In every data breach, organizations can lose $3.92million. This is a 12% increase in data breach incidences since 2014. These statistics show that cybercrime is on the rise, and has been largely sustained by a new breed of hackers. They are driven by technological advancements that allow them to invent stronger, more resilient and more sophisticated attacks. Businesses are increasingly leveraging digitization to improve their operations and services. Brother International Corporation recently conducted a study that showed an 18% increase of investments in small- and medium-sized technologies. Another survey found that 81% of the sampled businesses agree that IT plays an important strategic role in their business growth.

But, business IT can bring a whole new set of compliance risks. To provide services, business digitization involves the use of sensitive information such as customer information. It was estimated that at least 2.5 trillion bytes of data are generated every day in the world. This makes it easier for hackers to hack companies. Perhaps this is why cyber attackers are most interested in targeting businesses. 43% of cyber-attacks on small businesses are targeted, while 64%, 62%, and social engine attacks have respectively affected companies. Every business should invest heavily in cyber defenses. To maximize ROI (Return On Investment), cybersecurity investments must be made in a sound manner. These are the top cybersecurity trends for 2020.

Considerations when creating cybersecurity budgets

It is vital to allocate sufficient budgets for cybersecurity, as the cyber threat environment can be highly dynamic and constantly changes. Recent standards indicate that most companies allocate 10% of their IT budgets for cybersecurity. This small amount may not be sufficient to secure your IT environment, train staff in cybersecurity awareness, purchase new cybersecurity solutions or comply with all regulations. When setting up cybersecurity budgets in 2020, businesses should consider the following three strategies.

Being proactive

Cybersecurity should be a top priority for all businesses. Many organizations resort to a reactive approach that rarely yields the desired results. If an attacker breaches a network, the company must implement new firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention system, anti viruses and so forth. Reactive or ad-hoc methods may be effective for some businesses when budgeting information security. However, cash-strapped businesses cannot rely upon this method to approve critical cybersecurity projects. Additionally, cybersecurity budgets are designed to protect against cyber incidents from occurring. It is therefore sensible to shift away from reactive budgeting to a more proactive approach.

To be proactive in cybersecurity budget allocation, you must understand and embrace the hacker mindset and then use that knowledge to build strong defenses. In-house security teams will need to use all their knowledge to detect any exploitable opportunities hackers might use to attack a company’s network. This will allow for the proper mitigation measures to be implemented, ensuring that you are always protected. Small businesses without the resources or expertise to perform their own risk assessments may consider outsourcing vulnerability assessments.

Organizations that are considered benchmarks in cybersecurity budgeting

When planning for cybersecurity budgets, one of the most important questions companies fail to answer is: How is the enterprise doing in terms of detecting, preventing and responding to security incidents. A benchmarked approach is a way for businesses to allocate cybersecurity budgets and investments. This involves comparing the company’s performance against that of peers, a recognised framework, a group sampled companies or a previous study. A company can quantify the results by observing the best practices of different security teams and prepare a cybersecurity budget. This benchmarking should include key performance indicators and security investment levels as well as organizational cybersecurity structures.

Use a risk-based cybersecurity approach to create cybersecurity budgets

The level of investment can be informed by setting cybersecurity budgets that are risk-based. This approach requires that the information security team share all risk categories with the leadership management team. This approach is more efficient in organizations that have established security procedures. Because they are able to categorize risks across multiple domains and allocate adequate budgets based upon the cost of mitigating those risks, this is a significant advantage. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (National Institute of Standards and Technology), is a highly effective framework for risk assessment and management. It is made up of five information security domains: identify, detect and protect, respond, respond, recover.

The NIST CSF method to classify and identify risks helps to determine the appropriate mitigation measures based on the risk level. A business can then identify the risks that need to be addressed first. This information informs security investment decisions by prioritizing the most important risks. This method can be used to make improvements in security operations, even though it is very similar to benchmarking.

Budgeting decisions should be informed by cybersecurity trends

It is important for organizations to monitor how the cybersecurity landscape may change in 2020 before allocating budgets. These are the three most important cybersecurity trends that companies need to consider when preparing their budgets. These are discussed below.

Clients/Investors will prioritise organizational cyber risk in their analysis

Cybersecurity will be a key factor in investment decisions. Investors are more cautious about considering investment options due to the reputational and profit losses suffered by companies like Equifax as a result of data breaches. Investors are less inclined to invest in companies with poor risk management practices. This is understandable as no one wants to put his personal information in risky situations. Security teams should invest in risk management and identification. A strong security position should not only include preventing breaches but also contain sufficient risk management controls. All cybersecurity budget decisions should include stronger risk management and the implementation safeguards and controls to protect sensitive information.

Attackers may focus on brute-force attack methods

2020 might see attackers focusing less on exploiting zero day vulnerabilities and more on brute-force attacks methods. These techniques include hacking into unpatched systems and unauthorized access to networks through insecure third parties. This trend has been exposed in multiple attacks. APT33 uses brute-force and password spraying almost exclusively to attempt to compromise critical infrastructure. Examples of successful use cases include breaches of companies using Shamoon and Shapeshifter, which are the most popular APT33 deployments. In 2019, business email compromise attacks are on the rise, with multimillion-company Nikkei loosing up to $29 millions to these ploys. NSA reports indicate that it seldom responds to cyber incidents involving zero-day exploitation as opposed to incidents involving unpatched software and hardware.

These trends can be countered by cybersecurity plans and procedures that focus on security basics. It is important to build a solid foundation. These plans include monitoring critical systems continuously to detect new vulnerabilities and threats and continually evaluating the security standards being implemented, including those from third parties. A business can improve its security by focusing cybersecurity investments on employee training. The human factor is often the most important contributor to weak security links.

Cyberinsurance will be more integral to cybersecurity programs

The costs of responding to breaches and attacks are increasing every day, from BEC to ransomware attacks. Due to limited resources and lack expertise, most businesses, particularly SMEs, find themselves unable to respond to incidents. Many are unable respond to multiple attacks, even those that come through fourth, fifth, or fifth-party partners. While cyber insurance does not cover financial losses due to attacks, it can help finance legal fees that are necessary for investigations. Despite the best security measures, any organization can be attacked. How prepared is the organization to recover from an attack and maintain business continuity? Cyber insurance claims can help a company that has been breached to ensure swift investigations and remediation.

Additionally, businesses are increasingly purchasing cyber insurance policies. As a result, insurance companies will become more knowledgeable about cyber attacks and offer new coverage plans. These plans may include plans to pay for damages and losses resulting from cyber attacks. As 2020 approaches, organizations will need to be able to comprehend and purchase available insurance plans to budget effectively for what they don’t cover. A review of current insurance plans will help you to create the best cybersecurity budget plans.

The following are the priorities for your 2020 cybersecurity budget

Awareness Training for Employees

Osterman’s research shows that cybersecurity education for employees is the best investment. A large number of attempted breaches can be prevented by raising awareness about how to increase resilience towards digital security risks. Hackers prefer to exploit users because they are the weakest link in cybersecurity. These hackers use undetectable software and hardware to do this, as well as using s social engineering tactics such phishing, pretexting and smishing. Technical measures are not effective in preventing these issues.

Companies can create awareness using a variety of budget-friendly strategies. You can use posters, emails reminding employees to tip of the day, or contests. Fun educational videos, computer-based courses and formal training classes are cost-effective and affordable training methods. Employers who have demonstrated strong cybersecurity knowledge can be rewarded by organizations. This can encourage other members to take the training more seriously, creating a culture of cyber awareness.

Proper patching

Although it may seem obvious, strict patching policies can make a company’s cybersecurity position much stronger. Software and hardware patching should be a top priority for IT departments. Managers tend to overlook this and instead focus their resources on other areas. Inadequate patching is responsible for many of the most serious breaches, such as the Equifax data breach in 2017 that exposed data from more than 140 million people.

Therefore, patching should be a priority and require significant financial resources. This is so that patch management can be a focal point in cybersecurity routines, whether they are weekly or daily. Patching makes sure that software and hardware assets have the most recent updates to prevent hackers exploitable vulnerabilities. Automated patching systems are a good investment as they can quickly download and install updates as soon as they become available. This will not only increase organizational security, but also facilitate compliance with various regulations.

Hire cybersecurity firms

Sometimes the amount of work required to secure a company properly can be costly. If the company is Fortune 500, it is impossible to hire security personnel in-house that should be available 24 hours a day. Small businesses make up the majority of small businesses, so they may not have the resources to manage their own cybersecurity operations. Many managed service providers offer a wide range of services that can be very beneficial in optimizing security. These services include 24/7 monitoring, access and assistance from specialized experts as well as the latest security tools. Most MSPs offer affordable subscriptions that can be paid monthly or annually.

Outsourcing security services such as penetration testing can be cost-effective and help to strengthen defenses. It is important to identify vulnerabilities and risks before exploitation can occur. Companies can include pen testing in their budgets, as they can be performed once or twice per year.

Endpoint security

A business can protect its endpoints by using effective strategies to secure their networks and data. Hackers and users can gain access to the network and systems through endpoints. These devices include smartphones, laptops and mobile devices. It is nearly impossible to achieve 100% security because of the number of endpoints within any company. Organizations should invest in endpoint security, despite this. Although this may seem like a large investment, there are security companies that can manage endpoint security and respond. They usually install software that monitors endpoints for suspicious activity and accesses them. With minimal human intervention, automated versions can detect suspicious activities and initiate the appropriate response.

There are a few trends that will affect your cybersecurity spending

Each year new trends emerge in cybersecurity. They all have an impact on companies’ cybersecurity spending. These ten trends could help you plan for 2020’s cybersecurity budgets.

Software behind security services

Forrester called 2019 the year of cybersecurity services. The spending on cybersecurity services, which are relatively new, increased four-fold in that year. These investments outpaced those made in other areas. Gartner analysts predict that security services will account for at most 50% of cybersecurity budgets. Gartner projects that security services spending will reach $64.2 billion, $15.3 million, and $13.2 billion respectively.

Privacy concerns

Privacy concerns have been raised in the past by new privacy laws and regulations. 2020 will be no exception, especially with the 5G network rollout. Consumers are constantly concerned about privacy breaches, which is why they continue to ponder the security and privacy of their data. Companies should also invest in privacy protection as security spending rises. Companies should invest in cybersecurity to improve the functionality of identity and access management systems (IAM), data loss prevention strategies (DLP), and identity governance (IGA).

CISOs desire increased visibility, analytics and alignment

A new trend is that Chief Information Security Officers, or CISOs, spend more on cybersecurity when their management approves. It is crucial to set up larger cybersecurity budgets in order to address industry needs and business changes as well as security risks. Because adversaries are able to create complex attack methods, CISOs want to establish a well-integrated cybersecurity environment. This is done to allow threat detection in real time and to create a more strategic cyber culture. Forbes predicts that CISOs will prioritize the following items in their budget spending:

  1. Security event analytics can be used to replace cross-platform visibility
  2. Orchestration and automation can be used to align security operations
  3. To address insider threats, acquire user behavior analytics (UBA).

Compliance could be the driving force behind cybersecurity spending

Today’s CISOs are closer than ever to the C-suite (executive and senior level employees). PwC’s study found that CEOs believe cyber threats pose a significant threat to their company’s growth prospects and are an obstacle. More CEOs believe that cybersecurity can be improved by focusing more on compliance. CISOs are worried that spending more time on compliance could lead to a reduction in investment in mitigating business risks. Business decision-makers need to ensure that they have adequate budgets for managing digital risk and compliance.

Digital transformation accelerates with cybersecurity investments

To better understand cybersecurity’s technical aspects, CISOs must work in close collaboration with the C-suite. Any technology-oriented company should strive to achieve a secure digital transformation. Automated business functions such as 5G networks could be possible, which will change the way businesses work. A CIO study found that the main objectives of digital transformation are to reduce time and resources wastage, improve time efficiency, and reduce business friction. Secure digital transformation requires cybersecurity budgets for key enablers like DevSecOps.

Evolving methods of measuring cybersecurity ROI

Cybersecurity leaders determine a product’s value by recognizing its potential to reduce security risks and, at the same, allow an organization to stay compliant. These are the most important metrics and could continue into 2020. Third parties might be invited to audit available products and tools in order to validate their effectiveness for security investment.

The key goal is to invest in a security culture.

Cyber-attacks that are successful are usually caused by human error or process failure. A business can start a dialogue about cybersecurity budgets and risks to help them work towards a strong security culture that shares risk goals. Executives should be able justify cybersecurity spending by addressing security gaps. Talks about topics like appetite for risk, where security investments have the greatest impact, and how to make sure existing investments return the desired value should be a key part of cross-functional budget discussions.

Cybersecurity budget benchmarks can be difficult

It is recommended that budgets be established by benchmarking cybersecurity spending from other organizations. However, this can prove difficult. This is due to factors like company size and industry. According to a BCG report, cybersecurity spending in the top companies varied by 30%. It is important to recognize that strong cybersecurity must take into account factors such as regulatory compliance and facilities.