Cybersecurity Does Not Have To Be A Cost Center.

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

Communicating cybersecurity ROI to leadership team is no easy task. Security leaders are faced with placing a value on things that haven't even happened, like a data breach, service disruptions and loss of customers. Currently, there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty surrounding the issue of cybersecurity. As more companies take on digital transformation, a prerequisite to remain competitive, business also have taken on new reliances in operating their business. Yes technology drives efficiencies, however those efficiencies can quickly be lost when a critical system goes down or prized information is lost.


CIOs and CISOs are there to help communicate cybersecurity RIO by stressing why these programs are a must-have for their organizations, demonstrating the business value of security solutions and building a strong security culture. Below are a few thoughts that might help if you are wondering how to shape the importance of cybersecurity program.


Translate Cybersecurity Solutions into Business Enablers

Starting with a business mind first can always be helpful. The more security breaches a company has, both offline and online, the less profitable the business stands to be since it will be losing money dealing with restoring systems and appeasing customers. Security is a preventative measure to ensure that the company can withstand attempts to get access to its data or premises.


Be careful in treating cybersecurity as a siloed department. It is our recommendation is to form an integrated strategy and include it as a part of overall business function. One way to communicate the far-reaching value of a cybersecurity strategy is to walk leadership through the consequences of a data breach — loss of customers, data, revenue, intellectual property and more — as these consequences directly affect a business’s bottom line. By connecting the dots for non-IT executives, they’ll be able to better acknowledge the importance of strong security practices.


A lack of focus on cyber security can be greatly damaging to a business. There is the direct economic cost of such attacks to the business, such as theft of corporate information, disruption to trading or even having to repair affected systems all resulting in financial loss. As well as the physical impact, cyber security breaches can also cause repetitional damage.With a lack of faith in the security of the affected business, customers will be more inclined to venture elsewhere, resulting in a loss of sales and profits.


Aside from the direct impacts of a cyber security breach, there are also legal consequences to deal with in the aftermath. Failure to manage a customer's personal information in light of the recent GDPR can result in regulatory sanctions. This is regardless of whether the negligence originates from the management or employees of a business.All businesses, no matter its size, needs to ensure everyone involved in the company is up to date on the latest cyber security threats and the best methods for protecting data.


Focus on Metrics Unique to Your Organization

How an organization manages cybersecurity vulnerabilities and technical debt is comparable to the way essential metrics, such as heart rate and blood pressure, provide important insights into how well the human body is operating – and whether certain interventions are necessary to sustain vital systems. For anyone focusing on sharing metrics to leaders it is important to remember the most important cybersecurity metrics of the business should never be thought as a one-size-fits all endeavor.


Evidence is a key component of communicating ROI, but what’s most important is using the right proof points and quantifying specific threats and overall risk for an organization. There are several key metrics we recommend. This includes:


Detected intrusion attempts. This gives the leadership and a boarder picture of the overall number of threats the business faces at any given time.


Incident rates, severity levels, response times and time to remediation. Leaders are likely to be interested in cybersecurity improvements over time. After all, they are allocating money to improve security, so the numbers should indicate that their money is being used wisely.


Vulnerability patch response times. Even nontechnical board members understand that business-critical software must be quickly patched when vulnerabilities are discovered.


Numbers of users broken out by application/data access levels. Board members may still be under the false assumption that most cybersecurity threats come from outside the organization. Sharing cybersecurity metrics for the board can be a great way to inform business leaders that insider threats are far greater issue.


Overall volume of data the business generates. Wile not necessarily a security metric, explaining how much data is generated and sent through your corporate network can be of great value when budgeting season comes around.


Peer pressure. One of the best ways to showcase your cybersecurity efforts is to demonstrate how you stack ip against your peers in the industry. Leaders & Board members are often focused on their competition; thus, it makes sense they would be interested to see how they compare against others within the same market vertical.



Create a Positive Security Culture

Engaging the whole organization to help them understand the value of a cybersecurity program is not easy. Technical risks are often difficult to translate across departments. Meanwhile, policies and procedures that ensure good security habits can be seen as an impediment to employee productivity.


Having a strong and resilient cybersecurity culture will protect the organization against cyber threats and possible data breaches. We’re aware that creating good security training is not a small investment, but the benefits of it far outweigh the consequences of not having one at all. Keep in mind the average cost of a data breach, as well as the loss of business projects and the greater vulnerability to future attacks your company could suffer.


Good security culture will also create a stronger customer trust and loyalty to your brand — because customers don’t want to do business with a company they know has been breached, where their data might not be safe. Proper attention in this area can only grow your brand’s reputation and the costs of security training will be covered in no time.

Better brand reputation will also bring you new business ventures with clients who feel safe working with a company that has invested in the security of their staff, products, solutions and vendors.


To integrate the best defense technology, every member of an organization must work together. Ultimately, the best approach to modern data safeguarding stems from Know thyself. In order for an organization to best protect itself, everyone in that organization must collaborate to understand what data it has, where it is stored and how it’s being used. Only then can you create an effective, and bespoke security posture appropriate for your organization’s risk appetite and tolerance.


Conclusion


If you present the value of your company of your current and future projects this way, the chances that you will get the investment you request will be very high. Moreover, you will demonstrate that you are not a geeky amateur, but a leader who knows how to count money and is eager to help the company optimize its budget spending.


By focusing on issues that matter to your leaders and presenting security as a business enabler, you will get executive buy-in for your initiatives. All in all, cyber security is a very important aspect for businesses. Ensuring a fool proof cyber security mechanism and protocol is integral to ensure a great business reputation and earn the trust of customers.


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