4 Tips for Justifying a Bigger Cybersecurity Budget

4 minute read

February 2023

Economic uncertainty presents cybersecurity teams with new challenges: while each round of big tech layoffs produces additional risk, many cybersecurity departments have been asked to achieve more with static or decreasing budgets. If you want to invest in cybersecurity technology, you’ll need to make as strong a case as possible.

Still, by translating your cyber needs into business-friendly terms, you can show that an increased cybersecurity budget would allow your team to make the purchases necessary for a higher ROI. Investing in efficiency-boosting technology means ensuring that each dollar spent on cybersecurity will go further than before. The key to cybersecurity investment is onboarding technology as soon as your team is ready for it, then using it to do go further with fewer resources.

Tips for justifying a bigger cyber budget

1.Identify inefficiencies and build solutions into your roadmap.

The line-of-business doesn’t just want to hear that an increased cybersecurity budget will produce improved outcomes—they want to know that each dollar spent on cybersecurity will help the next dollar go a little further. For this reason, it’s imperative that you build efficiency gains into your program roadmap.

To demonstrate a commitment to efficiency, make a list of inefficiencies currently present in your organization and plan how you could use new technology investments to remediate them throughout the year, usually in order of priority.

Some processes that are often inefficient include:

  • Gathering and sorting evidence
  • Tracking projects
  • Following up on deadlines
  • Chasing critical data/information

Remediating these processes may mean reorganizing your workflows, managing approval processes, or integrating processes into a Cybersecurity Performance Management (CPM) tool. When making a case for a software purchase, it’s always a good idea to tie current inefficiencies to product functionality. To make the case for an increased budget, be ready to explain how each inefficiency costs the company, which product functions will have the greatest impact in the near-term, and when you plan to resolve each issue.

2.Identify business-friendly metrics for success

By tying your security goals to real business value, you can translate between your technical vocabulary and the things that affect the wider organization. It’s important to make these connections with an eye to the interests that the line of business and cybersecurity share: data breaches cost your organization money and business.

To communicate  your current cyber effectiveness, collect data from your risk landscape, and where possible, compare with industry averages to identify your program baseline. Having reliable data allows you to tell the story of your organization’s successes and challenges, how you’re doing compared to last year, and how your cybersecurity practices stack up against other organizations in your industry.

When you can communicate how well you’re doing and where your program falls short, you can make a strong case for the necessity of an increased budget. The line of business understands numbers better than anything else, so translating into metrics means speaking their language. “We need to buy this technology so we can improve our security,” isn’t as effective an argument as, “We have identified inefficiencies that can halt our evidence-collection process for almost a week at a time. By automating this process with this technology, we can save dozens of labor-hours while increasing efficiency.”

3.Calculate return on investment

Return on investment (ROI) is the one metric most likely to convince budget holders: after all, they want to know they’ll get something for their spend. By calculating the returns the organization can expect from investing in cybersecurity technology, you can ensure the decision makers know exactly how their decisions will affect the bottom line. 

To calculate ROI, you’ll first need to list the ways that technology spend would increase efficiency and determine the cost of implementation. Second, you’ll calculate the cost of the inefficiencies targeted by your plans: how much faster could you be carrying out your function? How much do those extra hours add up to every year? Finally, you’ll need to articulate this comparison in language that business leadership will understand. That could look like:  

We currently spend [calculate the number of hours spent on inefficient processes] on activities that could be automated or simplified with [planned remediation actions]. These areas include [enter your inefficient activities]. We could reallocate these resources with our planned improvements to enhance risk mitigation, achieve audit and certification, and address security gaps. 

Cybersecurity enhancements reduce inefficiencies and increase visibility. While there are many technologies that could bring about these outcomes, many organizations choose a Cybersecurity Performance Management (CPM) platform to handle these tasks. Above, we articulated the steps necessary to justify an increased cybersecurity budget. If you’re interested in more detailed instructions for justifying a CPM purchase specifically, including calculating ROI and translating between technical and business terminology, our white paper, “Build a Business Case for a Cybersecurity Performance Management Solution ,” will help.

Related Articles

About Us

ProcessUnity is a leading provider of cloud-based applications for risk and compliance management. The company’s software as a service (SaaS) platform gives organizations the control to assess, measure, and mitigate risk and to ensure the optimal performance of key business processes. ProcessUnity’s flagship solution, ProcessUnity Vendor Risk Management, protects companies and their brands by reducing risks from third-party vendors and suppliers. ProcessUnity helps customers effectively and efficiently assess and monitor both new and existing vendors – from initial due diligence and onboarding through termination. Headquartered outside of Boston, Massachusetts, ProcessUnity is used by the world’s leading financial service firms and commercial enterprises. For more information, visit www.processunity.com.