Assigning a security budget based on the potential cost of a data breach emphasizes a negative outcome and does not necessarily aid in the development of an effective business case for security investment. Instead, businesses should concentrate on how security investments can yield a favourable return on investment.
According to the Positive Technologies Cybersecurity Threatscape Q1 2021 report, cyber-attacks are still on the rise in the post-pandemic world, up 17% from 2020. Ransomware is still the most commonly utilized malware by threat actors. According to the “Unit 42 Ransomware Threat Report, 1H Update,” average ransom payment values are up by 82 percent in 2021. It’s easy to see why data breach concerns drive security spending. Businesses should be able to show their customers and partners that they have implemented clear and effective security measures.
However, putting a monetary value on a data breach can be challenging, making it tough to show a return on security investment. Here are a few major areas where security contributes to a great business outcome but demonstrating ROI can be challenging.
Rewind to 2011 when Netflix was still renting out DVDs ten years ago, employees working remotely was unusual, and businesses followed the 1995 Data Protection Directive. Having better data security back then could have given businesses a competitive advantage, especially if they intended to work in industries like finance.
However, this is no longer the case in most industries, as data security has been upgraded from a nice-to-have to a must-have. Because good security practise is now a must, competitive advantage can no longer be used to justify security spending.
Businesses that follow best-practice will undoubtedly be able to safeguard their intellectual property and critical data assets. Furthermore, they will greatly lower the risk of disruption to business continuity.
However, quantifying exactly what “best practise” implies for a company can be a difficult and time-consuming task. Adopting best practise solutions can also necessitate a considerable financial investment; it can be costly. In addition, best practise strategies are frequently connected with business strategy as well as regulatory and compliance demands.
While a best-practice data security plan will convey a positive message to customers and partners, it will be difficult to demonstrate a particular return on investment in the security budget.
Although regulatory compliance is a motivator for investing in security, it is often regarded as a cost of doing business: fail to comply with regulatory standards, and the company itself is put at risk.
Having a thorough understanding of regulatory compliance does not fit into the typical IT security skill set, as regulation is generally seen as a less motivating reason to undertake security. Compliance can necessitate a large investment, not just in terms of technology, but also in terms of specialized personnel and processes. As a result, regulatory compliance is usually handled by the business budget rather than security, and so isn’t a good example to give when trying to justify a security budget.
External audits are typically undertaken in response to legal regulations or organization’s group needs, which assign them to broad business responsibility. The audit’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations will have to be addressed by the company. Any budget shortfalls will necessitate additional or reallocated budget, making this a business obligation. As a result, while external audits may encourage security spending, they are unable to demonstrate a return on investment in security.
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