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How to Ensure Cybersecurity Investments Remain a Priority Across Your Organization

Collaboration across all business units is key to building a robust cybersecurity program.

The shift to remote and hybrid work, a rise in IT outsourcing, and the commercialization of cybercrime have created a heightened threat landscape in which no organization is bulletproof. And in 2022, the global average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high of $4.35 million — so if cybersecurity isn't a priority when it comes to your organization's financial planning, it's time to make it one.

Today's Threat Landscape Requires All Hands on Deck

Modern organizations have vast supplier ecosystems of third-party vendors — and that means increased access to organizations' data and IT infrastructures. Although the growth of IT connectedness helps enterprises scale and meet business objectives, it also creates more opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities in the software supply chain.

Attacks on a third-party vendor's software negatively impact both the organization and its customers. Since customers often share sensitive data with third parties, it's critical for vendors to maintain strong security programs consistent with industry standards and regulatory requirements. But it's not just vendors who need to prioritize cybersecurity.

Cybercrime has financial consequences in the form of regulatory fines, ransom payments, and data recovery costs. Consumer trust also declines by an average of 67% after a data breach. Simply put, there's too much at stake to let cybersecurity planning sit on the backburner.

With organizational spend under greater scrutiny, it can be difficult to justify increased spending in any area of the business, cybersecurity included. But in reality, an economic downturn doesn't mean a downtick in cybercrime — data breaches climbed 167% from the second quarter to the third quarter of 2022.

Enhance Cybersecurity Through Strategic Partnerships

As cyberattacks continue to grow in frequency and severity, executives and decision-makers across industries have become more informed about cybercrime and the need for increased investment to mitigate it.

Collaboration between chief information security officers (CISOs) and business executives is crucial to building a robust cybersecurity program. These teams can leverage their respective skill sets to ensure alignment between cybersecurity initiatives and business objectives, more accurately measure the return on investment (ROI) of cybersecurity programs, and help make cybersecurity spending a priority.

With these best practices, security leaders can cultivate a strategic and collaborative partnership across all business units:

Understand business shifts. CISOs need to work together with the business to determine the most effective way to balance risk versus expense. Formalized processes should exist to engage the CISO and other key stakeholders about shifts in technology, locations, or the types of data being processed.

Additionally, regular communication between CISOs and other leaders can help them better understand each other's pain points and objectives. Through these conversations, security leaders can ensure their financial and business counterparts have the necessary context to respond to budget requests and initiatives.

Leverage expertise to educate. CISOs are responsible for educating organizational leaders about security risks and how to implement cost-effective controls to mitigate them. A potential recession is creating pressure for leaders to reduce spending, but experts anticipate global cybercrime costs to continue climbing. So while cybersecurity investments may present costs upfront, they pale in comparison to the financial and reputational risks of a data breach or cybersecurity incident.

Technologies and services like cloud-based vulnerability management platforms, third-party penetration testing, patch management and endpoint protection are critical in protecting the organization's data. It's up to security leaders to communicate the value of these tools, their benefits, and how they meet the needs of the business. Security leaders can speak the language of the business by focusing on outcomes and ROI rather than getting in the weeds on technical details.

The goal of establishing a solid relationship between CISOs and business leaders isn't to secure a blank check for cybersecurity spending. Instead, through regular communication and collaboration, they can work together to strike a balance between risk and expense, and determine where to allocate resources for effective cyber-threat mitigation. As a result, cybersecurity can remain a priority during budget planning and the entire organization can reap the benefits of increased customer trust and secure data.