For any company in its growth stages, one of the most critical early investments is in a cybersecurity program that fits its needs. However, navigating the complicated cybersecurity landscape can be challenging for many business leaders, particularly those unfamiliar with the field. Businesspeople will be inundated with options, but not all will match their needs.
It’s best to consider the return on investment in cybersecurity programs as a bell curve. If a business invests very little in cybersecurity, there are unlikely to be many benefits, but if they invest too much in cybersecurity, much of the spending will be unnecessary.
Most companies should instead aim to spend an amount of money somewhere in the middle. This will ensure that they have all of their bases covered without overspending.
Finding the right cybersecurity program
For most companies in their early stages, four or five intentional settings can cover all of the basics and provide the level of security needed. Features like MFA, conditional access, and other standard tools — mostly settings baked into popular platforms such as Microsoft 365 business premium or enterprise — are the standards that most companies should invest in for their security.
The amount of money a company needs to spend on its cybersecurity program will depend on the business’s size, regulations, and needs. For example, an investment firm that handles clients’ sensitive financial data and transactions will have much more stringent governance requirements and substantial risks than a small restaurant. That firm needs to have a more extensive, costly cybersecurity setup, but it would be overkill for the restaurant to have the same program.
Companies must remember that the most significant risk of information breaches is not the system itself — it’s the people who use it. An expensive cybersecurity suite might provide additional security benefits, but those benefits will have little (if any) effect if employees do not use them properly. Business leaders must set aside some of their cybersecurity budgets to educate their staff on adequately protecting their information.
Deciding how much to spend on cybersecurity
Cybersecurity spending will be heavily dependent on your team’s security knowledge. Companies must not put excessive cybersecurity measures in place because this could make it difficult for employees to do their jobs if they have to jump through unnecessary hoops every time they try to complete a task. On the other hand, a lack of necessary cybersecurity features could leave the company vulnerable to cyber attacks. As such, there is a delicate balance to be struck. Companies must find a middle ground where they have enough security to keep themselves and their customers safe without causing an inconvenience to their employees.
One way many companies can save money on their cybersecurity costs without putting themselves at risk is to outsource their cybersecurity management to a security operations center. For the cost of having one or two dedicated cybersecurity professionals on staff, an outsourced security center can provide a team with extensive resources that would be the equivalent of having 6 or 7 internal employees. Until a company reaches a point where they are a massive enterprise — with 5,000 or more employees to manage — outsourcing is likely the more cost-effective solution.
Cybersecurity is an essential consideration for companies, but it’s crucial that companies don’t simply invest in the first or most expensive solution they can find. Companies can maximize their security without budgeting too much by outsourcing their cybersecurity needs and training their employees on proper cybersecurity measures. These initiatives, alongside a cybersecurity program that boasts essential security features, will be enough to protect the sensitive data of most organizations.
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