Best Practices
Arctic Wolf Networks

How to Prioritize Security in Your IT Budget

Budget season is a golden opportunity to make plans to bolster your organization’s security. Successfully allocating the necessary funds is trickier than it may first appear, however.

To help you get started, here are four ways IT managers can prioritize security in their next budget request:

1. Identify What Needs Protection

To achieve your security goals, your budget should address what needs protection. For example, are you concerned with protecting confidential or sensitive information, securing intellectual property, or safeguarding customer data? Then you may want to budget for solutions that provide enhanced coverage across a broader attack surface, including cloud infrastructure resources. Does your organization use medical devices that handle personal electronic health information (ePHI)? In that case, you’ll want to include solutions that improve healthcare security and compliance.

  • Get clarity on exactly what needs protection—you’ll be better prepared to have productive conversations with colleagues and executive leadership on how best to fund your security priorities.

2. Get Buy-In From Other Departments

Although IT typically has ownership over security, you’ll still likely need buy-in from other departments such as sales, customer success, and marketing if you want to adequately fund your security initiatives. Chances are, for example, that your colleagues in customer success also have a strong stake in protecting customer data from a breach. The marketing team, having seen plenty of headlines about new regulatory frameworks like GDPR also probably appreciates the need to protect sensitive customer information.

  • Map out how a data breach may impact departmental priorities
  • Explain what types of data are at risk and what might happen to the bottom line if data is stolen or exposed

This will help your colleagues better understand why funding security is a company-wide priority. By aligning your security goals with long-term business goals in this way, you are far more likely to win approval for your budget request.

3. Augment and Improve Existing Processes

As you prepare your security budget, keep in mind what ultimately makes a security strategy most likely to succeed. Although it’s important to have the right tools and talent, a strong security strategy must successfully orchestrate all of its components—people, processes, and technology—to create more resilient and long-lasting defenses. So,  consider ways you can continually enhance your capacity to secure your organization.

  • Pursue smart automation solutions that eliminate tedious work and return much-needed time to tackle higher-level security priorities
  • Integrate systems and dashboards so making sense of analytics becomes less burdensome
  • Partner with on-demand experts for specific strategic security initiatives rather than continually having to hire and train new security talent

With the flexibility you gain from adopting these approaches, you can make serious progress on your most urgent security priorities.

4. Create a Culture of Security

Even the most gifted IT team cannot single-handedly secure a company from today’s sophisticated attacks. To make a significant and lasting impact, you need to create a culture of security that includes everyone in the organization. In practical terms, this means you must provide colleagues with the resources they need to protect the business. Although employees are often described as the weakest link when it comes to security, they can be a powerful asset to your security strategy if provided with the right training, awareness, and tools.

  • Help employees become more security conscious. For example, teach them how to recognize a phishing message so they are less susceptible to this common form of attack
  • Educate employees on how to create and manage strong passwords, taking advantage of password manager tools to make the task easier
  • Warn employees about the dangers of unsecured open Wi-Fi networks and malicious apps

Align Budget and Security

Keeping your business secure is a challenging job, but you can increase your chances of success by creating and funding a budget that prioritizes security goals.

By identifying what needs protection, getting buy-in from other departments, enhancing existing processes, and creating a culture of security, your next security budget will make a big impact.

Learn more about what cybersecurity considerations should be discussed in your next IT budget request.