Showing the Tangible Value of Cybersecurity

April 10, 2024 by
Mark Nash

You cannot overstate the importance of cybersecurity, especially in this era dominated by digital advancements. Businesses and organizations are increasingly reliant on technology to drive operations, which also makes them increasingly susceptible to cyber threats. Statistics from last year found that only 66% of small businesses are concerned about cyber threats, and a further three out of four say they lack the personnel to adequately address cybersecurity. This lack of cybersecurity support leaves these businesses vulnerable to an attack, and many can't handle dealing with the costs of such an attack; 60% of small businesses that fall victim to a cyberattack go out of business within six months. Statistics like those are why it's vital that decision-makers understand the value of cybersecurity. The need for protection is clear, but executives want concrete data to back up spending.

How to Show the Monetary Benefits of Cybersecurity Measures

The benefits of cybersecurity are often indirect due to its preventive nature; after all, the goal of cybersecurity is to ensure that something (a cyberattack) does not happen. This lack of easily identifiable returns can make cybersecurity investments seem less valuable than tangible assets with measurable returns. The key is to change the way you view cybersecurity, seeing it as akin to insurance policies aiming to mitigate potential risks rather than generate immediate financial returns.

Estimate the Cost of Downtime

Perhaps the most compelling way to showcase the value of cybersecurity is by showing the cost of downtime. Falling victim to a cyberattack frequently results in your business being unable to operate until the attack is resolved; this is called downtime. If you would like to know what the potential cost of your business experiencing downtime is, our downtime calculator can show you.

Financial Impact Analysis

Unfortunately, the downtime likely won't be the only cost you incur if you fall victim to a cyberattack. Cybersecurity incidents can have significant financial implications, including but not limited to:

  • Downtime
  • Data loss
  • Legal consequences
  • Reputational damage

Businesses can quantify the potential losses averted due to cybersecurity measures by conducting a thorough financial impact analysis.

Quantifying Risk Reduction

So, we know the high cost of falling victim to a cyberattack; now, the next step to showcase the value of cybersecurity is by quantifying the risk reduction that it can provide. Risk reduction can be estimated by analyzing threat intelligence and historical data and measuring how the presence or lack of cybersecurity affected the impact of incidents. Threat intelligence is the collective data regarding cyber threats, their potential consequences, and ways to defend against them.

Data Protection/Compliance Metrics

Another tangible way you can exhibit the value of cybersecurity initiatives is through data protection and compliance metrics. For organizations handling sensitive data, metrics related to data protection are paramount. Some specific examples of important data protection metrics include the number of data breaches prevented, data loss incidents, and the efficacy of encryption measures. These metrics add tangible value to cybersecurity initiatives. Data protection is essential for any industry, especially those with regulatory requirements for data protection and cybersecurity; failure to comply with these regulations results in legal consequences. Additionally, dedication to cybersecurity and tracking compliance metrics also showcases a commitment to safeguarding sensitive information that customers appreciate.

Employee Training/User Awareness Metrics

Human error remains a significant factor in cybersecurity incidents, so metrics related to the effectiveness of employee training programs can shed light on how well the company has prepared its workforce to recognize and respond to potential threats. A well-trained workforce is essential for a company's cybersecurity defenses. Beyond training effectiveness, there are user awareness metrics that gauge how well employees understand and adhere to cybersecurity policies. Use metrics such as the number of reported phishing attempts, password changes, and adherence to security protocols to gain insights into the human element of cybersecurity.

Technology ROI

Investing in advanced cybersecurity technologies is a common practice, so showcasing the return on investment (ROI) can be a powerful way to show value. Use metrics that assess the effectiveness of security technologies in preventing or mitigating incidents, such as the number of blocked threats.