Cost of Cybersecurity


What is the Cost of Effective Cybersecurity?

Organizations across the globe are getting more familiar with the need for a robust cybersecurity strategy, protecting their processes, proprietary information, and confidential client data. The problem that arises is not in their awareness of their IT security needs, but in the implementation of a comprehensive plan to fend off cyber-attacks and intrusion. 

So, what keeps organizations from putting up effective, concentric walls of cybersecurity around their operations? 

  • Lack of Ownership – Organizations often take one of two approaches to cybersecurity. Either they try to do it all in house, or they outsource their cybersecurity management. Unfortunately, often the in-house team doesn’t have the time or the experience to do cybersecurity properly, and sometimes the outsourced IT security specialists don’t make their clients the priority that they should. In each case, there is a lack of ownership being taken. 
  • Budgetary Restraints – There is no doubt that protection from lone-wolf hackers, cybercrime syndicates, and rogue nation-states is not cheap. But the truth is that paying for professional IT cybersecurity management is much cheaper than the cost of trying to recover from a data hack or ransomware attack.  
  • Product Confusion – A quick search of the internet is enough to confuse anyone in regard to what cybersecurity solutions should be put in place to protect their organization. It takes an IT security specialist to sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly of cybersecurity solutions and to compile a set of solutions that will work in conjunction to keep your network, cloud assets, and mobile devices secure. 

What Are the Basic Requirements of Cybersecurity and the Costs Involved? 

The challenge with trying to lay out an exact number your organization would have to pay to have robust cybersecurity is that every organization’s IT footprint is different. 

Some corporations have all their IT infrastructure on-premise while others are invested in the cloud and hybrid hosting solutions. Each element of a company’s IT environment and the company’s growth plans must be factored into what is needed to secure the organization against unauthorized users. 

The other element that must be considered in this conversation about cost is the various cybersecurity compliance standards that are in place for industry. Some of these compliance standards along with their related industries are: 

  • PCI DSS – Retail 
  • HIPAA – Healthcare 
  • DFARS & PGI – Military Contractors 
  • FTC – Companies Dealing with Consumer Data 
  • FERC, NERC, CIP Standards – Utility Companies 
  • Sarbanes Oxley – Public Companies and Public Accounting Firms 
  • FISMA – Federal Agencies 
  • GLBA – Financial Institutions 
  • FERPA – Postsecondary Educational Institutions 
  • FINRA SEC – Financial Services Firms  PCI DSS – Retail 
  • HIPAA – Healthcare 
  • DFARS & PGI – Military Contractors 
  • FTC – Companies Dealing with Consumer Data 
  • FERC, NERC, CIP Standards – Utility Companies 

As you can see, there are a multitude of factors and compliance considerations that go into assessing what a company should be doing in regard to cybersecurity and the resulting cost for that IT security activity. 

What Are the Various Industries Investing in Cybersecurity? 

According to the RSA cybersecurity conference, global spending on IT security for business has risen more than 141 percent from 2010 to 2019. They estimate that 2019 spending will top 124 billion and 2020 will surpass this number. 

In 2016, Gartner reported that companies spent 5.6% of their technology budget on IT security.  

A 2019 study of financial services firms by Deliotte showed that these organizations spent between .02 and .09 of their total revenue on IT security. 

This same study indicated that the firms they surveyed were spending an average of $2,300 per employee on cybersecurity. 

Although financial services is one of the industries that is most targeted by cybercriminals and is highly regulated, it is not alone in its need to spend significant money to secure its data, workflow, and infrastructure. As other industries get into the big data game and their processes become more dependent upon technology, they will be compelled by the public and by regulations to make the same investments in cybersecurity. 

A 2019 study of 100 organizations across industry lines discovered the following annual statistics relating to small and midsize operations. 

  • 30% of organizations spend less than $100,000 on cybersecurity services and solutions. 
  • 41% of organizations spend between $100,000 and $200,000 on cybersecurity services and solutions. 
  • 23% of organizations spend between $200,000 and $300,000 on cybersecurity services and solutions. 
  • 5% of organizations spend between $300,000 and $400,000 on cybersecurity services and solutions. 
  • 1% of organizations have spending on cybersecurity services and solutions that surpasses $400,000. 
  • How enterprises are meeting their cybersecurity needs  30% of organizations spend less than $100,000 on cybersecurity services and solutions. 

What Are the Factors That Could Affect the Cybersecurity Effectiveness of Your Firm? 

  • Resources – what you can invest in cybersecurity 
  • Expertise – access to in-house or outsourced IT security specialists 
  • Capability – the capacity of your in-house team: their experience and training 
  • Influence – the people and organizations that your in-house or outsourced team is relying upon for cutting-edge guidance on emerging threats and solutions 
  • Consolidation – whether or not your firm has one pane of glass that compiles and displays all the factors required to achieve a robust cybersecurity framework Resources – what you can invest in cybersecurity 
  • Expertise – access to in-house or outsourced IT security specialists 
  • Capability – the capacity of your in-house team: their experience and training 

What Do the Industry Leaders Suggest in Regard to Cybersecurity Spending? 

Each industry has a unique IT footprint and therefore has tailored expectations of a cybersecurity strategy. This custom approach to cybersecurity necessarily results in various levels of and reasons for spend amounts across the industry spectrum. 

According to CISCO’s latest report, 84% of IT decisionmakers don’t believe that they can afford even the minimum level of cybersecurity protection for their organization.  However, this sentiment is not solely about money. The lack of qualified IT security professionals in the nation has driven up the cost of hiring (and keeping) highly-trained cybersecurity personnel. 

The other things noted in Cisco’s reports are: 

  • Companies with security budgets of less than $250,000 a year are struggling the most with implementing comprehensive cybersecurity program management.   
  • Smaller organizations are more confident than their mid-market peers about their security measures. (This is likely the result of a general – but false – perception that the smaller business is targeted less frequently by cybercriminals.) 

A 2019 study commissioned by Helical, strongly indicated that there is a strong dissatisfaction with both cybersecurity vendors and solutions that may be driving a lack of willingness to invest heavily in the protection of an organization’s data and workflow. 

When asked to rate their satisfaction in their current IT security vendor and solution on a scale of 1 (not satisfied) to 5 (very satisfied), the following results were obtained. 

What Cybersecurity Investments Should Your Organization be Considering? 

What Benefits Does an Organization Gain from Investing in Robust Cybersecurity Protocols and Comprehensive Strategies?  

When company leaders begin to look at cybersecurity spending as a growth enabler instead of a necessary, but unproductive expenditure, their eyes begin to open to the possibilities of expansion in a global marketplace. 

Here are some of the benefits that firms are leveraging as a result of having comprehensive, automated cybersecurity management.  

  • Leverage cloud computing for scalability, cost savings, and flexibility 
  • Simplify the overall business continuity strategy 
  • Enable work-from-home/remote employees and provision satellite offices 
  • Allow for a secure “work from anywhere” solution for traveling employees and salesforce 
  • Utilize built-in compliance with out-of-state and foreign data privacy legislation to expand into other markets 

These are just a few of the reasons that forward-leaning business leaders across the country are investing in holistic cybersecurity management solutions. Each step toward stronger cybersecurity is a step closer to a higher level of productivity. 

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