There is no doubt that every company needs a cybersecurity budget. While there are plenty of free cybersecurity tools out there, most of them simply aren’t fit for large-scale use. At the very least, you will need to shell out some money for security-related software like antivirus programs, VPN services, etc. This article is aimed at helping you resolve that big question: How much should your company spend on cybersecurity?
Assess Your Risk
The greater your risk, the more money you should budget for cybersecurity purposes. This part is elementary, but we need to boil it down to specifics. First of all, you need to think about the kind of business in question. Some industries and sectors are much more likely to be targeted than others, so you need to know where you fall on that spectrum. To get some reliable numbers, we examined this study from IBM. It shows the following:
Tier 1: Most Likely To Be Targeted:
Tier 2: Somewhat Likely To Be Targeted:
Tier 3: Average Risk Of Being Targeted:
Tier 4: Less Likely To Be Targeted:
Of course, this list doesn’t cover every business on the planet, but it should give you a good idea of where things stand. In spite of this, we should emphasize that any business might be targeted, whether large or small.
That brings us to the next consideration: The size of your company. Small businesses are actually targeted more often (because they are easier targets), but there is a catch. Larger businesses may get hacked less often, but they stand to lose a lot more when it happens. This is true in terms of both money and reputation.
- Large company + High risk = Very large cybersecurity budget
- Large company + Low risk = Moderate cybersecurity budget
- Small company, high risk = Large cybersecurity budget
- Small company + Low risk = Small cybersecurity budget
Where Does That Budget Go?
The term “cybersecurity budget” doesn’t mean a whole lot by itself. We need specifics and concrete ideas here. Before you can sit down and budget this kind of thing, you need to think about where that money is going. There isn’t a universal answer, of course, as it depends on your needs. Still, here are some of the most common cybersecurity expenses.
This is a no-brainer, as we already discussed. At the bare minimum, you are going to need some good antivirus software. There are subscription fees, of course, and corporate accounts are going to pay more than an individual user. However, this won’t be a significant expense. If it is, then you need to find a different AV provider. Other software priorities might include:
- Network monitoring and/or mapping
- An encrypted cloud backup service
- An encrypted email service (PGP/GPG-style encryption recommended)
- A VPN service or proxy
Firewall software is a must, but you can generally get that for free. However, businesses in the top tier of risk should consider a dedicated firewall box. This is a device that connects to your router and filters all traffic before it even reaches the network. The average user doesn’t need that kind of restriction, but a corporate network probably does. Firewalls make a good first line of defense, so you want them to be as strong as possible.
You might also wish to segregate certain data from the rest, due to its higher level of sensitivity or importance. If so, you will probably want to put that data on a separate device that has been fully secured. Naturally, none of that is free. Depending on the circumstances, you might need extra servers, extra routers, and cables, extra desktops, laptops, or mobile devices, etc.
Unless you plan on doing everything yourself, you will need to pay people (preferably cybersecurity experts) to implement all of these measures. There are all kinds of professionals in the cybersecurity field, and none of them offer their services for free. Overall, it is worth the money to have someone with the expertise to get the job done right. Cybersecurity really does require an expert hand, so don’t hesitate to hire that extra hand.
New security measures will often mean that the end-users (like your employees) will have to adjust their habits accordingly. This is necessary because of a simple and well-known truth: Good security software and hardware doesn’t do any good unless you use them correctly. Many well-equipped companies have been hacked with social engineering methods because their people weren’t trained to deal with a particular situation.
Conclusion: How Much Will You Lose?
Although we cannot give you an exact amount of money that your company should spend on cybersecurity, we can tell you this: The amount of money you spend on cybersecurity will be less than the amount you stand to lose from a major data breach. Many companies have gone out of business or been reduced to bare-existence because of one incident in which they failed to safeguard the data with which they had been entrusted. Underestimating that risk is a mistake that you should never, ever make.
At PCH Technologies, we know how important it is for your company to get its’ security right on the first try. That’s why we offer competent experts at reasonable prices who can help with all of these matters. To learn more, please feel free to call us at (856) 754-7500.