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5 Ways to Overcome Cuts to Your IT Security Budget
By: Robert LaMagna-Reiter on September 25, 2018
Persistent security breaches, new investments in hardware, and a growing demand for cloud services are the primary drivers behind ongoing increases in IT security spending, according to a recent industry forecast.
In 2019, expenditures for security products are expected to reach $124 billion, up almost 9 percent from the $114 billion allocated for 2018. Recent high-profile attacks like Equifax, WannaCry, and Yahoo, to name a few, have prompted businesses to take a good, hard look at their security vulnerabilities and their abilities to detect and respond to increasingly crafty cyberthreats.
The desire to mitigate or prevent new attacks, which directly impede businesses’ abilities to grow and remain competitive, is the main drive behind increased security spending.
However, depending on the size of your organization, you may not have adequate financial resources to combat cybersecurity risks. In some instances, IT security budgets are underfunded or even cut for various reasons.
Although the majority of respondents to a recent survey said their organizations’ IT budgets will increase in 2018, most indicated that their companies allocate 10 percent or less of their overall budget to IT spending—with security representing only a portion of annual IT expenditures.
And despite an increasingly hostile cyber landscape, IT budgets can and are cut for reasons such as:
- Higher education budget cuts due to fluctuations in donor gifts and government entitlements
- Staff reductions and profit losses in enterprise organizations
- Government departmental spending reductions
Despite recent trends favoring increased IT security OPEX, it’s best to plan ahead in order to be resilient in the face of potential budget cuts. Here are a few ways to overcome cuts to your IT security budget:
Improve Security via a Unified Approach
One of the biggest problems facing IT security is the fact that many organizations operate their network infrastructures in silos, creating unnecessary security gaps because different departments don’t have a clear line of sight into what the others are doing despite having security policies in place.
A holistic approach that unifies Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) workflows, automating processes and integrating security tools, is vital for managing and mitigating security events, improving the organization’s threat response posture, and streamlining overall business operations—allowing the organization to focus on growth and profitability.
Outsource SIEM and SOC
Outsourcing Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and SOC deployments are highly attractive approaches to capturing long-term ROI and mitigating the security risks of budget cuts.
For one, finding and keeping good SIEM and SOC talent in-house is expensive and could lead to conflicts of interest within business units. Depending on where these individuals are deployed, they could affect operations in other departments. Two, keeping the staff in-house might not be feasible due to budget restrictions at smaller companies.
Circling back to ROI, the benefits of engaging a good MSSP for SIEM and SOC are available for a much lower cost compared to employing in-house staff. Further, the business benefits from much larger economies of scale using an MSSP when it comes to scalability—paying only for what services are required—and access to the most current threat intelligence.
Implement Continuous Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation
Vulnerability scanning is another function whereby outsourcing to a quality MSSP makes good budgetary sense because it is a proactive IT security best practice allowing for the identification of network system vulnerabilities and weaknesses before they become costly fires that need to be extinguished.
Continuous vulnerability assessment and remediation should be implemented in tandem with on-point patch management and software update policies. Your chosen vendor should be able to provide both internal and external network vulnerability assessments, detailed risk-based reports, and separate false positives from true risks to network systems.
In addition, assessments should be automated for daily testing, identify critical vulnerabilities within 48 hours or less and be able to measure significant delays in patch implementation.
Implement Continuous Data Protection Solution
Continuous data protection is a cost-effective IT solution ensuring that, in the event of a cyberattack, natural disaster, or other operational anomaly, disruption to business is kept to a minimum with normal operations ensuing as quickly as possible.
By copying data from a source system to a disk—on-site or off-site—recovery after a disruption is rapidly achieved.
Identity Access Management and Wireless Access Control
The increasing reliance by enterprise IT on SaaS applications is understandable given that they generally improve employee productivity, enhance the user experience, and provide greater business flexibility.
However, these same applications can create security risks requiring tighter identity access management solutions because many of them lack secure APIs for remote administration.
This is where policies incorporating biometrics for streamlined authentication and algorithms can enhance the user experience and provide robust IAM while increasing speed and effectiveness of the identity authentication process.
Another proactive approach to streamlining your IT budget is to consider wireless access management at your organization’s facility. For one, instituting PINs, biometrics, and passwords either individually or in combination with one another will track the who, where, and what of users accessing network hardware and software applications. In addition, it’s much more cost-effective than running wire through a building and enables remote security management of multiple locations. Hence, it is a proactive approach toward security budgeting if installed during the bare bones phase of facility construction.
Despite recent trends of increased IT security spending, budget cuts will occur from time to time and overcoming them will involve both a proactive and real-time-based posture toward your IT security policies.
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