Posted on December 1, 2021.

Many businesses have a difficult time prioritizing their cybersecurity budget. Even more, terms like “cybersecurity program review” sound complex, intimidating, and expensive. Yet, some careful research quickly uncovers the fact that it is possible to protect your company from cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities without breaking the bank. 

At Sanity Solutions, we cannot overemphasize the need to be proactive with cybersecurity. In the end, it’s far more affordable and way less stressful to prevent a cyber attack, as opposed to dealing with the fallout of a security breach. 

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to start researching defense-in-depth cybersecurity for your business. Once you understand your needs, you can implement a cybersecurity strategy that balances safety and affordability, whether it’s starting from scratch or maturing an existing program.

Why is Cybersecurity Important? 

Whether it be protecting private or personal information, staying compliant, remaining profitable, or just being able to sleep at night, there are several reasons why cybersecurity is important. 

Even today’s most basic businesses rely on computer systems that house sensitive data. It might be a surprise to many, but nearly 50% of cyber-attacks happen to small businesses. Even more, almost 70% of small businesses have experienced a cyber-attack in the last year. Even worse, the breach could take days, weeks, or sometimes months to identify without the right solutions in place.

Once hackers launch a successful cyber-attack, it sends ripples across your organization. When your own sensitive data is jeopardized, the mess can be extremely costly to clean up. Similarly, if your customers’ data is hacked, it is extremely likely you will permanently lose their business. Beyond these less tangible elements is the fact your business will lose revenue when it grinds to a halt after a security breach. 

What Type of Business Do You Own?

A great place to start when figuring out a functional cyber security plan is the type of business you own. To illustrate, a brick-and-mortar store will have different cyber security requirements than an e-commerce operation. 

Another thing to consider is the amount of customer data your company stores.

In today’s digital world, it’s not uncommon for businesses to store sensitive consumer data. Operations as diverse as online stores and property management companies use apps and online profiles to keep their customers engaged. While this level of connectivity is invaluable in today’s business world, it also poses risks. 

If your business operates extensively online, you need to account for this heightened risk in your cyber security plan. 

Compliance Regulations & Data Sensitivity 

Businesses that operate in industries with sensitive information are legally required to meet minimum cybersecurity standards. Some noteworthy industries with minimum cyber security standards include medical and financial. 

Common cybersecurity standards include: 

  • HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 
  • PCI DSS: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard 
  • SOX: Sarbanes Oxley Act 

If your company has minimum compliance standards to meet, you can use these factors as logical guides for choosing an appropriate cybersecurity plan. 

Conduct a Cybersecurity Gap Assessment 

Once you know the cyber security requirements of your industry, you must do a cybersecurity gap assessment. Doing so will give you a more granular view of the strengths and vulnerabilities of your security posture, and how it maps back to a specific security framework.

Your cybersecurity gap assessment should cover the following topics: 

  • Do your employees work from home? If so, have they been trained on proper cybersecurity protocol? Are employee cell phones covered by your security plan? 
  • What cybersecurity awareness training are you providing your end-users to avoid social engineering or phishing scams? 
  • Are your hardware and software currently patched and on the latest software release? Often, out-of-date tech is more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. 
  • If you conduct e-commerce, do you employ best practices with online payments? 
  • Do you have a safe VPN in place for remote employees’ laptops and phones? Is it required?
  • Is your important data backed up? Do you have a cyber recovery plan? 
  • Do you have an incident response plan? Do you have cyber insurance in place?
  • Have you completed threat and risk assessments to identify imminent or potential attacks?  

Security Budget and Potential Threats 

Once you have completed a cybersecurity gap assessment, you should weigh each security expense against your annual budget. By pinpointing each weakness, you will have a clearer look at your current spending versus what you actually need. 

With concrete numbers in hand, you can create a cyber security plan that is both functional and affordable. Hiring 3rd party security teams like Sanity Solutions is a great way to get all of your weak points covered under a single security umbrella. 

If you need help creating a cybersecurity plan, please contact Sanity Solutions. We are in the process of developing a Security Roadmap offering. With this service, we will lay out where your company is with cybersecurity, as well as where you need to be. We will also help clients plan cybersecurity goals and figure out ways to pay for them. 

What Is Your Cybersecurity Budget?

While every company has unique cybersecurity needs, there are some baseline figures you can follow in creating a plan for your business. 

You should spend a minimum of 10% of your IT budget on cybersecurity. Companies that don’t have massive information security departments will obviously spend less money on cybersecurity than more tech-focused endeavors. As such, a bank that works extensively online may be more attractive to cyber criminals, and should plan to spend more on cybersecurity costs than a brick-and-mortar retail store. 

The average financial services business spends “0.2% to 0.9% of company revenue” on cybersecurity each year. For a bank that does $1.5 million in business, that’s up to $135,000 per year in cybersecurity expenses. 

If you don’t feel that you can afford a cyber security plan commensurate to your needs, you should consider reassessing your budget to make room for cybersecurity spending. A great starting point would be asking yourself if there are any less important parts of your business where you can cut costs. 

Sanity Solutions also offers financing options for cybersecurity. Sanity Capital is our financing and leasing branch that will help you get the security equipment you need –  even if you cannot purchase it upfront. 

Summary: Consider the Cost of a Data Breach 

The goal of any cybersecurity plan is to protect your business without breaking the bank. 

Many companies overlook cybersecurity until something bad happens. Yet, the failure to be proactive with cybersecurity could be disastrous for your company. In the end, the cost of a data breach will always outweigh the cost of implementing a security program. 

At Sanity Solutions, we realize that developing an appropriate cybersecurity program can be an intimidating process. Yet, with a critical look at your operation, you can follow logical waypoints for creating an affordable cybersecurity plan that will also protect the integrity of your operation. Do you still have questions about budgeting for cybersecurity? Please Contact Sanity Solutions today to learn more.