Cybersecurity on a Budget: Maximizing Your Defenses Without Breaking the Bank

Everyone involved in cybersecurity wants to protect the companies they work for to the fullest extent. However, when competing priorities and limited budgets clash, particularly at mid-size companies, security teams often feel constrained by what they can achieve. It is possible to achieve robust cybersecurity on a budget, though. Here’s how to maximize your defenses without breaking the bank.  

Cybersecurity On a Budget  

Media stories regularly highlight how companies are starting to prioritize cybersecurity more in the wake of continued high-profile breaches and increased threat actor activity. But the reality is that there are always other influences at play that lead to budget slowdowns and cuts, and these factors tend to have an outsized impact on mid-size companies. Economic instability and uncertainty led to one-third of CISOs reporting flat or shrinking cybersecurity budgets in 2023.  

Cost-effective cybersecurity protection is a significant challenge your business can meet head-on by following a few tips and practices that make a big difference without breaking the bank.  

Conduct thorough risk assessments

Cybersecurity is all about risk management. Yes, complex risks often need to be dealt with, but fundamentally, if you can assess and prioritize risks properly, you’re already on the right path. A thorough risk assessment is an exercise that costs little in terms of money but can pay off big time. It involves assessing in detail the potential threats specific to your industry and environment and identifying your business’s most valuable assets—such as intellectual property, customer data and financial information. 

You need to evaluate how susceptible each asset is to these threats. Then, consider both the likelihood of each threat and its impact on your business. This allows you to focus your limited resources on mitigating the risks that matter rather than wasting part of your precious budget on defending against risks with little potential impact and low likelihood. Instead of adopting a costly, all-encompassing security approach, a thorough risk assessment helps target spending on measures that protect your business’s most vulnerable and valuable areas.  

Invest in effective security awareness training

Investing in employee cybersecurity awareness training is one of the most cost-effective security measures you can implement. Since human error is a significant factor in many security breaches (up to 82% of data breaches, according to one report), equipping employees with the knowledge to recognize and avoid threats like phishing emails can dramatically reduce your company’s overall vulnerability.  

Security training programs, especially those delivered in a service-based model, can be scaled to fit the size of your business and are often available on demand. This scalability means you can train new employees quickly and efficiently, without significant downtime or productivity hits. As an added benefit from a budget perspective, many training programs offer tiered pricing or subscription models, making it more affordable for mid-sized businesses to implement comprehensive training programs. 

To stretch the value of awareness even further without breaking the bank, remember that there are plenty of free or very cost-effective resources available for cybersecurity training/knowledge. Good examples here include NIST’s publications on cybersecurity topics, CISA’s free resources or even places like YouTube.  

Switch on multi-factor authentication

MFA improves security dramatically by requiring users to provide two or more independent credentials when logging into accounts: something they know (like a password), something they have (like a smartphone or a hardware token) and something they are (like a fingerprint). Adopting MFA makes it much harder for potential intruders to gain access to user accounts with many of the most common attack methods, like social engineering or reusing stolen passwords. This is because even if one factor (like a password) is compromised, MFA still prevents unauthorized access without an outsider having the additional factor(s). 

Many cloud-based MFA solutions offer flexible pricing based on the number of users, making it both affordable and effective for businesses with tight budgets. It’s also worth pointing out that MFA systems need relatively little maintenance once set up. Low maintenance requirements reduce the long-term costs of IT security management. Most modern MFA solutions integrate seamlessly with existing IT infrastructure, including VPNs, cloud services, and local databases, so you don’t indirectly pay for issues like downtime or disruption to everyday workflows.  

Engage a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP)

One of the most challenging parts of cybersecurity on a budget is having a dedicated team of skilled security staff monitoring your environment. MSSPs provide enterprise-level security expertise and continuous threat monitoring without the overhead associated with building an in-house team. This is particularly valuable for businesses that can’t afford a sizeable dedicated security staff but face significant risks from cyber threats. An MSSP can help prioritize security actions, too, in addition to services like managed firewalls, intrusion detection, vulnerability scanning, and endpoint detection and response 

The costs associated with employing cybersecurity personnel—including salaries, benefits, ongoing training and the technology required to support their activities—can be substantial. These costs only increase in a market where security talent is in limited supply. MSSPs spread these costs across a broader client base, which allows them to offer security services at a scale that reduces individual costs for clients. This arrangement enables you to benefit from high-quality cybersecurity services at a fraction of the cost of maintaining an equivalent in-house team.  

MSSPs provide round-the-clock monitoring and immediate response to threats, which is something that most mid-sized businesses would find financially unsustainable to achieve on their own. After all, cyber threat actors don’t stick to a 9-5 schedule; threats can hit any time and from any place, and continuous monitoring and response are essential.  

Nuspire: A Leading MSSP

Nuspire leads the way in providing mid-size companies with security services that make their limited budgets go much further. We offer specific managed security services like dark web monitoring and vulnerability management. You can also opt for dedicated detection and response across your IT environment. And if it’s advice you’re after, check out our consulting services to help use your budget more wisely and allocate it to the threats that matter.  

Learn more here.  



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