How to Create an Effective Cybersecurity Budget

  • November 18, 2021
  • By Cyberarch Admin

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world today due to the rising cases of security incidents, sophisticated cyber attacks and cyber extortion causing extensive financial loss to businesses around the globe. The growing cyber security concerns, associated business risks and regulatory requirements have compelled companies to prioritize robust cyber security. And Cyber intelligence is a well-established discipline in the cyber security ecosystem. 

Cyber Intelligence, in its simplest form, can be defined as the knowledge or information gathering that eventually helps in the decision-making process. On a broader note, cyber intelligence comprises processes that are aimed at understanding the immediate and specific threat and gathering sufficient intelligence that can harm your organization. This approach increases operational efficiency, productivity and helps in adopting appropriate security controls. This is unlike the defence approach in which all threats are considered to have the potential to impact the organization. 

The cyber intelligence based security approach asks specific questions of Who, What, Why, When, Where and How. Once the team knows the answers to these questions, defending the organization becomes less difficult. In other words, your cyber security defence becomes more mature. Cyber intelligence professionals keep track of data, information and intelligence. In this field, data means raw data such as logs or IP addresses, which isn’t of much use when alone. However, information is defined as collated data over a period of time. This may include a suspicious increase in the logs. Finally, the analysis of information gives intelligence. In this case, the log data shows a previous pattern of the security incident. 

How Cyber Intelligence Helps

Cyber intelligence can help organizations in four different ways namely; Prediction, Prevention, Detection and Response. The advanced cyber intelligence strategies can help in identifying and predicting evolving cyber risk and threats before they impact the organization and help in planning. Secondly, the efficient programs can stop security incidents from happening at the first instance of suspicion and detection. Mitigation processes in response to an existing incident can also be accomplished using cyber intelligence.

Why Cyber Intelligence on a Budget

Cyber security budget across the world has increased in the past years. According to reports, the USA is planning to allocate approximately 18 billion to cyber security. In Israel, 2021 saw billion-plus dollars of the capital influx in cybersecurity. Similarly, other countries such as Canada, Malaysia, France, India and Australia are keeping a close eye on the increasing cyber risk and allocating budget.

 As you can see, cyber intelligence plays an important role in preventing cyber breaches and other cyber-related incidents. Thus, more and more businesses desire to allocate budgets for the same. However, the unprecedented pandemic has put the companies in turmoil, shrinking the budgets drastically. The small and medium businesses, which are often targeted, find it extremely challenging to buy intelligence tools or avail of professional help. This has led to the demand for a solution that supports cyber intelligence initiatives but at an affordable cost. Thus, cyber intelligence is required on a budget today. So, how can you achieve this objective? Read the section below to find the answer. 

  1. Planning

First and foremost, you must plan your cyber intelligence program. Discuss with all stakeholders about the specific threats and how you can achieve the set security objectives. This should include leaders, decision-makers and managers. Once you have decided the goals, identify the technology and tools you would need to accomplish them. 

  1. Use Open and Free Technologies

Using open and free technologies available is one of the best ways to achieve the dual goal of an efficient cyber-intelligence program as well as saving expenses. Thanks to the growing community of projects that are open-source, companies won’t have to rely on enterprise products developed by security vendors. However, you would need to hire talents to form a formidable team because the use of free technologies may sometimes prove to be a daunting task. You should be able to convince the leadership about the human resource needs and explain why SaaS security products can be avoided. 

  1. Build a Team 

Cyber intelligence programs generally consist of a team with different skills. It can include a system administrator, programmer, malware expert, infrastructure management and operation personnel and others. As it is difficult to find people with all these mentioned skills, you would need to build a team. 

  1. Tools You can Use

You can use different tools such as free threat-sharing platforms such as community MISP, Open CTI, The Hive, IntelOwl, Cortex, Terraform, and Ansible. These are easy to use and set up and can be utilized for different purposes. This way your intelligence program can be effective under a restricted budget. But of course, you will have to manage the man-hours. 

In addition, if you are planning to spend money on buying software for cyber security, do not invest in a wide range of products with similar or overlapping capabilities. It will further help you in the management of the program in place. Similarly, the data sources essential for security information and event management SIEM should provide valuable data that can be analysed and understood easily.

  1. Automation 

If you have a considerable budget set aside for cyber security, automation capabilities can save a lot of time for the analyst as it is precious in the security field. The latest and best automation solutions should be able to perform repetitive tasks and boost process efficiency. For example, you can use automation tools for contextual data gathering and speed incident analysis. 

Besides the five points mentioned above which demands that you make some drastic changes, implementing a few simpler measures in the organization internally can prevent an attack. It can help in reducing the budget as well.

  • Strong Passwords 

As there is a diverse range of platforms that you secure with passwords, it is essential that you use strong ones. It is highly advisable to use advanced password manager software so that it may not repeat and remain unique for every platform. The same should be informed to all the stakeholders, leaders, managers, employees and other staff members who access devices and the internet.

  • Layered Security

Layered security in an organization is the ideal way to protect against cyber attacks. Hackers and their activities can be resisted by utilizing patch management and regularly updating software and applications. Other elements like antivirus, spam identification, and firewall programs that are advanced must be used. An integrated firewall can be efficient for company networks, remote working spaces and employees at the user level. 

  • Better Authentication Process

In 2021, passwords are quite an old methodology to protect data and information. To log in to software or applications or devices, better authentication processes can be used. It can be two-factor authentication which asks for a one time password or code via text on mobile or email once you put in the password. Fingerprints and scans are also enabled at different businesses to boost security and prevent outside interference. 

Many platforms are already using two-factor authentication such as Google and other players. You can also utilize this popular service easily on a budget. 

  • Identification and Endpoint Protection

Remaining alert is the best form of defence against cyber attacks. Thus, companies should invest in security solutions that enable endpoint protection and threat identification and detection mechanisms. Such tools can keep your computer or laptop devices, servers from cyber-attacks through ransomware, adware and other malicious elements online. Regular evaluation of vulnerabilities in the IT network of your company is necessary as well. 

Even with current economic challenges due to the pandemic, cyber security solutions are a necessity in the continuously changing dynamics of the digital business landscape. In such a scenario, outsourcing cyber intelligence can perhaps help reduce the budget and improve security capabilities. However, access to security analysis experts and a team of professionals can definitely keep your organization secure and safe from possible threats and attacks from cybercriminals. Always partner with service providers who understand your business, internal capabilities, requirements and approach. The key here is the streamlining of security operations and achieving better cost savings. 

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