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9 Mistakes Businesses Make When Investing in Cybersecurity

The digital world is fraught with danger, and every organization’s budget must include cybersecurity tools and training. But, companies often fall into the trap of spending lots of money on cybersecurity solutions that don’t actually serve the organization's purposes.

To help you avoid unnecessary expenses, we've compiled a list of common mistakes we've seen businesses make when investing in cybersecurity solutions. Here are nine things you shouldn't waste your money on:

 

1. Premium "kitchen-sink" solutions

Avoid investing in overly expensive security solutions that boast a surplus of unnecessary features. It’s always tempting to pay a little more for a pack of bonus features. That's human nature. But if the product doesn’t have fundamental protections that focus on your organization’s specific needs, it’s not the right choice. Instead, opt for options that prioritize the essential security features your business requires. Ultimately, that not only saves money, but also streamlines cybersecurity efforts.

2. Generic training

Generic cybersecurity training programs that provide a one-size-fits-all approach are bound to overlook specific risks your organization faces. We recommends prioritizing specialized training that equips your team with the knowledge and skills to tackle the unique challenges they may encounter by role and by business function. Customized knowledge is the key to effective protection—by tailoring the training to your organization's specific needs, you empower your employees to become proactive defenders against cyber threats.

3. High-end hardware

Examples of high-end hardware in the cybersecurity realm include enterprise-grade firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, advanced routers and switches, specialized cryptographic hardware, and powerful servers. While these can offer robust capabilities, it's essential to assess whether investing in such equipment aligns with your organization's specific security needs.

In many cases, businesses may find that more cost-effective hardware options provide adequate security features without the hefty price tag associated with top-of-the-line solutions. Sometimes a $10 physical lock is the answer!

4. Unnecessary insurance policies

Cyber insurance is beneficial for many organizations. (Learn more in our Guide to Understanding Cybersecurity Insurance.) For other organizations, like smaller businesses or those that outsource IT, cyber insurance provides too much coverage (and expense) for the org’s realistic risk profile. As threats and insurance costs rise, larger organizations that do want to invest in cyber insurance should be aware that policies often don’t cover common and expensive threats like ransomware—so be aware of what you’re really getting for the price of your premium.

An AI generated image of a woman with a laptop, covered by an umbrella as it rains

5. The latest security technology hype

When it comes to cybersecurity, a proven track record outshines innovation. New products are exciting, but established and battle-tested security solutions have undergone rigorous testing and refinement and demonstrated their ability to protect against known threats. These established solutions also have a more extensive support network, with reliable documentation, expert forums, and knowledgeable user communities that make maintenance cheaper.

While it's important to stay informed about emerging technologies, it's equally crucial (and cost-saving) to balance the allure of innovation with the need for reliability and efficacy.

6. Solutions that don't integrate well

Everyone has experienced a Frankenstein’s monster of patchwork tooling that doesn’t all quite go together. For a cybersecurity solution to work effectively, it needs to fit seamlessly with a business’s existing infrastructure. Solutions that don’t integrate well risk further expenses, either in the form of continually buying new products to cover gaps between the initial system and the new one, or by introducing greater risk in parts of the infrastructure that don’t connect well to the security product.

7. Solutions misaligned with business goals

Investing in cybersecurity solutions that don't align with your business strategy can be costly. Misaligned solutions result in unnecessary expenses, straining your budget and diverting resources from critical areas. By selecting solutions closely aligned with your business goals, you can integrate security measures seamlessly, optimize operations, and make targeted investments to address specific security challenges.

Aligning your security strategy with your broader vision ensures efficient resource allocation and maximizes return on investment. Remember, effective security solutions should safeguard and empower your business simultaneously.

8. Premature AI cybersecurity solutions

While AI technologies offer advanced cybersecurity capabilities, they’re most effective when built upon a solid foundation of well-established security practices. Investing in AI solutions before mastering the basics can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities to address fundamental vulnerabilities. It's crucial to prioritize establishing robust policies, training programs, and infrastructure that address core security needs before exploring the benefits of AI.

9. Any security solutions, without considering user experience

Simply dropping new security solutions onto a team rarely yields good results, especially if the solutions counter existing organizational culture. For example, implementing a complex and rigid security framework might offer robust protection, but it could also impede employees' ability to collaborate effectively and slow down critical business processes.

Solutions with clunky interfaces or steep learning curves, meanwhile, can hinder productivity, decrease employee morale, and can even increase risk vulnerability as people struggle to learn a system. Change management is vital to enhancing efficiency, empowering employees, and minimizing workflow disruptions—all things that save money.

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Ultimately, cybersecurity investment advice boils down to this: Make it personal. One-size-fits-all is almost always almost a fit. Tailored, cherrypicked systems aligned with your company's needs and mission, people-focused change management, and comprehensive training are the keys to creating a robust, long-lasting cybersecurity movement within the org.

By avoiding these common pitfalls and making smart investments in cybersecurity, you can fortify your organization against digital threats without breaking the bank. To stay ahead of the ever-evolving cyber landscape and the advent of AI cybersecurity, start with a Future State of Cybersecurity Workshop. It's an opportunity to equip yourself with the knowledge and vision needed to protect your business now against what’s coming next - including a discussion around AI cybersecurity.

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