4 Important Areas for Your 2021 Cybersecurity Budget

As more employees begin to work from home, and cybercriminals become increasingly more sophisticated in their abilities, unsuspecting tech users have become more vulnerable. With this in mind, there is no better time for employers and IT leaders to develop a cybersecurity response plan and back it with a budget that fits the size and needs of the organization.

When it comes to cybersecurity, an organization can never sit still, as trends and risks are constantly evolving. In most cases, the cost of developing a solid plan and budget for cybersecurity can seem like a small price to pay in comparison to the damage a cyberattack can cause to an organization's reputation and bottom line. What questions should you be asking of your plan and what important areas should you consider for your budget?

Cybersecurity Planning

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How much should you invest in your cybersecurity budget?

According to studies examined by MDSNY, the average cost of a data breach to small businesses can range from $120,000 to $1.24 million. We can almost guarantee that the cost of adding a monthly cybersecurity budget is less than the cost of a monthly cyberattack.

So how much should your organization invest in a cybersecurity budget? This depends on the size of your organization and its infrastructure. Generally speaking though, MSDNY recommends that 5.6% to up to 20% of the company's total IT spend should go towards defending against cyberattacks. As an example, if a company of 40 employees is paying an outsourced company to manage IT needs at $3000 per month, then their cybersecurity budget would be approximately somewhere between $168 and $600 per month.

What is at risk for organizations that decide to forego a cybersecurity budget?

There is no doubt that a cybersecurity budget can be a large bill for some organizations, but what are the risks of not protecting your infrastructure nor educating your employees? The following are some examples:

  • Legal fees and government-mandated fines
  • Theft of finances, personal data, and other confidential company information
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Damaged reputation and loss of clients
  • Extended downtime

What are 4 important areas in which your organization should consider investing its cybersecurity budget?

Although the split of funds will depend on the size of your organization and its budget, the following are areas of possible investment:

  1. Secure Email

    Unknown senders, fraudulent attachments, and more--we have all encountered them at one point if we have used an email account. The key is how did we respond? Many people find it hard to identify the difference between a fraudulent email and an authentic one, thanks to savvy cybercriminals who have become very sophisticated.

    The best defense in this case? Invest in employee education. Hold regular webinars to keep your employees up to date with the latest trends in cybercrime via email.

    IT leaders should also consider investing in artificial intelligence (AI). This type of system will learn email relationships and can better detect/block suspicious emails by spotting minuscule details that the human eye may miss.

    Did you know? According to Lawyers Mutual, phishing emails are still accounting for approximately 9 out of every 10 cyber attacks.

  2. Network Monitoring

    Organizations from small to large often operate intricate networks to accommodate shared files and employees' devices. Designed as a more secure way to work and share than on open wifi networks, attacks in this space can be devastating to an organization.

    Therefore, organizations should consider investing some of their cybersecurity budget into a network monitoring system. Despite how talented an IT leader may be, cybercriminals work around the clock, and when you aren't watching, a great network monitoring system will be. It can notify you of threats and even subdue them periodically.

    Did you know? According to RedScan, network monitoring can assist with:

    • Detecting a broader range of threats
    • Reducing the time it takes to respond to attacks
    • Complying with industry and regulatory requirements
  3. Cybersecurity Insurance

    This could be a good layer of protection, especially when disaster strikes. How can organizations recoup financial losses following a cybersecurity event? Having a good insurance policy can help. The cost and level of protection can vary based on the risk your organization poses.

    If you consider an insurance policy, be prepared to answer the following questions thoroughly, as it may help you obtain a higher level of protection at a better price:

    • What are your specific IT security policies and procedures?
    • What are your organization's plans for reacting and recovering from a cyberattack?
  4. Protect Against Ransomware

    Ransomware can cripple even the largest of organizations. This type of malware encrypts a victim's files, and then the attacker will then demand a ransom to restore access to the data.

    So, how can you protect yourself? One suggested way is to move an organization's stored data to a cloud-based solution (if you haven't done so already). In addition to reducing the requirements for physical infrastructure, cloud-based storage is also more secure. Furthermore, conducting regular backups, perhaps even daily, is important. Keep in mind that ransomware also likes to prey on your backup files, so it is best to encrypt those as well.

    Did you know? An Emisoft survey that analyzed different organizations within the U.S. economy found that in Q1 and Q2 of 2020 alone, 41 hospitals and other healthcare organizations suffered successful ransomware attacks.

The bottom line

When looking at investments into your organization, big or small, cybersecurity should be close to the top of your list, if not right at the top. From a damaged reputation, fines, and even jail time, cybersecurity is the responsibility of an organization, especially when sensitive data is concerned. The cost of protecting your business from cyberattacks is almost always less costly than enduring one entirely.