You’ll only know you’ve under-invested in cybersecurity solutions when something goes wrong
Of the thousands of decisions you make at your company, choosing the right cybersecurity solutions may be the most important. Just ask the folks at Clorox. Ransomware hackers hit the company in August, and paying the ransom was only the beginning of the trouble. It spent $25 million on response, from forensic investigators to legal and technical assistance. Then, in October, it announced that the disruption caused by the attack had led to a 23-28% loss in net sales. And that’s all to say nothing of the reputational damage. Nobody wants to do business with a company that has Swiss cheese for security.
As ransomware attacks become more and more common, choosing the right cybersecurity solutions for business only grows more important. By examining the forces shaping the cybersecurity market, you’ll be better equipped to find the right solution for your company.
Factors Affecting the Search for Cybersecurity Solutions for Business
Stakes Have Never Been Higher
As technology has grown more advanced, companies have started holding more and more of their resources within that technology. That’s especially true for cloud service providers such as Google and Amazon. Proprietary product designs, protected client information, banking information, and more now reside in virtual data centers. All that data in one place has encouraged bad actors to scale up their hacking efforts accordingly. There were more than 600 million ransomware attacks in 2021, and there were 140 million in the first half of 2023. Hackers and tech companies are now locked in an arms race, with trillions of dollars on the line.
Budgeting Questions Are Complex
It would make life a lot easier if cybersecurity solutions for business could be budgeted in the same way operational IT solutions are. In IT, a company can evaluate workload size and speed, and then estimate a budget based on that data.
Estimating a budget in cybersecurity is much more opaque because there are few signs that your solutions are working. You may never know how many attacks your security repels. On the other hand, as soon as you’ve under-invested, you’ll know. And by then it will be too late. Security solutions have to be right every time, but bad actors only need to be right once. That’s why IT managers tend to over-invest in cybersecurity: Better safe than sorry.
Security Talent Is Scarce and Expensive
Budgeting also requires more than investing in the right tools. Operating a cybersecurity staff of sufficient size is another critical piece of the puzzle. But this brings up another complication. Cybersecurity demands a lot of talent. That talent is in limited supply, and hiring competition is stiff, to say the least. Whatever your company can pay, Microsoft and Facebook can probably pay more. That makes it very difficult to attract the best talent to your business.
After the giants have taken their picks of the cybersecurity talent, the remaining professionals will still expect high salaries. And even if they’re within your budget, supply is so constrained that you may not be able to hire enough of them to meet your needs. There simply aren’t enough cybersecurity experts to go around.
Security Operation Centers (SOCs) and You
Major corporations know that the bigger they are, the bigger the targets on their backs. The slightest misstep could let bad actors past their defenses, leading to eye-watering value losses. To combat that threat, they create departments whose sole focus is maintaining cybersecurity. These departments are known as security operations centers, or SOCs. They’re full of cybersecurity experts equipped with top-of-the-line tools who serve as the eyes and ears of the organization, taking in telemetry information, assimilating it, identifying trends and upcoming threats, and thus staying one step ahead of bad actors.
Mid-size and smaller corporations are in a difficult position with regard to cybersecurity. They may not face the same volume of attacks as an Apple or a Walmart, but they also have far fewer resources to fend off hackers. They can’t afford to dedicate an entire department to security. Instead, those responsibilities fall to the IT department. Those workers are likely capable in cybersecurity matters, but their plates are already full of other priorities, including maintaining continuity of services. If they fail on that front because they prioritized security, we run into the spending black box problem we discussed earlier. There’s no way to know if that priority on security was misplaced.
(Shared) Knowledge Is Power
Every device on your company’s network is a potential entry point for bad actors. That includes servers, network switches, storage devices, and even some connected printers. That’s why so many cybersecurity solutions for business focus on creating strong locks on those access points. But the truth is that, despite what movies might have you believe, 95% of cybersecurity issues are the result of simple human error. Phishing attempts, fraud, and other manipulative tricks are the most common ways bad actors get into company systems. As a result, a truly comprehensive security strategy should find ways to address and guard against those techniques.
This is where sharing knowledge gains critical importance. In an every-man-for-himself environment, each business has an incredibly limited amount of information available to it. If you’re lucky enough to have 20 staff working on cybersecurity, that’s all the intelligence you can rely on to stay ahead of hackers. But if those 20 workers can share data with another 20, let alone 200, their frame of reference for possible vulnerabilities grows enormously. And the more vulnerabilities they know about, the more they can plug up.
Making SOCs Accessible with Outsourcing
Companies hit by cyberattacks are often understandably cautious about discussing how their security systems failed. But if they’re able to overcome that reluctance and contribute to the knowledge of the cybersecurity community, it can build a critical mass of information about how hackers target and attempt to infiltrate business systems.
Cybersecurity firm Arctic Wolf aims to provide that wider frame of reference. Its cybersecurity experts essentially function as an outsourced SOC. They hook into your security tools and fine-tune them for maximum security. They then monitor those tools in addition to trends in hacking attempts, find new security solutions, and implement them for you. To find out how Arctic Wolf can help your business, contact us today.
Tim Joyce, Founder, Roundstone Solutions