Are You Spending Enough on Cybersecurity?
Cybercriminals do not discriminate against the organization, people or industry they target. These actors look to exploit vulnerabilities in resources to intercept valuable data from small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Cyberattacks are inevitable, and organizations must have the right controls and information security systems to mitigate the impact of an attack. As cyberattacks continue to rise, executives must assess their current security protocols to determine whether their organizations are spending enough on cybersecurity.
Organizations must perform a cybersecurity risk assessment to identify vulnerabilities in critical applications and networks. Executives can use this information to prioritize risks and close the gaps by investing in advanced security controls. This post will investigate how much leaders need to spend on cybersecurity to secure their critical IT applications and infrastructures.
What Is Cybersecurity and Why Is It Important?
Cybersecurity refers to the collective measures taken to protect digital information from threat actors. Effective security controls ensure that critical devices, networks, systems and servers are not impacted by cyberattacks. SMBs can effectively protect their digital assets by:
- Prioritizing multi-factor authentication across teams
- Training personnel on security best practices
- Focusing on information access control
- Backing up critical data and systems
- Installing network firewalls
- Setting up different passwords for all applications
- Using a virtual private network (VPN) for remote work
- Investing in cyber insurance in the event of a breach
Cybercriminals are often attracted to targets with more lax data security measures and operations. Without cybersecurity, companies will continue to lay out the “welcome mat” for malicious parties to hack their resources. Repercussions of a successful data breach on organizations include:
- Large financial losses
- Tarnished business reputation and loss of customer trust
- Loss of valuable, sensitive electronic information
- Business downtime and operational disruption
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Role of Cybersecurity Risk Assessments
The cybersecurity risk assessment is an iterative, comprehensive process that detects vulnerabilities in an organization’s internal resources. IT Governance, a company specializing in cyber resilience and data protection, further defines the risk assessment as, “[An evaluation that] identifies the various information assets that could be affected by a [cyberattack] (such as hardware, systems, laptops, customer data and intellectual property), and then identifies the various risks that could affect those assets.”
Executives can perform risk assessments to identify their company’s security flaws and invest in the right resources to close the gaps. The objective is to correlate the number of risks with the level of security investment in an organization. If risks are minimal, leaders can determine that their organizations are spending enough on cybersecurity.
However, if companies are facing various risks, organizational executives must increase their spending on cybersecurity. Leaders can improve their business cybersecurity by investing in:
- Cyber monitoring tools and cloud access security broker (CASB) software
- Third-party security professionals that specialize in gap analysis and incident response management
- User authentication and authorization services
- Security trainings and certification programs for IT personnel
- Incident alerting tools to immediately notify IT engineers of critical security events
- Antivirus software and firewall systems
Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Requirements
The cybersecurity risk assessment is comprised of four essential steps that includes:
1. Establishing a security risk management team
Organizations must have a risk management team to spearhead all security-based activities. These professionals have the collective knowledge to protect networks and systems from hackers. Security professionals also specialize in incident response to address and resolve threat events. Risk management teams must collaborate with top-level executives to manage critical risks.
2. Understanding what resources are used
Risk management teams must compile a list of all the data, hardware, software, networks and servers used in an organization. That way, teams can keep track of an organization’s IT resources and identify the assets that have the most sensitive, valuable electronic information.
3. Assessing and analyzing security risk
Security personnel must assess the potential impact of an event on the operations, reputation and finances of an organization, and establish safeguards to protect the data stored in the firm’s most critical systems. In this stage, teams prioritize the risks of an organization and strategize to improve its data security.
4. Implementing robust security controls
Security controls are countermeasures that assist organizations in eliminating security vulnerabilities. Advanced controls allow organizations to quickly manage and eliminate potential threats. After implementing security controls, executives must analyze the effectiveness of the newly established countermeasures. If needed, leaders can adjust the security controls to improve their risk management programs.
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How Much Should Organizations Spend on Cybersecurity?
As a benchmark, it is reported that organizations must spend 10 to 15 percent of their budget on cybersecurity measures and technology. Executives that invest below this range should start spending more on cybersecurity to avert the consequences of a threat event.
Executives must also consider the size of their organizations when spending on cybersecurity. By taking company size into account, leaders can make better-informed decisions when increasing their cybersecurity budgets. The objective is to make successful budgetary decisions to meet the ever-changing security requirements of an organization.
Gartner estimates that, “Worldwide spending on information security and risk management technology and services is forecast to grow 12.4 [percent] to reach $150.4 billion in 2021.” More organizations are prioritizing cybersecurity and investing in additional measures to protect electronic data from nefarious actors.
Preventing cyberattacks in business is less expensive than recovering from data breaches. It is critical that organizations prioritize cybersecurity and invest in the right tools and measures to win against cybercriminals. By using the information in this post, executives can better determine if they are spending enough on cybersecurity in today’s threat landscape.