From cost center to cost mitigation

Oct 19, 2022

What’s the biggest thing holding you back from making cybersecurity a priority? For most CISOs and security executives, it’s the fact that cybersecurity is perceived as a cost center rather than part of an overall cost mitigation strategy.

Cost Center Mentality

Cost-center based budgets have long created challenges for CISOs to deliver a level of security that not only meets expectations of the board, executive committee, regulators, and shareholders, but also keeps the business safe. Why?

Cost centers are viewed as detrimental to the bottom line. Functional areas deemed cost centers are generally required to trend to budget decrease — often with mandatory annual % reductions and are viewed as an easy area to trim when times are tough.

The result is budget-driven pressure on the IT/Security function to maximize efficiencies and reduce costs – facing the relentless challenge of doing more with less. The team’s focus becomes keeping their costs in line or below budget, rather than the immense task of staying ahead of emerging threats.

Shifting Perception

Over the last several years, cybersecurity has taken center stage as a top priority for business leaders. The reason for this is simple: cyberattacks are not going away. In fact, they’re getting more sophisticated and more frequent. As a result, companies are beginning to realize that cybersecurity is no longer a cost center — it’s an investment in their long-term success.

In fact, according to Statista, the global average cost of a data breach in 2022 is $4.35 million—and that number can easily grow exponentially if your company doesn’t have adequate defenses in place.

All stakeholders – the rest of the C-Suite, boards, and committees – are taking note of this increase in risk potential and are starting to realize that they already have internal resources that can help lower that risk.

A New Case for Budget

CISOs and security executives understand that their role isn’t just about protecting their organization from cyberattacks. It’s also about helping executives understand why cybersecurity needs to be part of every company’s strategic planning and risk mitigation conversations from day one.

That’s why it’s so important for CISOs and security executives to explain how investments in cybersecurity can mitigate risk and save money by preventing costly incidents from occurring, and managing them effectively when they do happen, down the road. Investments should always be considered in contrast to potential risk when considering budgets and financial projections.

Positioning for increased budget investment as a fraction of potential loss can mean the difference in not just prevention, but also in ensuring that when a breach does happen (it’s not if, but when) that the team is prepared with comprehensive, actionable response, containment, mitigation, and communication plans to shut down threats and lead the organization through the event with as little downtime and loss as possible.

Not sure where to start?

Check out our Conversation Guide to Cyber Risk Discussions and our Suddenly CISO Handbook.

Or, request a free consultation with our team. We’d love to help you on your security journey.

Download Our Conversation Guide to Cyber Risk Discussions

Fill out my online form.

Download Our Suddenly CISO Handbook

Fill out my online form.