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Managing the Information Security Budget

Managing the Information Security Budget

By Tracy Martin – Senior Information Security Consultant – Intrinium 

Developing a budget for your information security program can be challenging.  Priorities have a way of changing throughout the year, regulations change, or new regulations, such as the GDPR, are created, etc.   Bottom line is that the organization’s information security needs may look totally different at the beginning of the budget process compared to when the money is spent.

Here are some helpful tips to help you manage the Information Security Budget process:

1. Review Regulatory Requirements

Depending on the industry you are in, the types of assessments and audits required each year changes.  For example, if your organization takes credit card payments, you will need to budget for either a Report on Compliance (ROC) or an Attestation of Compliance (AOC) be completed by a qualified QSA each year.  So, knowing which assessments you have to complete each year provides an excellent start for creating a budget

2. Review the Effectiveness of Your Security Program

Use a Security Framework, such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF), to review the effectiveness of your information security program. The NIST CSF has 98 security control objectives that security managers can use to rate their security program. Using the NIST CSF helps you to demonstrate to your organization where the strengths and weaknesses are. This will help your organization make business decisions about which areas need the most focus and budget consideration.

3. Don’t Be Too Technology-Focused

When it comes to creating a budget for an Information Security Program, managers often focus on the cost of deploying new technology.  But a good security program includes the people and the knowledge they bring to an organization. So instead of focusing on the latest tools, focus on leveraging and utilizing the people and tools that your organization already has.  Having a strong Security Awareness Training Program can be very effective at improving information security and for a reasonable cost.

4. Review Current Tools and Resources

Many of the clients that I work with have tools that have overlapping functionality. Or I will find that the tool has never been fully deployed.  So, before you start adding costly technology deployments to your information security budget, take a good look at the tools that you already have.  A good idea is to create a matrix of the tools that you have in place and the functionality they provide.

5. Don’t be Afraid of Policies

Administrative controls may not have bells and whistles, but they are some of the best cost-effective tools to help you improve your information security.  Administrative controls such as an Acceptable Use Policy can be very effective at improving information security and is a lot cheaper than deploying the latest and greatest tool.

Getting through the budgeting process can be challenging and time-consuming!  Having a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your organization’s information security program can help you to set the priorities for the budget.  At Intrinium, we have been advising our customers to review their information security programs and utilize a framework, such as the NIST CSF, to help determine priorities.

Need More Help?

Intrinium can help you to evaluate the effectiveness of your information security program against frameworks such as the NIST CSF.  We can provide a detailed look at where your organization’s strengths and weaknesses are and help you to develop a prioritized roadmap that will not break your budget. Do you want to know more? Contact us now! 

 

 

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