How to increase your SMB cybersecurity budget

November 9, 2022

Few things are more important than the security of the company. So why then can it be difficult for some IT leaders to successfully increase their cybersecurity budget?

In some organizations, executives and decision-makers may not fully realize that a successful security track record is no guarantee for future protection. In fact, as cybercriminals become more sophisticated and cyberattacks more frequent, it is absolutely vital that companies continually strengthen and enhance their security posture. This may require additional funds to onboard new people or partners, incorporate new tools, develop employee training programs, or even set funds aside in the event of a breach.

As we head into the season of budget discussions and decisions, here are some helpful thought starters, considerations and tips to help IT leaders make the case for increasing this critical budget item.

Learn More

For many small businesses, justifying a healthy budget can be an uphill battle. Learn four steps and tips to creating your cybersecurity budget in our budgeting guide. Read: How to create a cybersecurity budget

How to Increase Your Cybersecurity Budget

Arm yourself with the facts

One of the most effective ways to establish the value of cybersecurity is to understand the potential impact to your business. IT leaders who familiarize themselves with the latest facts and figures may have an easier time convincing leadership of this worthwhile and urgent investment.

Here are some stats from recent CrowdStrike research to get you started:

Learn how to tell a story and advocate for key areas to drive efficiency and prepare for future unexpected events

If there are specific items in your security plan that you want to add or enhance, you will need to convince leadership that this is a worthy investment for the business. Every budget request should include a clear business case for why the company should spend resources in this area.

Even though cybersecurity is often seen as part of the IT function, it should be framed as a value-driver for the entire business, be it through more efficient use of IT resources, reduced risk, improved compliance, better service to customers and partners, and so much more.

Build in additional dollars for unexpected events or attacks

Unfortunately, even when organizations have deployed a cybersecurity tool, that is no guarantee of complete security. For that reason, companies should still set aside some money to manage and recover from a cyberattack. Likewise, the company may need to earmark funds for a risk assessment, cyber insurance or other related needs that may arise during the year.

Be aware of impacts to salaries

While organizations should have a clear, dedicated cybersecurity leader, a hot job market makes retaining an experienced professional challenging. What’s more, in paying a high salary to an individual, the organization may then have less funds to spend on other areas of the budget, such as tooling. Companies need to consider any new staffing decisions within the context of the overall budget. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to work with a cybersecurity partner to help develop and implement a cybersecurity strategy and toolset and upskill existing staff, than hiring a high-level security expert.

Understand the hidden cost of doing nothing

It’s important to remember that even if your business has not been the target of an attack in the past, that does not mean that it does not carry risk today or in the future. Be sure to remind leadership that by failing to invest in security today, the organization is exposed to a greater level of risk and the cost of recovery can be far more significant than the cost of protection.

Show return on investment

In addition to demonstrating the risk and potential cost of not having a robust cybersecurity strategy and toolset, one of the most effective ways to justify the need for budget increases is by establishing a clear return on investment of existing tools and new products or services. IT leaders can prepare a statement that shares the value of such investments through metrics like:

  • Improved cost and time efficiencies through process automation
  • Reduced downtime through a more advanced toolset and process automation
  • Enhanced compliance through robust, automated reporting
  • Ability to optimize staff to focus on higher value activity as a result of automation

Provide security metrics of success

In addition to showing the ROI of an effective cybersecurity toolset, it may also be useful to gather other metrics that establish the need for these tools. IT leaders may prepare a report that outlines the following performance indicators:

  • Number of vulnerabilities
  • Number of threats identified
  • Number of attacks stopped
  • Dollars saved from breaches
  • Mean time to respond
  • Mean time to repair

Plan to Invest in Innovative, Industry-Leading Security Solutions

The sad reality of today’s cybersecurity landscape is that no matter how hard your IT team is working to protect your business, cybercriminals are working just as hard to develop their skills to break through your defenses. In addition, it is important to remember that not all cybersecurity tools are created equal — and none come with a full protection guarantee. Companies must do their due diligence when selecting a cybersecurity partner and ensuring any new tools will meet their company’s unique needs and integrate seamlessly within the existing security architecture.

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