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How Not To Waste A Trillion Dollars On Cybersecurity

It’s budget season. As the current fiscal year comes to a close, business leaders everywhere will convene to discuss business strategy, opportunities and return on investment (ROI) while prioritizing next year’s budget spend. Amidst the planning and prioritization, it is a safe bet that IT organizations will renew their annual request for an increased budget allocation for security. After all, increasing cybersecurity spend will stop the attackers from compromising their infrastructure next year, right?

Cybersecurity Ventures recently predicted that global cybersecurity spending will increase steadily to exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021. But the news site also claimed that the cost of cybercrime around the world will rise to $6 trillion annually by 2021. Something seems wrong with any prediction that correlates increased spending on prevention with increased damages from successful penetration of those same defenses. That’s not because I disbelieve the numbers but because they show how truly broken the legacy approach to cybersecurity is. The industry has literally gone decades with no real improvement. How is this acceptable?

It is time we shined a light on the industry’s worst kept secret: Throwing more money at the problem simply does not keep attackers out or breaches from happening. It is a good bet both things will continue to happen. What’s more disconcerting to consider is that they have already happened and you just simply don’t know it yet.

Why The Math Doesn’t Add Up

The problem isn’t solely centered on technology, there have been many significant innovations in the cybersecurity industry in recent years. For many companies, the elephant in the room is treating security as only a technology problem. Just look at Facebook’s current situation. Modern-day CISOs have increasingly found themselves helpless to effect real change to secure an organization’s data and infrastructure because they lack the insight of the conditions that give rise to bad or risky behavior.

For instance, traditional IT security assumes everyone is a potentially malicious actor and therefore works to prove the guilt of someone who clicks suspicious links, visits dangerous websites or inappropriately accesses sensitive data. Not everyone is intentionally bad, but their behavior is a continuum that can change in an instant, especially when their identity is stolen. Even more basic, employees can make honest mistakes in today’s 24/7 culture. Pushing work-life balance to meet compressed deadlines, they may be too tired to recognize a phishing email compromising their credentials until after they clicked on it. What’s potentially more damaging, they could simply become disgruntled with their employer and decide to steal company data. – Forbes

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