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Cybersecurity isn’t a cost but an investment, here’s why

Find out why cybersecurity must be seen as an investment and how to strengthen security with assessments

March 17 2023Dheeraj Rawal

It’s a costly affair, only when unsecured

Most organizations think of cybersecurity as an expense while jumping on the digital transformation bandwagon. But digital transformation, without stronger security, is a double-edged sword. Adopting newer cloud applications and technologies increases the attack surface – which in return requires a stronger cyber defense.

A weak security posture can turn out to be a very expensive affair in the event of an attack. An organization with a strong security posture potentially saves a lot of money which would be wasted in data recovery, loss of customer trust, reputation, getting back operations at feet, or even paying the hackers the ransom.

The average cost of a data breach in 2022 stood at $4.35 million.  Couldn’t this money be saved, had the organization deployed an effective cyber defense? The same report by IBM stated that average costs saved by having an advanced security solution was $3.05 million.

This number emphasizes the fact that cybersecurity must be seen as a strategic and sustainable investment. More in line with the proverb, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Costs of incidents vs costs of investments

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It often becomes difficult for companies to compare the costs of the cyber incidents with the costs of investment in the cybersecurity solution, especially in the absence of the incident. Therefore, some C-level executives may drag this conversation towards ROI (return on investment) or even draw a parallel with insurance - where it’s hard to conclude about ‘returns’ on solution or the product. What they need to realize is that the consequences of a cyberattack could be financially devastating (as we saw in the above statistics).

Attacks could also lead to legal turmoil and loss of reputation.  In 2019, Delta Airlines sued its chatbot vendor for causing a data breach. The chatbot platform with weak security and password policy made it too easy for the hacker to access the payment card data of more than 825,000 Delta passengers. Delta sued (unsurprisingly) the vendor owing to their negligence.

A different perspective: cybersecurity as an enabler

Cybersecurity need not be looked at as a sunken cost but rather needs a view from different lenses. Let’s see how.

Customers today use applications or systems only when they are confident and feel safe to use it, regardless of how good the application is. Therefore, any and every innovation, by default, needs a built-in security strategy. Cybersecurity should be the backbone of digital initiatives. Businesses that invest in security to safeguard their digital transformation initiatives have a competitive edge. Apple uses security and privacy policies as one of its star features – this really sets them apart as they can garner more customer trust than competitors.

Understanding whether you’ve built a strong and resilient security posture?

For any organization to determine whether its security posture is strong enough, it needs to evaluate the current security levels and identify the existing gaps. The threat landscape is fast-changing with new attack vectors, ransomware attacks, malware, etc. growing in the market. To give you an idea, about 560k pieces of malware are found in just one day alone. Furthermore, the ways of launching an attack are also becoming advanced.

An organization with a small in-house security team and limited tools will have a hard time coping with ever-increasing cyber risks, and therefore may not be in a position to assess their own security levels. More than often, they need external security advisors or security consultants to run security assessments.

What do security assessments mean?

Security assessments could mean an evaluation of a lot of processes like network scanning, penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, threat modelling, cloud security, Operation Technology (OT) analysis, and more.

Different assessments serve varied purposes. For instance, a vulnerability assessment will check for loopholes in your settings, configuration, setup, etc. whereas a penetration assessment will simulate an attack on your system to check the response of your defense.

The main gist of any assessment is to identify vulnerabilities in the system, and further, give you a detailed report with further recommendations on it. Ideally, the report should also offer a thorough analysis and measures that the organizations need to undertake to strengthen the security posture and mitigate the risks.

Assessments are the first step towards achieving security maturity. Every business must focus on reducing their threat exposure, avoid data breaches, and also meet compliance standards set by the regulators (e.g., GDPR in Europe). Strong security policies ensure data compliance, which gathers customer trust.

With security assessments, here’s what a business can determine:

  1. The risk to its systems and business
  2. How well the current security solution is operating
  3. The gaps in the current security architecture
  4. How to reduce these gaps
  5. How to make effective security investments
  6. Ways to measure security performance
  7. Roadmap to achieve higher security maturity levels

 To give you an idea of the assessment process here are some standard steps:

  1. Initial engagement: agenda-setting
  2. Architecture review: stakeholder (architects, operational team, C-level, GRC team, CISO) interviews and workshop
  3. Assessments: running surveys and assessments
  4. Analysis
  5. Publication: report is published with the results
  6. Delivery: Customized recommendations and roadmap based on the results

We can help you with security assessments and advisory  

If you’ve got questions about security assessments or need security advisors to look at your architecture, we can help you.

We can assist you to assess your current IT architecture, OT architecture, SASE architecture, cloud, network, ZTNA implementation, and more. We can help you to pick the right cybersecurity solution that matches your business needs. Get a roadmap to enhance your security maturity levels. This way, you don’t just protect data and applications, but also move towards secure digital transformation with a strategic security advantage.

About the author
Dheeraj Rawal

Dheeraj Rawal

Content Marketer, T-Systems International GmbH

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