A cybersecurity budget can seem like a daunting thing to calculate for any size organization, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you and your executive team assess and understand the risks you face, and the solutions you need to protect against them, you can calculate your cost.  

Why Have an IT Security Budget? 

Whether your company is small or large, and regardless of your industry, know that you are not immune to hacking. So long as there is money or customer data flowing through your system, it’s worth stealing to bad actors. 

The cost of a breach can be staggering. The global average cost of a major breach is upwards of $4 million dollars. For larger organizations, average costs can be as high as $13 million per breach, or more according to findings by the FBI. 

Even a minor breach can be devastating to a smaller business. This is why planning for some level of IT security is crucial. It represents the proverbial ounce of prevention to avoid a pound of cure. 

Understanding the Difference Between Data Breach Prevention and Response 

Before getting down to forming an IT security budget, let’s define the difference between prevention and response when it comes to protecting your data.  

Your overall security budget should cover the protective measures you’ll apply to keep your data safe from theft or loss, and the cost of handling the response of a breach. It is unfortunately a necessity to fund both.  

Preventative measures – like 2FA, endpoint detection, and phishing training – can greatly reduce your risk. Unfortunately the harsh reality of IT security is that no protective measure can 100% guarantee that you’ll never be a victim of a hack. Factors like human error, hardware error, or software vulnerabilities that are outside your control cause you to suffer consequences. Recent findings from IBM note, roughly 83% of companies of all sizes, it’s not a question of if, but when. 

To be in a position to respond or recover from a breach, many are now turning to cyber insurance.  

Buying cyber insurance can save you from potentially bankrupting expenses. You can obtain this kind of insurance affordably, as long as you can demonstrate that you take your IT security seriously through a process of audits and Q&A by your potential security provider. 

What to Consider for Your Budget 

During the initial phase of your IT budget planning consult with your stakeholders. This will help you understand how much you’re willing to spend and how robustly you’d like to apply protection. This will obviously depend on the size and nature of your organization. 

Your cybersecurity budget should take into account several key aspects of IT security. Together these aspects should cover most known weakness points that you might have. If your organization is like most companies, you use hardware and software with plenty of network connectivity to the outside world. If so, you’ll have to cover the following: 

  • Hardware upgrades to laptops, phones, workstations and any servers you physically own. 
  • Software upgrades and licenses for all of your crucial business and security software 
  • Cloud subscriptions for data backup, data management, and customer-facing services such as payment processing 
  • Telecommunications costs for transferring data between your organization and various external services 
  • Security audit and risk assessment costs 
  • Costs of IT security employees and their associated expenses 
  • Costs of IT security consultants 
  • Insurance premiums for IT insurance (if you’ve subscribed to it) 
  • Managed Services costs 

If you handle your IT security in house expenses can add up quickly. The costs of maintaining your IT staff, hardware, and software will be your single biggest group of cybersecurity expenses. 

On average, a single IT security employee, plus annual hardware/software expenses associated with their work, will cost well above $150,000. There are ways to avoid this particular expense. One of the most effective is by using managed IT services. 

How Managed IT Services Reduce Cost and Headache 

With a managed IT services contract, you will essentially be outsourcing not only your IT security, but also the protection of your data to an external organization that’s far more professionally equipped to handle major threats. These providers are experts in the technology you use to run your business. They keep up on the latest threats and know the best practices to defend you from attack. 

A third-party service provider can ensure that you receive the latest in protective measures against minor and major threats while protecting your crucial business/customer data against hacks, natural disasters, or human-caused catastrophes. They can provide both protective and responsive services to ensure your data is safe. 

Using a managed IT services provider, such as Great Lakes Computer, can dramatically reduce your annual cybersecurity budget and the work required to manage security itself. Managed IT services save you both time and money. If you’d like to learn more, call us! 

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