Cost-Effective Strategies For Your Cybersecurity Budget

Two things are true: 1. Most organizations are having to make critical budget decisions. 2. On top of a looming economic crisis, every single organization and entity is at risk of a data breach. There is no way around it, every organization has to include cybersecurity in its budget. In IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, they revealed that “for the 12th year in a row, the United States holds the title for the highest cost of a data breach, USD 5.09 million more than the global average” at a whopping $9.44M. 

IBM also reported that “the share of breaches caused by ransomware grew 41% in the last year and took 49 days longer than average to identify and contain. Additionally, destructive attacks increased in cost by over USD 430,000.” Cybersecurity might be costly, but not spending on cybersecurity is costlier. To get the most ROI out of your cybersecurity budget, you can’t just start throwing money at a bunch of cybersecurity tools. You’ll need to be methodical, creating a budget that considers how you will handle each potential risk, and gives a clear picture of how to allocate funds for the tools, talent, and time needed to implement your cybersecurity plan. 

Here are the most cost-effective, budget-smart measures to get the most out of what you spend on cybersecurity:

  • Adopt a Zero Trust Framework – The most effective strategy in minimizing data breaches is to trust no one. Remember Jack Byrnes from Meet the Parents (2000)? Robert De Niro’s miserly, suspicious character kept a firmly protective grip on his inner circle. Be like that guy. The Department of Defense Zero Trust Reference Architecture defines “the foundational tenet of the Zero Trust Model is that no actor, system, network, or service operating outside or within the security perimeter is trusted.” Even better? IBM reported that zero trust has a net positive impact on data breach costs, with organizations saving an average of almost $1M, saving 20% compared to organizations that did not deploy a zero trust framework.  
  • Employee Cybersecurity Awareness Training – See that coworker over there? Always on time, brings treats on holidays, and all around great employee? They could very well be the next unsuspecting herald of a million-dollar data breach. Unfortunately, human error is responsible for an enormous percentage of data breaches. According to the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 82% of breaches occurred thanks to the human element. Training is not optional. It should happen frequently, be engaging, and can be valuable in gearing your cybersecurity budget to align with your vulnerabilities. There are affordable subscription options available that provide on-demand, hands-on training courses to upskill all employees and keep everyone on top of the latest attack vectors, procedures, and best practices when it comes to protecting company assets. 
  • Invest In Quality Tools:
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation – IBM reports that “organizations that had a fully deployed Ai and automation program were able to identify and contain a breach 28 days faster than those that didn’t, saving USD 3.05 million in costs.” Money spent on automated cybersecurity software like CyberOps means less time a breach goes undetected. The faster a breach gets detected, the more money you save. 
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) & Extended Detection and Response (XDR) – EDR and XDR are more efficient endpoint security than antivirus options. Both allow investigation and incident response which includes threat hunting, detection, and quarantine. XDR takes it further by “incorporating different data sources from your network, email, and cloud, as well as integrating with SIEM and SOAR systems”  and allows faster breach containment by up to 29 days, according to IBM’s report.
  • Patch Management Tools – Operating systems, apps, network equipment, and other embedded systems require patch management to fix bugs or vulnerabilities. Bugs leave software open to exploitation, but patch management tools will find the bugs, then provide an update to fix, or “patch” the software. 
  • Continuous Attack Surface Monitoring – Attack surface monitoring is an approach to security that continuously identifies and monitors points of attack as seen by potential attackers. This may require a large chunk of your cybersecurity budget, but the cost of outsourcing this task could be a more affordable option.
  • Incident Response (IR) Teams – Across the board, organizations are struggling to fill cybersecurity talent gaps, IR teams notwithstanding. Whenever possible, add quality IR members to your IR teams and ensure they have a CISO or security leader at the helm. These professionals should conduct regular testing to identify vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity plan. IBM reports that the average cost saved by organizations with an IR team that tested their cybersecurity plan versus those that didn’t was $2.66M. 
  • Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) – The simplest, most cost-effective procedure an organization can implement is using MFA on every internet-facing account and device. This should be used organization-wide by every employee, whether on-campus or remotely. 
  • Adaptability – Allowing for adaptability in your cybersecurity plan, teams, and resources means that as cyber threats and vulnerabilities change (and they will), tools and tactics will be ready. Quarterly reevaluations of policies and procedures in every department will help identify how policies and procedures are working to prevent and mitigate threats. Maintaining an adaptable mindset leaves room for change when needed. 
  • Data retention and backups. Data is what they’re after. But getting rid of data is cheap and easy and makes your organization far less appealing to cyber criminals. IBM reported that “the average cost per record in a data breach was $164 in 2022.” You cannot eliminate all of your data, but we can assure you that you can reduce your data by one-third and be well on your way to major cost savings that were once shiny dangling objects for threat actors everywhere. Inventory and delete any unnecessary data and use a strong, well-secured backup method for added security.

Make your cybersecurity budget as impactful as possible. Reach out to us at Cyber Phoenix to find out more about our training course subscriptions that will keep you and your employees on a path to achieving your cybersecurity goals in 2023.