and SMBs predicted a slightly larger increase of 8 percent from 2016. As technology becomes a greater part of business operations, budgets will likely continue to grow.

4 Tips to Help You Not Overspend

1. Think Like a Cybercriminal

In order to maximize your budget as much as possible, you first need to understand what, inside your networks and data, is most attractive and vulnerable to attackers. For example, if hackers take advantage of your organizations’ digital connections to your customers or suppliers (high-value targets), via a supply-chain attack, how will you defend against it? Maybe just the fact that you store sensitive or valuable consumer data makes you a target of ransomware attacks.

Proactively planning how to defend your business against threats and running through worst-case scenarios can help you properly prepare your cybersecurity budget. Having a full understanding of what assets are most appealing – and to what types of attackers – will allow you to use your budget to protect certain types of assets and certain avenues of attack. That knowledge can also guide you in hiring a team of managed service providers with the appropriate experience.

2. Evaluate and Reevaluate

Because cyber threats are always changing, organizations need to have an adaptive mindset and be ready to change their methods, tactics and tools of operation. This means that departments should reevaluate how they are spending their budget on a quarterly basis. This reevaluation should not just revolve around threats, but also how they affect the material nature of the business. Businesses should prioritize protecting their most valuable assets and address any related threats. As cyber threats evolve, companies need to ask themselves not what new tools they need to buy, but what part of their business is most susceptible to new threats and how they can adjust accordingly by shifting resources from one department to another.

3. Get the Lay of the Land

Just as security leaders must understand the threat landscape, it’s equally important to understand the business landscape of your organization and design a cybersecurity budget around that. Every organization should have a solid understanding of the most important things that comprise the business and find effective ways to connect them operationally and securely to achieve company goals. One of the most important ways to do this is to categorize your security lifecycle areas by varying degrees of risk; then budget accordingly.

4. Monitor, Measure, Monitor

Creating a program with strong measurement cycles and KPIs will help leadership determine if the budget is being spent effectively based on real-time results. Cloud computing helps organizations keep a vigilant eye on data and networks. Cloud monitoring tools allow you to review, observe and manage your operational workflow in a cloud-based IT infrastructure at all hours of the day and night. This helps you gain a solid understanding of the level of protection you’re receiving from the budget amounts being allocated to the security of your business.

Questions About Your Cybersecurity Budget?

Want to know how to keep your business secure without overspending? No problem. At ArcLight, your people, data and assets are of the utmost importance. Cybersecurity is our number one priority. Take advantage of our expert guidance to properly plan your cybersecurity budget and wrap your company in the protection it needs. Contact us today.

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Brian Largent

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