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As the owner of your organization’s cybersecurity operations, you’re facing some major challenges:
Fear, uncertainty, and doubt are all normal experiences for IT pros trying to plan out their cybersecurity budgets, but it doesn’t have to be the norm. Cybersecurity success starts with a comprehensive plan that covers you today, with an eye on flexibility and adaptability for tomorrow.
So, how do you overcome these challenges, get budget approval, and start executing?
Challenge #1: Cybersecurity Vendor Fragmentation
Begin identifying your solution needs by these four components below to give context to the board and management as to what is involved in a comprehensive cybersecurity plan.
At last count, the cybersecurity market is made up of hundreds of technology vendors covering over a dozen categories. In a market where technology hype changes constantly, and mergers and acquisitions are rampant, how do you architect a cybersecurity plan and budget that is focused on outcomes that can also be implemented reliably? We recommend using the Defense-in-Depth approach and planning by these four areas:
Remember, without all four of these “walls” of your cybersecurity operations, the other three are guaranteed to fail at keeping cyber attacks at bay.
Budget Efficiency Tip: Cybersecurity costs are frequently exacerbated by choosing too many separate point-solutions that are costly to integrate and lack economy of scale. Consolidate where you can. Whether that be a platform that delivers on all four core capabilities, or a managed service that delivers the platform and people – or both.
Challenge #2: Completeness and Adaptability
It is crucial that your cybersecurity solutions work in real-world scenarios and aren’t rendered ineffective by A) limitations of your staff, B) business needs of your network, or C) an inability to keep pace with the ever-changing threat landscape. Keep in mind that many cybersecurity technology vendors will tout lab testing results that conflates efficacy (performance in a controlled environment) with effectiveness (performance in real-world conditions).
Review your proposed solutions based on completeness and adaptability. Does the solution require you to provide unrealistic expertise and resources to maintain, tune, and tweak? Can the solution easily deploy new security controls without arduous manual configuration changes or rip-and-replace upgrades?
To be complete and adaptive, identify your solution needs by both platform (technology) and people (in-house staff and augmentation) to show the board and management that there is no “silver bullet” technology, but rather, a required combination of human and machine intelligence.
Challenge #3: Cybersecurity Culture and Perception
Your most difficult challenge may be addressing the misperception of cybersecurity as a cost center and not as investment protection or as a growth enabler. In an increasing digital world, cybersecurity measures should be commonplace. The “attack surface” is nearly everything today – mobile and IoT devices, plus remote work is exploding. So, the question is, how do you address a culture that would want to know the least you can do verses how to ensure that customers and revenue are protected while being able to innovate without interruption?
This challenge is certainly one that will require sophisticated communication and presentation skills. The greatest of cybersecurity plans and cost-effective budgets can die with culture and perception challenges. So, how do you get past this last hurdle?
Cybersecurity Budget Matrix
While simple in nature, this view helps illustrate the need for a cybersecurity capability at every stage of the threat lifecycle with both the technology and human resources to operationalize it. It also helps to break down a seemingly large single figure into distinct categories that communicate a tangible value to the board and upper management.
When you pair this cost with the Risk Impact and Risk Probability a more productive conversation can take place around where, if anywhere, budget allocations may be reduced – by capability (Predict, Prevent, Detect, Respond) or by resource (Platform, People).
Your cybersecurity budget planning efforts must be linked to your unique situation in-house. Seek ways to break down barriers by leading with the most pressing concerns of leadership. This isn’t always a simple process. It may take a year of building relationships, socializing ideas, and planning. But when you stay the course with regard to what’s best for your organization, while carefully making the case based on your organization’s needs, you will fly over hurdles.
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