When it comes to allocating money in the IT budget, cybersecurity often gets the short end of the spreadsheet. As security and data breaches become more common, some managers and customers have become desensitized and dismiss the need to spend money on beefing up cybersecurity.
However, the reality is that the cost of cybersecurity breaches is steadily rising. According to a recent Rand Study, Examining the costs and causes of cyber incidents, the average cost of a cyber breach is around $200,000, which is equivalent to company’s annual information security budgets.
Lost revenue from cybersecurity breaches might be an inevitable cost of doing business in the digital age, but there are several simple and inexpensive steps you can take to prevent cybersecurity holes and protect your bottom line.
Simple Steps to Reducing Cybersecurity Risks
While your company might prefer to spend the IT budget on projects and system updates that provide a more obvious and immediate return on investment, there are still some simple and inexpensive steps your organization can take to improve cybersecurity:
- Always Update.
Outdated and unpatched software provides the easiest entry for hackers. Scanning your system for software applications that need to be updated and then testing and deploying patches is time-consuming for sure, but it’s time well spent.
Some of the most recent high-profile and expensive Ransomware attacks could have been prevented entirely with security patches for operating systems and applications. Especially if you are deploying a new IT system, it’s critical to remember that establishing a schedule and system for regular software updates will help patch security holes before they can be exploited.
- Know your data.
According to some IT security experts, when it comes to data breaches the question is not if but when. Expensive firewall technology, which by some estimates still accounts for 87 percent of security budgets, is no longer the right approach.
Instead, companies should identify their most critical and sensitive data and invest money a segmented cybersecurity strategy that uses measures such as multifactor authentication and data encryption to protect your most important groups of data.
- Do the research.
Hackers and information thieves become more sophisticated all the time, and cybersecurity best practices continue to evolve to stay ahead of new threats. It’s important to remember that advice that was pertinent 10 years ago might not apply to today’s IT security landscape.
For example, for a long time, conventional wisdom said regularly changing your password was one of the best ways to stay ahead of hackers. But now, according to the Federal Trade Commission, mandatory password changes might actually weaken cybersecurity because employees select weaker passwords or change them in ways that are predictable to hackers. Knowing the latest trends in cybersecurity can help ensure you’re spending precious dollars on the right thing.
The average cost of a cyber breach is around $200,000, which is equivalent to company’s annual information security budgets.
What Do You Gain From Improving Cybersecurity?
The monetary cost of cyber breaches can vary widely based on the size of the company and the type and extent of the breach.
In the wake of its holiday season data breach in 2015, retailer Target agreed to pay $39 million to “banks and credit card companies just to settle several class-action lawsuits,” adaware reported. But that was just the beginning.
Declining revenue resulting from loss of customer trust in the company pushed the cost of the incident close to $300 million. In other words, trust is money. To remain competitive, companies of all sizes and types benefit from investing in cybersecurity that protects sensitive data and nurtures critical customer loyalty.
The best time to start your cybersecurity investment is at the beginning when you are deploying a new IT system or installing new software. If you’re getting ready to deploy new collaboration technology, start things right with this white paper on best practices for deploying IT solutions with limited disruptions.