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Once upon a time, cybersecurity budgets were an afterthought, something to consider after the rest of the budgetary areas were buttoned up. But no more.

With cybersecurity attacks increasing, more and more companies and organizations are making cybersecurity budgets a top priority and a business imperative. Recent states seem to bear this out:

  • Security services accounted for an estimated 50 percent of cybersecurity budgets in 2020 – Gartner 
  • Total spending for cybersecurity in 2021 rose to $150 billion, a gain of 12 percent from 2020 – Gartner
  • Sixty-six percent of CIOs intend to increase cybersecurity investments in the coming year – Gartner
  • Sixty-eight percent of small business owners say they will allocate more dollars for cybersecurity in the coming year – Devolutions
  • Fifty percent of large enterprises are spending $1 million or more annually on cybersecurity – Cisco

The desire to make stronger financial commitments to cybersecurity is good news. The costs of attacks and data breaches are growing daily, so securing your budget and ensuring it is spent wisely is more vital than ever. As you evaluate your 2023 financial plans, here are some recommendations to maximize your budget in the face of rising threats:

Identify Your Ultimate Goal

Focus on guarding your assets and limiting the damage caused by attacks that are most likely to affect crucial company operations. Don’t simply purchase more tools to track more weaknesses and vulnerabilities that experts see daily. Strong cybersecurity depends on fusing human talent with the best tools and work procedures. If your team does not have the appropriate skills to deploy the new technology tools to stop attacks, this will not give you a return on your investment and is not a good use of your budget. 

Think like a cyberthief

To use a budget in the best possible way, businesses need to discern what inside their data and systems is enticing and vulnerable to cyber thieves and hackers. They need to understand, for instance, if hackers are likely to take advantage of your businesses’ digital associations or suppliers. Both are targets of high value to thieves. Perhaps your company’s valuable or sensitive information makes you an easy target for ransomware, which is skyrocketing these days.

Evaluating what types of attackers are most likely to target your company is also essential. Understanding what assets are most attractive to certain types of cyber criminals will enable your business to allocate its budget properly to defend the most vulnerable assets and possible routes of attack. It will also allow you to enlist a team with the right experience. Understanding what drives attackers can help you maximize your budget and shield your critical assets without blowing money on general cybersecurity. 

Be adaptable

In the cybersecurity world, threats are constantly changing. IT teams and others involved in cybersecurity need to keep an adaptive mindset and be ready to change their tactics, tools, and methods. 

It’s also a good idea to reevaluate your budget spending every quarter. As threats emerge, you need to remember it is less about the tools and more about what areas are vulnerable to hackers. You can then move resources from one spot to another.

Know the landscapes

In building your budget framework, it’s helpful to know the potential breaches and incidents that can happen as well as the speed at which they occur. According to a Cybersecurity Ventures report, ransomware happens every 11 seconds. Have a good understanding of the latest threats in building your budget.

Equally important is to have a good understanding of your company’s business environment. This will help you craft a budget around that landscape.

Weigh your in-house and external options

There are several plusses to keeping your cybersecurity in-house, including familiarity with your company culture and better alignment with your goals. An in-house team is likely to know your industry much better, which is particularly important if you are in a specialized field. You can also directly manage the team and have more control over the kind of people you employ.   

Outsourcing cybersecurity to a managed service provider is also a good move, particularly if you run a small business that would rather not have to manage a bigger team and incur additional costs. With the average annual salary for skilled cybersecurity employees above six figures, full-time cyber analysts do not come cheap. 

In addition, outsourcing will give you the capacity to respond to after-hours breaches and other issues. With a small in-house department, you may feel the pinch if a crisis strikes or an essential employee leaves the company. The outsourcing option provides you with all the benefits of top-tier enterprise security without the typical overheads. 

Determine the big-ticket projects

In digital transformation plans, such as supporting remote work, BYOD, and moving workloads to the cloud, cybersecurity must play a significant role. Your plans should be reflected in your cybersecurity budget for securing adjustments to IT infrastructure activities.

Keep sensitive and regular data apart

To curtail expenses without weakening the privacy and security of your users and company, consider splitting up regular and sensitive information. The three main kinds of sensitive data are personal, business, and classified information. Losing this data in an attack could damage your company’s finances, reputation, and operations. By separating sensitive data from regular data, your business will be more secure. This approach can also cut your cybersecurity costs while enabling you to spend in other business areas.   

Learn before you purchase

Stop right there. Before buying a cybersecurity tool, your team should be fully aware of how it operates and functions. Perhaps the functionalities overlap with what you already have, or your team feels the technology does not exactly serve the purpose as marketed. 

To maximize the tool and your budget, your team should have deep knowledge of the platform before using it to guard your network. 

Use cloud cybersecurity solutions

Beware. Hackers have sophisticated and advanced hacking measures at their disposal. As part of these attacks, bad actors use social engineering and AI to augment their strikes. Rather than spending money on dated traditional systems that do not get results, consider cloud-based solutions like the VirnetX One Secure Communications Platform, which gives you full control and protection over your company’s sensitive information and intellectual property. With 24-7 monitoring, you can have security and peace of mind without bashing your budget.

Don’t discount awareness programs

Often ignored, cybersecurity awareness programs are an effective way to optimize your budget. While the price of some programs may seem high, it is a fraction of what a data breach can cost you. These programs are designed to help employees see their importance in combating security breaches. Good programs can help your workers understand proper cyber hygiene, the security risks associated with their actions, and how to identify attacks via the web and emails. In time, cybersecurity awareness training programs have the potential to improve your company culture. 

War Room and Matrix – two solutions that won’t break your budget

The economy is in flux and budgets are tight. You need to choose your cybersecurity tools and platforms wisely. We can help. At VirnetX, we have two budget-friendly platforms that can make a real difference for your business or organization. 

War Room is an encrypted construct only visible to authorized users and combats threats and hackers from invading video meetings. It is built with a Zero Trust philosophy and backed by VirnetXOne – VirnetX’s proprietary Gabriel technology.   

Matrix enforces access policy controls and enables real-time network management to protect cloud or on-premises applications from threats. The platform safeguards applications and contemporary remote workforces from sophisticated hackers and mitigates threats by enabling corporate applications to be invisible to unauthorized users.

Planning a solid and efficient cybersecurity budget can be complex, with various outside influences and factors to weigh. You need to ensure your intended spending level dovetails with your chosen level of risk and desired security. By following these budget best practices for your budget, you can spend with confidence, knowing that your critical security requirements are being met.

About VirnetX

VirnetX Holding Corporation is an Internet security software and technology company with patented technology for secure communications, including 4G LTE and 5G security. VirnetX’s software and technology solutions, including its secure domain name registry and Gabriel Connection Technology™, are designed to facilitate secure communications and to create a secure environment for real-time communication applications such as instant messaging, VoIP, smartphones, e-readers, and video conferencing. The Company’s patent portfolio includes over 200 U.S. and foreign-granted patents, validations, and pending applications. For more information, please visit www.virnetx.com