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Cybersecurity budgets vary across businesses, with some spending millions of dollars each year and others only a small fraction of that. But no matter the size of your  company’s cybersecurity budget, there are a few key steps you can take to make sure it’s effective.

Identify Your Budget

The first step is to identify you budget. The price of cybercrime is different for every business, but there are a few factors that you should consider when creating what your expected spending will be.

Percentage cost to the business if a breach occurs due to cybercrime.

This method calculates how much it would cost if you lost 10% or 20% of your information due to a breach.  While it is harder to put a dollar amount on a breach, you must consider factors like reputational damage as well.  We can use our Breach Cost Calculator to help provide insight into those numbers.

Also, what is you annual spending per employee today – and how does that align with what you should be spending to protect you organization?  Ongoing cybersecurity awareness training should be looked at as a necessity for every organization to keep employees well educated on current threats and best practices.

Security Risk Analysis

Another important factor to consider when creating you budget is a security risk analysis – do you have any industry or business-specific needs that may vary from the standard? Do you fall under compliance requirements that mandate you to perform an annual Risk Analysis? Performing an annual Security Risk Analysis is an important way to identify security gaps and prioritize what issues need to be remediated immediately and what items can be put on hold.

Review Past Mistakes

Looking back on what you could have or should have done differently is also important.  This pertains to both mindsets as well as budgets.  Having a response plan is essential, but you must also consider whether or not your company had the tools or resources that would have been helpful in mitigating the risk or response to a previous breach. Be sure to factor these into your budget, keeping in mind the cost of not addressing these items should a future incident occur.

Current Known Needs

Identify the items that you know your company will need within your cybersecurity budget.  Software and hardware updates are the obvious items but do not overlook the intangible items such as training and response plan resources that should factor into allocating monies.  If a breach occurs, do you have a public relations firm on hand or will you need to hire one?  What about legal representation? What are the rates to retain or hire them?

Roadmap for the Future

Ideally, you’d have the budget to do everything that you need to do annually, but if not, review how the planned budget matches up with your ideal budget and make changes to allocate the funds over time, placing priority on the items that carry the greatest risk to your business.

Mistakes to Consider

Don’t take the peanut butter approach! This means that you should not spread funds equally across the board.  The risk varies across a business’s components, and you don’t want to “spread it too thin” everywhere, creating not enough coverage where it is needed.

Don’t go complacent! After you discuss your budget, be sure to take action.  What happens often is many businesses get comfortable in this zone, and then when they are hit with a breach, they will think back on what they should have done.  Unfortunately, it’s too late at this point and the best they can do is to minimize the damage.

Do These Things

Get everyone on board.  You will face challenges getting things approved, but by showing the potential loss and likelihood of not surviving a data breach, your business partners and C-level management will hopefully realize the importance of creating and implementing a cybersecurity budget.  In today’s business landscape, it must be part of the plan every day, not just when risk increases for a known reason.

We have many resources available to you as your IT partner. If you need assistance, we’d be happy to help!