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Cybersecurity Budgeting for the SMB

Small and medium sized businesses (SMB) are faced with litany of financial decisions which demand attention and strain budgets on an ongoing basis.  With limited resources and virtually unlimited needs, SMBs have no choice but to prioritize their expenditures in line with their organizational goals. Thus, it may seem counterintuitive, if not impossible, to consider adding yet another top-level budget item to the list of demands calling for increased attention.

budgetingThe fact is, most SMBs do not consider themselves targets for cyber criminals and hacking, and the notion of carving out precious budget space for cybersecurity seems foreign to many SMB owners.  However, given the virtualized nature of life and business in 2016, cybersecurity preparedness and prevention stand as an unavoidable budget expenditure for all SMBs – in fact, the well-being and survival of their business depends upon it.

Frequently, statistics regarding cybersecurity and breaches are bantered about and, sadly, used as tools for fearmongering among SMB decision makers.  While these tactics are always inappropriate, calculated concern and threat awareness are legitimate points for the informed SMB.  While many SMB owners may be unaware, the U.S. Small Business Administration warns that SMBs are “especially at risk” and “increasingly targeted” by cybercriminals hoping to take advantage of their weakened cyber defenses.  The truth is, small employers do house valuable data which cyber criminals find attractive.  All too frequently, these bad actors see few obstacles and little risk in going after SMB data.

For the SMB that doesn’t know where to begin on the road to a sound cybersecurity posture, preparedness begins with education and understanding.  Small business owners must take stock of their security posture, no longer relying on ‘security through obscurity.’  Understanding the threat landscape is a critical factor as SMBs begin to consider their cybersecurity budgets.

As a point of comparison, just as there are varying needs for physical security, the same is true with cybersecurity as businesses consider their risk tolerance and begin to move toward mitigating exposure.  Thus, planning, budgeting, and investing in risk-based cybersecurity protection is essential to SMBs who are embarking on this process.

For most SMBs, the first step in the cybersecurity budgeting process will be securing a trusted advisor who understands the technical aspects of cyber defense and the constraints smaller organizations face.  With this counsel, SMBs can begin to outline a sound cybersecurity budget which implements practical and cost effective measures to protect against data breeches.

The bottom line is smaller organizations are targeted more frequently and with far more devastating consequences.  Thus, as public awareness grows in relation to cybersecurity concerns, early adopting SMBs will begin to discover many benefits in budgeting for cybersecurity including the ability to claim a competitive advantage in securing critical business data.

“Teaming up with ISI over 16 years ago has proved to be one of the best business decisions I ever made.”

David Taylor, Principal, Capitol Solutions
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