Companies spend more on cybersecurity but struggle to track expenses

Most companies do not know how effectively they are investing money to fight the cybersecurity threat, according to Optiv.

cybersecurity budgets approach

Cybersecurity budgets are increasing and cyber incidents are rampant, and yet only a small percentage of respondents have a formal approach to determining cybersecurity budgets, which can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities to address critical security gaps.

Lack of formal approach to cybersecurity budgets

Based on an independent Ponemon Institute survey, the report reveals a 59% increase in cyber budgets year-over-year. Additionally, 63% of organizations with more than 5,000 employees had an average of $26 million allocated to cybersecurity investments in 2024.

The report shows a significant rise in data breaches and security incidents, with 61% of respondents experiencing a data breach or cybersecurity incident in the past two years, and 55% of respondents experiencing four or more incidents in that timeframe. These numbers highlight the urgent need for organizations to further prioritize cybersecurity investments and strategies.

Only 29% of respondents say their organizations have cybersecurity insurance. 49% of respondents say they plan to purchase cybersecurity insurance in the next six months (23%) or in the next year (25%). 52% of respondents say it is highly difficult to purchase cybersecurity insurance because of the insurer’s requirements.

“Cyber incidents are not slowing down, which means organizations must work at a speed above those of the threat actors attacking their environments. As we see security budgets increasing, many organizations also recognize the need to make smart investments in process and governance assessments to ensure compliance,” says Jason Lewkowicz, EVP and chief services officer at Optiv. “Establishing a more consistent, strategic approach to security technology, process and people management will be essential for organizational risk management and resilience.”

Organizations overwhelmed by technology investments

While organizations are investing in more technologies, 40% of respondents believe they have too many, hindering overall effectiveness. By contrast, only 29% feel that they have the right number of tools. This underscores the need for a strategic approach to cybersecurity investment, focusing on streamlining existing tools and ensuring a seamless technology stack integration.

The top three areas of investment for 2024 cybersecurity budgets are internal security assessments (60%), identity and access management (IAM) programs (58%) and the acquisition of additional cybersecurity tools (51%).

Despite increasing budgets, only 36% of respondents have a formal approach to determining cybersecurity budgets. This lack of formal budgeting practices can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities to address critical security gaps.

The use of security orchestration automation and response (SOAR) technology is increasing, with 73% of respondents leveraging SOAR to automate incident response activities. This automation can help security teams respond more efficiently to threats.

Growing focus on AI and ML

AI and ML capabilities are another growing focal area for cybersecurity organizations looking for ways to accelerate their threat detection, prevention and process automation capabilities to keep up with threat actors who are also using these tools.

More companies are leveraging AI in the form of use and prevention:

  • 44% of respondents use AI/ML to prevent cyberattacks
  • 35% purchased use-case specific tools
  • 31% use existing tools
  • 34% use automated processes and audits

“Our independent research for Optiv reveals the positive steps organizations are taking to reduce risk, while also addressing the challenges they face in the evolving cyber threat landscape,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute.

“Part of the complexity organizations continue to face in dealing with threats is due to the number of ineffective technology tools. Recognizing this, IT professionals and senior leadership are becoming more cognizant of the importance in strengthening their security posture, resulting in the increase of cybersecurity budgets and allocating funds based on proven effectiveness in reducing security incidents,” added Ponemon.

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