Every organization examines its spending eventually to cut costs. Security should be low on the list of areas where businesses choose to make budget cuts right now. However, given that each business unit may be struggling to justify its budget footprint, one cannot expect that business leaders will automatically recognize the greater value of IT security.
Many firms are already scrutinizing spending more closely in light of predictions of an impending recession—even for expenses as crucial to their operations as cybersecurity.
To ensure funding for new projects as budgets become more constrained, IT security leaders must communicate with executive leaders and create a business case for their initiatives proactively.
Ultimately, the business case should convince the management team that security is a crucial area where budget cuts shouldn’t be made. The main focus of this is establishing trust. The use of alarmism in building security business cases may be the most common mistake. Although the rising number of ransomware attacks and breaches are valid data points to consider, instilling fear does not show the value of cybersecurity.
As they build business cases for their security initiatives and prepare for upcoming budget cycles, CISOs and CIOs can consider a few of the following tips.
Teamwork is Key
Security is a team sport. Often groups outside of security are left out of the planning process. If security doesn’t involve all the important supporting players early on, they might not be able to support it when the project is implemented, as they weren’t given the opportunity to offer valuable input or allocate the necessary capacity and resources when needed.
When it comes to the IT team, this is particularly crucial. In the past, networking and security primarily operated in separate fields. However, as infrastructures have developed and matured, security and networking are now more interdependent than ever. Building a business case requires early collaboration between IT security teams. This also involves the endpoint team because many security teams will require a client to be installed on the endpoint, necessitating the involvement of the IT Architect to help coordinate the other teams.
Integrate Security into the Overall Business Strategy
Businesses must understand their audience before developing any business case, including what they are working on right now, any potential issues they can help solve, and any potential changes to the business in the near future. Security objectives should be linked to the broader goals of the enterprise and critical changes where security can improve outcomes.
IT security leaders should regularly attend executive staff meetings to have an understanding of what senior management is attempting to achieve. This can highlight the positive impact security has on enabling agility, managing risks, and limiting costs, thanks to that strategic foundation.
IT security leaders should also present status updates regularly to show the current progress and set resource expectations for future budget cycles. They should also ensure the status update is not just about what they are doing now but should include upcoming programs and initiatives. This feedback loop can help create alliances with key management stakeholders.
Use the Right Data Points
Obtaining excessive data that, in the end, may not mean anything to the audience is another common error. For instance, too many annual loss expectancy assessments can be eye-glazing and are frequently based on assumptions that cannot be quantifiable.
Leaders in security and networking must carefully select metrics that are important to the company. Benchmarking the program against what the other players in the industry are doing is one way of achieving this. An annual assessment can show security leaders how their program is doing right now and spot areas where it may be falling short of industry best practices.
Security in a Competitive Market
A strong business case for IT security must be based on the organization’s priorities. Therefore, security leaders need to know what the company is doing and how security will be a vital enabler of those objectives. Also, long-term relationship building is crucial to ensuring management is aware of all the positive impacts their projects will have on the organization—both now and in the future.