The last few years have been extremely trying for businesses across virtually all industries. Even those that have not specifically suffered under the pandemic and the resulting financial difficulties, face a marketplace with lower customer confidence and less money to go around in general.
A survey of US businesses in the aftermath of the pandemic found that many were choosing to cut costs. In fact, 53% specifically said they were looking to reduce IT spending. Given the cost of cybersecurity and the fact that it doesn’t make a noticeable difference to your bottom line, it would be understandable if you began to consider the idea of cutting down spending here.
Indeed, 41% of businesses have cut back on cybersecurity spending as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. But cutting your business expenses should not include reducing spending on cybersecurity. Making budget costs in this area can ultimately be disastrous for the business and result in the company losing far more money than it would have needed to put in to keep it secure.
In this article, we will look at why now is the wrong time to reduce your spending on cybersecurity, the challenge to remain secure and what your business can do to make it more affordable in the long term.
Cybercrime is rising
Perhaps the most crucial reason to avoid cutting cybersecurity spending is that cybercrime itself is on the rise. Cybercriminals are increasingly sophisticated and well-funded, which makes them perfectly positioned to take advantage of companies that do not have appropriate and well-resourced cybersecurity measures in place.
If you reduce your spending, you are weakening your position and your ability to deal with increasing cybercrime issues. It is effectively a double blow to your defences.
Digitisation has dangers
Modern businesses are making the decision to digitise a great range of their company practices. Of course, there are huge advantages to options such as migrating your business to the cloud, especially around efficiency and productivity. But migration can also be a time of significant vulnerability especially if the process isn’t managed correctly.
A simple “lift and shift” migration can feel like a huge positive but it is important to prepare for cybersecurity issues such as API vulnerabilities, blind spots, as well as issues with compliance.
WFH makes cybersecurity more challenging
Another issue is the rise in working from home (WFH). This has become the ‘new normal’ for many businesses, with a significant number of staff either WFH full-time or utilising a hybrid working structure. The problem here is that WFH is something that makes cybersecurity far more challenging.
Staff are more likely to feel relaxed and comfortable in their home environment but it can mean that they are less aware of potential system issues and threats. Their home connection may not be as secure, and as they are more likely to use their own personal devices during their working day, these may not automatically have the same software controls or protection as company issued equipment.
Criminals are looking for easy targets
It should also be noted that there is a common misconception about cybercrime. Many small businesses believe they won’t be targeted simply on the basis that they aren’t large enough for anyone to be thinking about them. But the reality is that what cybercriminals really want is an easy day at the office.
Smaller businesses have greater vulnerabilities in terms of their size, budget and skill base. This offers potential for exploitation given if a business doesn’t have powerful cybersecurity protections in place, you are nothing more than an easy target for those criminals.
You need expertise
Given the fact that cybercriminals are more sophisticated and the attack vectors for cybercrime are constantly changing, your business can no longer rely on simple software such as an antivirus solution and a firewall. What your business needs to overcome cybercrime is genuine expertise in cybersecurity.
This means that you need to spend money to acquire the kind of expertise you require. And facing a smaller security budget only makes this problem worse.
Cybersecurity is becoming more expensive
Given the sophistication within cybercrime, and the need for business to remain firmly one step ahead of it, cybersecurity is becoming more expensive than ever before. The key demand vs supply model comes into play here, with cybersecurity staff being more in demand, less available and therefore easily attracting higher salaries.
Ultimately, this creates a situation where in-house cybersecurity teams are becoming impossibly expensive for small businesses. Reducing the cybersecurity budget only serves to make this issue harder.
How to maximise your cyber security budget
There are several potential ways that you can make the most of your business’s cybersecurity budget and avoid having to reduce it.
- Outsourcing – outsourcing can be invaluable when it comes to getting the right expertise into the company at a reasonable price. Of course, this won’t be the ideal solution for every company, but you should consider it.
- Testing – carrying out regular cybersecurity testing can be an important way to help you understand where to put your cybersecurity budget. Understanding the weak points of your company is an essential part of scheduling in security work.
- Train your staff – remember that cybersecurity is a key area that all members of your team need to understand. Providing your staff with training can make them more vigilant and understand the risks.
Cybercrime is big business in itself, so legitimate businesses must ensure the correct importance is given to the one budget that could make or break their long term security and success.