Why it is Important to Account for the Visible and the Not so Visible IT Security Expenses

IT Security Expense

With the increase in cyber-attacks, organizations spend more money on security. Tracking and analyzing incident responses and training costs are a vital step to IT security expense management.

When enterprises create their cybersecurity budgets, chances are they miss out on critical items, which can result in significant financial risk. When it comes to cybersecurity, there are apparent and hidden costs to consider. The best and least expensive approach is to prevent cyber-attacks from happening in the first place, bypassing the need to repair network damage. Hence, investing intelligently in cybersecurity should be a top priority for any company.

Cyber-attacks are growing in size and sophistication. New threats, phishing methods, and attack models are continually set in motion, made worse by the rise in remote users.

Cybersecurity needs to be part of the business strategy and should not be treated as an add-on. Experience and instincts may not be helpful when making future cybersecurity decisions. Many pitfalls will be encountered while creating and implementing a cybersecurity strategy. The amount the companies spend on cybersecurity is often tied to their IT budget, but a considerable portion of the IT security-related spending is not accounted for.

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Incident response (IR) is generally an underestimated budget item. A well-planned IR plan can reduce financial losses when a company experiences a data breach. When it comes to IR expenses, there is the cost of the software and costs incurred to train staff on using the software itself. Enterprises can experience more significant damage and financial risk if IR expenses are not accounted for.

The rise in WFH users has increased the replacement costs, leaving pre-pandemic estimates useless. The replacement costs linked to vulnerable assets are usually misjudged because of a narrow focus on which networks may be impacted by an incident, restricting replacements to the most vulnerable systems.

Many companies are now looking into cyber insurance. While some may not want to incur another expense, no insurance means companies might be able to protect themselves against losses related to significant cyber-attacks. Cyber insurance can improve cybersecurity infrastructure. The underwriting process can help identify cybersecurity gaps and improve the existing security environment.

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Enterprises often fail to account for third-party vulnerability testing to look for security gaps and don’t factor in consultants who can help with potential cyber threats. Employing the same consultant every year on a fixed budget does not mean old and new security threats are being taken care of. There should be input from various security firms to review sensitive data security and spot new threats.

Separately, user training is another aspect that needs to be budgeted; and this is not a one-time expense. There will be training for new users, but existing users need to be retrained periodically since about half the security incidents are due to negligence, user mistakes, or malicious behavior.

Another factor that needs to be factored in is Cloud cybersecurity spending. Quite often, it is miscalculated or poorly managed. Sometimes business units commence testing or developments in cloud environments without proper control and spend their security budgets. The WFH move may push IT organizations to initiate fast solutions for problems that were unexpected in their 2020 budgets. However, it’s probable that security investments will not cover many new threats, particularly for WFH users and customers.