2021 Cybersecurity Budget Essentials


Cybersecurity is perpetually in the news, but it's more important than ever amidst a pandemic. Did you know cyber threats increased within the last year due to the COVID shutdowns and reorganizations? Many businesses most vulnerable to the pandemic (like hospitals and other medical institutions) became targeted by cyber criminals the most.

In our most recent white paper, the Electric 2021 Cybersecurity Report, we asked respondents on how their organizations plan on spending related to cybersecurity. 56% of respondents indicated that they planned on increasing their cybersecurity investment for 2021.

With many organizations looking to boost spending, take a look at some cybersecurity budget must-haves you need to keep your SMB safe for the rest of the year.

1. Upgrade Old Technology

As more companies embed remote work as a permanent fixture in their company culture, many employees are probably using outdated technology. Those desktops or mobile devices being used at home maybe haven't been updated in months or years, leaving them wide open to hackers, malware, and other cyber threats.

It's time to communicate with your employees and see what type of technology they're using. Do they need an upgrade to prevent a sudden shutdown due to a phishing incident or a DDoS attack?

The cybersecurity costs might be relatively low, as many of the upgrades may only require downloading the latest OS updates rather than forcing new computers for your WFH employees. Still, you may need to upgrade if their computers are more than a decade old. You can still get cheap desktops, sometimes on the used or refurbished market.

Along with the technology, consider eliminating any outdated software with potential security vulnerabilities. For example, there's many security benefits to using virtual cards for payments rather than old-school methods. That's an easy switch to make to keep your finances secure.

2. Implement Analytics Tools to Assess Your Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

Many cybersecurity experts stress the importance of using analytics to determine where your biggest threats are. After investing in analytic tools that provide granular results, you might be surprised at how vulnerable you really are.

Any provable figures help you be able to carve out a better cybersecurity budget everyone can get behind. A major area to look at is, again, how many DDoS attacks you experience in a given year. Did you have at least one or more in the last year?

What about data breaches that you know about? A major problem with data breaches is you sometimes don't realize they're happening until finding out later information was compromised. Did you have at least one breach since the pandemic started?

Phishing continues being a problem, and your metrics should tell you how many of those have already occurred with your employees. Your team may deal with phishing scams on a weekly basis with so many emails coming in and fakes easily fooling anyone. An analytics tool to assess vulnerability is a cybersecurity cost worth investing in, as one phishing scam can cost companies millions.

3. Automation for Cybersecurity Measures

Many experts say automation is one of the cybersecurity costs your company should invest in. The reason being is that depending on automation to protect your data frees up hiring on-site cybersecurity teams.

Not that automation software is always inexpensive to purchase. Regardless, setting it up now helps you catch data breaches automatically to avoid human error.

Hiring a large cybersecurity team could cost you thousands of dollars more over a year's time. And not all of them will catch everything like more intelligent platforms can.

First, understanding what kind of threats you face in a cybersecurity analysis helps you determine how automation can prevent those issues from ever happening again.

4. The Use of AI and Machine Learning

A cybersecurity cost that is expensive, but necessary, is the advent of AI and machine learning to keep your company cyber safe. Forbes recently noted that AI and machine learning is already allowing tech devices to "self-heal" and self-secure themselves.

This is a major technological evolution in how far machine learning has come. Using it falls under the automation process above, albeit with far more intelligence. Machine learning lets your AI platforms learn based on experience. Whatever cybersecurity issues you face will allow AI to grow smarter on how to protect things in the future.

Having AI be the new guardian for protecting your devices in the office or out in the field saves your staff considerable time once again. No longer do you have to rely completely on humans for everything. And, your own job as a CIO, CTO, or IT manager becomes easier to manage when AI catches cybersecurity issues as they happen.

A substantial cybersecurity investment like this ultimately saves money based on the ability to save time to focus on more important things in your business.

5. Consider a VPN and Data Encryption

Your first step toward budgeting your cybersecurity is to look where you have the most gaps. Some of those are areas that can be helped with relatively inexpensive tools.

One of those is a VPN, something everyone should have to reduce the potential of hacking. These work to divert your IP address to other parts of the country or world so no one can track what you're doing. It's one of the best deterrents against data tracking and hacking attempts.

All VPN providers charge for their services, though you should never use a free service. Many of the best VPN providers charge around $14 per month, including free ability to use a VPN on other computing devices. This cybersecurity cost is relatively inexpensive, and one of the best ways to protect your company’s data.

Also consider data encryption, something potentially costing more. Encrypting all your data, especially on mobile devices in the field, can help deter hackers from stealing sensitive customer information. Numerous encryption software exists, yet be sure to do your homework on trustworthiness.

What Should You Spend on Cybersecurity?

Investing in the above or other risk assessment processes might cost more than you can realistically spend. A good path to solve this if you don't have enough internal cybersecurity expertise is to outsource help in this arena. We recently discovered Electric delivers 105% ROI on its remote IT services.

Doing so helps you save even more money since you'll have a dedicated third-party team investing in the best technology to keep your company safe. Outsourcing fees also stay steady and help you grow your company until ready to take on cybersecurity investments on your own.

Figuring out all your bases to cover pertaining to your organization’s cybersecurity is not an easy process to navigate, especially in times like these— and that’s why Electric is here to support your organization.


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