Protecting enterprises from cyber threats is a constant battle which requires adequate staffing, the right hardware as well as dedicated software tools ands cyber security budget to ensure that your IT security staff can keep your data and systems locked down against rogue attacks.
To accomplish this mission-critical responsibility, it's important to start with matching your designated budget to the tasks at hand, whether they involve additional staff members, new or upgraded equipment and software, or refined security procedures aimed at users and customers.
Whatever amount you have in your cyber security budget, it is beneficial to analyze your company's security needs with a top to bottom risk assessment each year, so you can evaluate your existing security and learn what else is needed to tighten your IT systems.
Through a cyber security risk assessment, you can find your company's security strengths and weaknesses and learn where more dollars and staff time can help bolster your needed defenses, while also determining if you are doing a good job meeting the latest threats from potential attackers.
What to Consider When Evaluating Your Cyber Security Budget
Be sure to evaluate everything your company uses, from your legacy systems and the costs of their updates and maintenance, to the costs of deployed network security appliances and everything in-between, according to a June 2016 blog post on cyber security budgeting by public accounting and consulting firm Crowe Horwath.
"Careful consideration of how to secure your legacy business systems, what, if any, network security appliances are needed, and which lower-cost solutions can be implemented will give management a better idea of what their needs are in terms of a cybersecurity budget," the post states. "Once these needs are mapped into the organization’s long-term plan, the available capital can be allocated for new development. When the budget for new projects is combined with the budget for ongoing maintenance and monitoring requirements, an organization will be able to determine its annual budget for both people and money."
How Much Should Your Company Budget for Cyber Security?
As you plan your cyber security budget, it’s important to remember that it should be "geared toward identifying the most critical material risks to your organization … and reducing, mitigating, or transferring those risks," according to BitSight. Those risks could come from external threats outside your company, internal threats inside your company or through supply chain threats inside your company's networks.
Sometimes companies have a difficult time recognizing the need for cyber security budgets because they'd rather spend money on new initiatives and products for customers, but that is an unwise strategy, according to an August 2016 post on the IBM Security Intelligence Blog.
To counter that issue and make your indisputable case for a healthy cyber security budget, be sure that you clearly show your company's board the value in investing in cybersecurity to protect the company, its data, its customers and its good name, as opposed to seeing the company's name in the headlines about a damaging security breach.
The Gordon-Loeb model for investing in information security, which was developed by a team of researchers at the Robert H. Smith Business School at the University of Maryland, helps businesses evaluate their cyber security needs based on a list of factors, including risks, costs and expected benefits. A brief video describing the method provides a place for your company to start with the evaluation process.
Whatever you do, it is important that you start somewhere in planning your enterprise's cyber security budget each year. This spending may not bring in more revenue, but it will go a long way to protect you from security mistakes and vulnerabilities that will cost your company in reputation, productivity and in relationships with customers.