Cost of a Cyberattack vs. Cybersecurity Investment 

Cost of a Cyberattack vs. Cybersecurity Investment

Gartner analysts recently released predictions on the future of cybersecurity, highlighting growing concerns in a challenging environment. From government regulation and the adoption of unified security platforms to the troubling prediction that threat actors will weaponize technology to cause human casualties, these predictions emphasize the severity of what’s to come.

Short on time? Scroll to the bottom for the cliff notes.

IT teams may realize the value and need for a comprehensive cybersecurity solution. Still, they need to get buy-in from the rest of the C-Suite to get the necessary resources to protect their organization from an attack. Getting buy-in for a solution that keeps something from happening can be difficult, especially if other infrastructure investments claim a more precise cost or revenue impact. Leadership needs a clear view of what the budget is going towards. When it comes to cybersecurity investments, it’s crucial to know the real cost of a cyberattack and weigh that potential against the cost of a solution that might prevent it. Detailing the cost of a cyberattack versus the ROI of a cybersecurity investment enables leadership to see cybersecurity solutions are worth it.

Comparing Costs of Risk and Reduction

It can be challenging to compare the costs of a cyberattack with the cost of a cybersecurity investment, given the result of a successful cybersecurity solution is the absence of an incident. After all, how can leaders determine the return on investment of something that doesn’t happen?

Let’s start with the cost of a cyberattack. Last year, the global average data breach cost grew 9.8% to $4.24 million. But it’s important to remember that not all costs are monetary. Organizations may not be considering the various repercussions that could cost their business, including factors such as:

  • Business disruption impacts use and reputation and can result in the loss of customers or revenue.
  • Detection and response activities, including proactive and reactive strategies such as forensics and crisis management.
  • Communications and negotiations with stakeholders, including data subjects, regulators, and third parties.
  • Insurance and legal activity, including victim assistance and increased challenges securing coverage.

When implementing a cybersecurity initiative, leadership must focus on solutions that reduce business risk, comply with regulations or contractual agreements, reduce ongoing costs, and meet business objectives.

In order to define ROI to the rest of the leadership team, IT needs to be able to put it in terms of risk reduction as a result of the investment. Through a Risk-Reduction ROI, organizations can account for the cost of risk versus the cost of control. For example, one way to demonstrate the ROI of security investment is to calculate the reduction of breach risk in monetary terms, where breach risk is equal to breach likelihood multiplied by breach impact. With business-tailored scenarios and ROI metrics, IT leaders will be better equipped to communicate the value of existing and future security investments and facilitate the discussions necessary to deploy and maintain security tools.

Going Beyond the Cost of a Cyberattack

It’s becoming increasingly clear that implementing robust cybersecurity is a good business decision. It provides a competitive differentiator – and may be necessary for securing cyber insurance or meeting industry regulations – and it can help organizations build trust with current and prospective customers and business partners.

Cybersecurity is a posture, not a project. Organizations can stay protected against evolving cyber-attacks by building a comprehensive cybersecurity program that is consistent, able to scale with growth, and spans across people, processes, and technology. Getting leadership buy-in is the first step toward continuous improvement, so everyone must be speaking the same language and working towards the same goals. IT leaders can set the stage for these conversations through a Risk-Reduction ROI and baseline metrics that identify the biggest cybersecurity priorities based on a risk assessment and the cascading effect if those risks are not mitigated.

Most organizations rely on standard data security solutions, like firewalls and antivirus. Still, IT leaders know they need more comprehensive security since their cybersecurity posture may not address all the possible entry points and attack vectors that today’s more sophisticated cyberattacks use. The issue can become so daunting, competing with other mission-critical business issues, that it keeps getting pushed off until the day that a cyberattack occurs, and it’s too late to take a proactive approach.

To build a strong cybersecurity foundation, organizations can start with assessments and testing to provide insight into data, storage, systems, physical security controls, policies, and procedures. With a detailed report and recommendations for improvement, leadership can better understand current cybersecurity initiatives and what needs to be improved. Further, defined policies and employee training build awareness that embeds cybersecurity into the day-to-day. When cybersecurity isn’t limited to the IT team, organizations can create a cyber-smart culture that supports the overall cybersecurity program.

Finally, organizations need to keep aware and ahead of cybersecurity threats by leveraging technology that enables continuous monitoring, detection, and response to active cyber threats. Cybersecurity is accessible to everyone, not just enterprises that can afford a full security operations center (SOC). Organizations can continuously strengthen cybersecurity by using an easy-to-use, all-in-one platform without hiring seasoned security experts or learning multiple complicated systems. IT leaders can save a lot of money – and peace of mind – when they have a comprehensive cybersecurity platform that takes a layered approach to secure their organization.

TL;DR

  • IT leaders will need to be prepared to answer questions from other leadership, including, “is this cybersecurity solution worth the cost?”
  • Keeping something from happening (the lack of a negative) can make it hard to compare apples-to-apples with other infrastructure investments that claim a more precise cost or revenue impact.
  • The cost of a potential cyberattack can significantly outweigh the cost of cybersecurity investments, and organizations don’t need an entire SOC to protect their business.

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