Budgeting for Cybersecurity 101

Cybercriminals are getting smarter. And that means your company's cybersecurity measures should, too.

Cybercriminals are getting smarter. And that means your company's cybersecurity measures should, too.

According to IBM's Cost of a Data Breach Report for 2021, the average cost of a data breach for companies worldwide was approximately $4.24 million. That's an increase of 9.8% from 2020 and 11.9% from 2015 when the report began.

It's tough to give a definite figure for cybersecurity spend by industry because every company needs a different approach. It's safe to say that companies are spending more than ever on cybersecurity, though — global cybersecurity spending is projected to grow to $1.75 trillion by 2025. For comparison, the sector was only worth about $3.5 billion in 2004.

In this post, we'll give you a comprehensive cybersecurity budget breakdown so you know where to start. We'll also provide some tips for cutting costs whenever you can.

Know Your Enemies

The first step to building a cybersecurity budget that makes sense for your company is to know what you're up against. This is especially true when you consider how sophisticated cyberattacks have become. You need to stay up to date on the potential threats you may face, especially in industries with a high risk of cyberattacks, such as:

  • Healthcare
  • Financial services
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Consumer technology

To get a feel for your company's risk level, conduct regular risk assessments — a good starting point is at least one per year. This way, you'll know exactly where your company's security program stands in terms of its effectiveness, limiting potential surprise costs.

You can also use your assessment results to track your progress, which will help you justify your cybersecurity budget. You might want to consider working with a virtual CISO (vCISO). They can give you the tools you need to demonstrate progress to your stakeholders and stay on track to continuous improvement.

Wait, What's a vCISO?

The increase in remote work and digital transformations have pushed many companies toward working with vCISOs rather than hiring their own full-time CISOs.

Just like an IRL CISO is responsible for creating and maintaining your company's data protection strategies, a vCISO uses their industry and cybersecurity expertise to help your business grow while managing your information security. Opting for vCISO services can score benefits like:

  • Affordability: vCISOs provide startups and small organizations with information security options that match their budget, not the other way around.
  • Versatility: No two organizations are the same. That's why a reliable vCISO will adjust their cybersecurity strategies to match your organization's scope. 
  • Resources and Expertise: Externally managed information security services give your company access to resources and knowledge you might otherwise lack.

In-House or Externally Managed Security Experts?

You need more than just high-tech security infrastructure. Without qualified, experienced people who know how to use that technology, you'll have a wimpy cybersecurity strategy that won't cover your vulnerabilities as it should.

You have two choices here — you can hire a full-time internal CISO or outsource your security services to an external provider. The difference ultimately comes down to price, which makes it an important consideration when it comes to budgeting.

An in-house CISO is an investment that may not be reasonable for smaller companies, especially startups. Taking advantage of externally managed CISO services like vCISOs is a budget-friendly alternative you can scale to suit your company's unique needs.

Generally speaking, vCISO services are more affordable than hiring in-house CISOs. With a vCISO, you're only paying for the service. With a full-time CISO, you might need to pay for employee relocation, training and other human resources-related costs.

Define Your Big Ticket Items

A good rule of thumb is to treat your cybersecurity budget like it's your own money. Prioritize the areas where you need to spend the most money and limit the amount you spend on smaller things.

Consider where you're most likely to experience a cyberattack. Take the time to identify your major risk areas, like:

  • Vulnerable Endpoints: If your employees work from home or bring their own devices to work, your data could be accessible to malicious actors outside the company.
  • Data Transfer: Cybercriminals can attack while you're moving sensitive data or workloads to or from the cloud. 
  • Phishing Attacks: Social engineering scams have become way more sophisticated over the years. Retraining your employees on how to recognize and respond to phishing emails might prevent serious data breaches from ruining your company.

Place these areas of concern at the top of your budget and address them first, then move on to the smaller items on the list.

Incident Response: Be Proactive

Incident response is all about having a plan in place before you actually need it. After all, a minor incident can quickly spiral out of control if you lack the strategy to contain it and recovering your losses is often more expensive than investing in prevention.

Elements of an effective incident response plan include:

  • Identifying a breach when it happens.
  • Containing the breach before it can cause significant damage.
  • Finding and eliminating the causes of the breach.
  • Getting the affected systems and devices back to business.
  • Reviewing what went wrong to cause the breach and how your organization can prevent similar incidents moving forward.

Essentially, your response plan should create a well-organized approach to recovering from and managing the aftermath of a data breach. Your goal is to minimize losses and reduce the risk of similar incidents happening in the future. That's why having a thorough incident response plan is vital to drafting a suitable cybersecurity budget.

Outsourcing cybersecurity can make your incident response strategy more effective. Certain cybersecurity providers charge based on an hourly rate, which is absolutely something you need to consider. Many companies will find a monthly subscription-based service easier to work into their budgets.

Budget for Top-Tier Information Security With Eden Data

At Eden Data, we pride ourselves on providing the best vCISO and Cybersecurity services for startups and small companies. We want to help you aim high, so you can go further with your business than traditional methods allow. Our innovative, flexible solutions let startups make information security a key part of their business strategy without breaking the bank.

Our expert Cybersecurity and Virtual Security teams will build a custom cloud security strategy tailored to your company's unique cloud environment, optimizing your risk management strategy to enable secure business growth.

Plus, our services are subscription-based, so you can easily fit us into your Cybersecurity budget. Book a call with our team today to get started!