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September 13, 2021 By Enrico Benzoni

How to increase & justify your cybersecurity budget

Cybersecurity is a business issue, not just a technology issue, and it is no longer deemed as a luxurious investment but rather a necessary one.

It’s been a long time coming, but companies are finally coming to terms with the seriousness of cyber threats. Cyber attacks are growing in complexity, and their unpredictable nature stimulated by the evolution of technology has prompted companies to significantly boost their cybersecurity budget.

But still, in the midst of economic turmoil and instability caused by the persistent COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have been forced to cut back on any unnecessary investments. This means CISOs will have to be very persuasive in order to successfully justify their cybersecurity budget.

In this article, we will show you how to best allocate your limited funds and resources through effective ROI strategies and how to craft a winning cybersecurity budget strategy.

How to create a successful cybersecurity budget request

Cut back on the non-essentials. This is the number one rule when it comes to creating cybersecurity budget requests today.

Security leaders have no interest in pursuing unproven technologies and methods that may or may not work. They want clear, concise, and quantifiable strategies that will make sure their cybersecurity budget plan doesn’t backfire. And here’s how you can make sure your cybersecurity budget plan is successfully presented:

  • Optimize the use of your cybersecurity tools: In the case of cybersecurity, the more tools don’t exactly mean the merrier and in order to manage all tools you need many skilled people. Using a multitude of separate tools, many of which have overlapping functionalities, is counter-productive and will definitely look unappealing to your leadership team. This is why it is important to exhaust the potential of your tools and study their capabilities to the maximum.

  • Focus your analysts' time on real threats: Security Orchestration, Automation and Response tools enhance Standard Operating Procedures by orchestrating all the other tools in streamlined processes. And thanks to the automation of repetitive tasks you can save plenty of time for your analysts and thus offer a bigger ROI potential, which is what security leaders want.

The core of your cybersecurity budget proposal should revolve around the main benefits of the investment. Focus on the ROI of the investment by taking into consideration the economical stability of your company and by showing your security leaders that you have fully exploited all the possibilities for a better return on investment.

How to get the leadership team to approve your cybersecurity budget request?

Keep in mind that the company you’re working for already has a consistent scheme of approving cybersecurity budgets. So, first and foremost, make sure to take into consideration the previous year’s spendings, policies, processes, and other trends in the environment you’re in.

Moreover, if the cybersecurity budget needs to be increased in comparison to previous years, security leaders will likely want to be presented with credible and valid reasons in order to understand the necessity for increasing the budget. So, to get them on board with your strategy, consider the following:

  • Demonstrating the ROI of your budget request: Security leaders want to invest in projects that are primarily ROI-oriented. So it’s best to kick off your cybersecurity budget presentation by focusing on the ROI potential of the investment.

  • Realizing the risks of not investing: Show them that by not investing enough, they will actually expose their organization to more risks, and thus more hidden costs.

  • Reflecting the direct needs of the company: Take a more targeted approach that is specific to the niche and the particular industry of your company. Avoid mentioning generic trends and focus on the particular needs of your organization.

Be clear and concise when presenting your cybersecurity budget proposal, as the lack of understanding can often be the turning point in your presentation.

Keep in mind that the current budget constrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic may hinder your chances of getting your budget proposal approved, so make sure to stick to the essential and most impactful benefits of your strategy.

How to increase your cybersecurity budget

Apart from justifying your cybersecurity budget, there are ways to making vital savings and actually increase the budget by taking into consideration the following:

  • Improve the cybersecurity culture: Many people think that cybersecurity teams are the only ones responsible for cyber attacks, but this is not true. Cybersecurity awareness must be improved and every department has to be held accountable.

  • Add cybersecurity to the budget of other department’s projects: You have to convince other departments that developing projects without taking into consideration the cybersecurity aspect could put the entire company at risk. For example, developing a new app, website, or adding new tools, machinery, IoT devices, or other things that could have an impact on cybersecurity. It is crucial to consider cybersecurity as a vital aspect of their budget strategy as well.

  • Obtain Alliances: Elevating the culture of cybersecurity is not that simple and you have to have several alliances inside the firms, such as Legal and HR, that will help you in increasing the consideration of the cybersecurity aspects.

The goal is to focus your budget on the essential and convince other departments that taking into consideration cybersecurity issues is not an option, but a priority.

In addition, you have to focus on the ROI and show your superiors that not investing is far more costly than investing in a stronger cybersecurity environment. Label out the pros and cons of your cybersecurity budget plan and openly discuss the potential of your strategy.

Invest in smart and forward-thinking security technologies, like SOAR

Modern cybersecurity technologies have been crafted with the purpose of enhancing the entire cybersecurity posture of an organization. And while investing in state-of-the-art security technologies may seem like a risky move in today’s unstable economy, the return on investment companies would gain definitely outweighs the investment.

Let’s take SOAR as an example. SOAR solutions definitely don’t belong in the category of cheap security investments, but making such an investment absolutely pays off in the long run because if you don’t invest in an advanced solution such as SOAR to protect you from sophisticated attacks, you will spend far more on damage recovery.

By incorporating SOAR into your organization, your SOC gains a series of benefits:

  • Improvement of Standard Operating Procedures

  • Enhanced and proactive threat hunting

  • Automated repetitive and time-consuming processes

  • Detecting false positives

  • Retaining valued security professionals

  • Minimized impact of cyber attacks

  • Rapid response to incidents

SOAR simultaneously frees up time for analysts by automating a wide range of repetitive tasks and also helps SOCs keep their valued security professionals happy by doing the “dull and mundane” work for them.

So, by adding SOAR to your cybersecurity repertoire, you improve the productivity of your SOC, enhance the incident response time, and make the job easier for your current SOC team with fewer resources required.

SHOW the return on investment rather than TELLING

Hypothetical and plausible positive outcomes of your cybersecurity investment will not sound so appealing to your superiors. Instead of telling them how the investment will pan out theoretically, take a more practical approach and demonstrate just what they’ll be getting out of the investment.

For instance, if you have a security team of analysts that receives around 5000-10000 alerts per month, investing in a security solution such as SOAR will directly impact their productivity and thus produce a great ROI effect. The impact of investing here is quantifiable:

  • Analysts will have more time to focus on more challenging initiatives as SOAR is capable of analyzing alerts autonomously.

  • Alerts will be addressed much faster. Instead of days and weeks, SOAR will help you get through every alert in a matter of minutes.

  • The damage of potential breaches will be minimized as your SOC team will react faster to potential incidents.

These are all tangible benefits that every security leader will appreciate. And if you present your cybersecurity budget plan in a proactive manner, the chances of your request being accepted will be much higher.

Conclusion

Oftentimes, the main obstacle in the company is cultural, and that reflects in the technological aspect. That's why it is necessary to develop a culture of security, based on a common language.

In these uncertain times, organizations are looking to reduce as many unnecessary costs as possible. So, to make sure your cybersecurity budget proposal looks appealing to security leaders, make sure to stick to the following:

  • ROI-oriented strategy

  • Demonstrate the return on investment in a practical manner

  • Align your cybersecurity goals with your business goals

  • Invest in advanced technologies such as SOAR

If you take these tips into consideration when crafting your cybersecurity budget proposal, your security leaders will be more likely to approve your request. Remember to show both sides of the coin and remind your superiors about the risks of both investing and not investing in a stronger cybersecurity posture.


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Enrico Benzoni

Manager, Marketing and Technology Alliances

More posts by Enrico Benzoni.

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