The Misconception Of Cost In Building An Infosec Program

Businesses live and die by their budgets, so many organizations still consider an information security (or infosec) program “nice to have.” They no longer have the luxury of thinking that way.

As businesses increasingly rely on technology and cloud-based infrastructures for their operations, the stakes for protecting sensitive data and systems have never been higher. The threat ecosystem evolves constantly, demanding vigilance and a proactive approach to security. This means a comprehensive security strategy is necessary for companies of all sizes.

A well-constructed infosec program is the first line of defense against potential breaches, safeguarding the company’s assets and reputation. It’s a critical component that supports a business’s overall health and sustainability in a world where cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated, and compliance is a foundational standard for stakeholders.

Understanding nuances of the cost helps you make informed decisions and ensures the long-term success and resilience of your company’s information security measures.

The Real Cost Of Security

There’s a common misconception that the cost of building an infosec program is too high for many businesses, especially smaller ones. However, this perception overlooks the substantial long-term benefits and cost savings associated with a well-implemented security strategy.

The initial investment in a robust infosec program is often considered a major expenditure. Still, this perspective fails to account for the hidden costs of inadequate security, such as data breaches and regulatory fines.

Another key aspect that’s often misunderstood is the difference between merely ticking off compliance checklists and actually building a comprehensive infosec program. Compliance is a starting point, but it doesn’t equate to a foolproof security strategy. Relying solely on compliance checklists can create a false sense of security, leaving businesses vulnerable to evolving cyber threats.

A genuinely robust security program requires ongoing investment, attention and adaptation, going beyond compliance basics to establish a resilient and proactive defense mechanism.

Long-Term Cost Benefits Of A Strong InfoSec Program

Investing in an all-encompassing information security program can bring substantial long-term cost benefits, a fact often overlooked in initial budget considerations.

According to a report by IBM, the average data breach cost in 2020 was $3.86 million. In contrast, proactive investment in security infrastructure and personnel training may seem costly upfront but can save millions over the long term by preventing breaches. Additionally, a robust security approach can streamline operations, reduce downtime caused by security incidents and enhance overall business efficiency, leading to indirect cost savings and improved business continuity.

The High Price Of Non-Compliance

In contrast with these benefits, the high price of non-compliance also requires consideration. The consequences can be severe when businesses fail to comply with regulatory standards or fall short in their security measures.

For example, Indianapolis-based insurer Anthem, Inc. recently paid out $115 million to settle a class-action lawsuit due to its alleged failure to implement adequate information security controls after the electronic protected health information (ePHI) of nearly 79 million people was compromised in a 2015 breach.

In addition to the lawsuit settlement, Anthem paid a penalty of $16 million for HIPAA violations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The company was also required to undertake substantial corrective actions.

Building Your Information Security Program

Building an effective information security program requires careful evaluation of available resources.

Companies must assess personnel, financial allocations and technological infrastructure factors to establish a robust security framework. If internal resources are inadequate, outsourcing to managed security service providers (MSSPs) can be a viable option to bolster infosec capabilities.

With the necessary resources, a thorough evaluation of organizational assets becomes paramount. Understanding the scope and sensitivity of data, systems and networks lays the foundation for effective risk management.

After evaluating assets, identifying and comprehensively understanding risks is pivotal in shaping the security program. Numerous tools and specialized companies exist to assist organizations in mitigating potential threats. However, selecting the right solutions tailored to the company’s specific needs and operational context is essential. By aligning risk mitigation strategies with organizational objectives, companies can fortify their information security posture and navigate evolving cyber threats with greater resilience and efficiency.

Balancing Cost And Quality In Vendor Selection

Selecting vendors intentionally for your security needs is crucial, and the balance between cost and quality must be carefully managed.

It is tempting for businesses to choose the lowest-cost option when selecting vendors, but this approach can compromise the quality and effectiveness of the security program. Decisions based on cost alone can lead to suboptimal outcomes. This principle is particularly pertinent in cybersecurity, where the stakes are high.

Selecting a vendor involves more than just comparing prices; it demands a thorough vetting process. It requires a comprehensive evaluation of the vendor’s capabilities, track record, compliance with industry standards and ability to adapt to the evolving threat landscape. The right vendor should fit within the budget and align with the company’s security objectives and values.

This approach ensures that the investment in security yields the desired level of protection without compromising quality.

An Essential Investment

Building a robust security program is an essential investment for modern businesses, transcending the traditional view of it being a mere expense. The misconceptions surrounding the costs of security programs need re-evaluation, considering the significant long-term benefits and cost savings they offer. The financial and reputational damages resulting from non-compliance and security failures further highlight the importance of such investments.

Viewing your company’s security as a strategic investment rather than a cost can lead to a safer, more resilient, financially sound future in the increasingly digital business world.

You can read the original article posted in Forbes by Rhymetec CEO, Justin Rende.



About Rhymetec

Rhymetec was founded in 2015 as a Penetration Testing company. Since then, we have served hundreds of SaaS businesses globally in all their cybersecurity, compliance, and data privacy needs. We’re industry leaders in cloud storage security, and our custom services align with the specific needs of your business. We offer managed compliance for frameworks including HITRUST, NIST, HIPAA, GDPR, SOC 2, and more. If you want to learn more about how our team can help your business with your security needs, contact our team for more information.

Interested in reading more? Check out our blogs: