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What is the cybersecurity “poverty line” and how can you avoid it?

Businesses divided by the cybersecurity poverty line

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There exists an unfortunate reality in the cybersecurity sphere, in that it’s a matter of what you can afford and what you can’t. This fracturing line creates a harrowing reality, that there are enterprises with the capital to protect themselves and those left to struggle in the wind. Some endearingly refer to this as the cybersecurity poverty line. And, just as those dealing with financial challenges, anyone in the cybersecurity poverty line will face immense difficulties too.

In essence, those at the top have the financial wherewithal to support a strong security posture and foster their own teams and infrastructure. The rest is just that.

The growing gaps

The separation widens between those “with” and those “without” due to a variety of factors. First, cybersecurity attacks have grown in both frequency and cost. Ransomware is a costly malware variant which can upend smaller businesses. Why? A lack of resources and backup operations, combined with the inability to either pay the attackers or fully recover from a breach event.

Why does this happen? One primary reason is that cybersecurity infrastructure is a heavy investment. It starts with teams and expertise, trained IT staff that understand cybersecurity policy and the means to execute it with comprehensive solutions. From consultants to support, the backbone of any good cybersecurity infrastructure is people.

However, staff shortages in cybersecurity careers are common, and hiring on experts and staff is a heavy investment. Businesses with less resources also cannot afford to build out their own teams. And, in case of staff loss, that’s a lot of time and money gone.

That’s only one of the problems holding an enterprise back, but it’s enough to put them at the cybersecurity poverty line.

Are you in the cybersecurity poverty line?

Even with the descriptions of what is categorized as fitting the CSPL, it’s important to analyze whether it’s true if one fits this definition. A company may fit these criteria, and yet think otherwise. It’s not a matter of immediately resolving it, since one cannot simply manifest money out of nowhere. But it can give you a peek into your enterprise’s potential vulnerability.

Lower Revenue and Profit Margins

Unsurprisingly, those in the CSPL lack the same revenue capacity as the big hitters. While smaller organizations still make profit, it’s not enough to invest in clandestine solutions for their cybersecurity woes.

Lack of Skilled Staff

A truly comprehensive cybersecurity strategy requires expertise and trained staff, as mentioned. Top companies possess teams with extensive backgrounds and experience dealing with various threats, while onboarding new hopefuls with impressive portfolios.

The rest still have knowledgeable staff, but in limited capacity.

Spare Capital

With enough financial resources, those at the top can afford to invest in new tech, staff, and versatile infrastructure to mitigate potential attacks. This includes investing in backup infrastructure and third-party solutions.

On the other hand, the CSPL means lacking the capable financial resources to invest at all.

Executive Decision Makers

In comprehensive cybersecurity models, those at the top typically have CISO officers and executive decision makers who lead the vanguard into full scale solution models. They’re the ones who can create the framework for a safer architecture, and bring in consultants for ideal security responses. A CISO officer can also manage full-scale operations, set aside staff, and decide cybersecurity budgets

The lack of financial resources means there’s no budget to have an established CISO.

Overcoming the “Line”

A common thread here is money, and “getting more” just isn’t a feasible answer. It’s possible, yes, an organization could double its profit margins, but if that was the case, the problems we’ve highlighted wouldn’t be mentioned at all.

But that still begs the question, what’s an enterprise to do? If they can’t afford the means to invest in robust cybersecurity architecture, are they doomed to fail? The good news is, not at all. While it’s still important to work towards strong cybersecurity solutions, several steps can be taken to work on internal weaknesses.

Think of it like a layered system. Strengthen each layer, and you can greatly enhance the defensive potential of your enterprise.

Provide Optimal Training

Staff need to have the resources and knowhow to readily spot threats. With phishing as one of the most common (and successful) avenues by which attackers operate, knowing what they look like is the difference between good and bad defenses.

Train your staff and maintain positive cybersecurity hygiene while recommending a positive, secure culture.

Implement Zero-Trust

Zero trust policies, aka “trust until verify,” is a simple and inexpensive way to create security barriers between attacks and precious data. While the verification process can take time to get used to, it’s worth it to avoid crippling cybersecurity downfalls.

Embrace Accessible Security Tools

When you do introduce security assets, tools, and software, the ideal framework should be both accessible and agile. In other words, it creates minimal friction between your current programs and is easy for staff to use, understand, and implement.

Seek out additional help

Even with the best intentions, strategies, and cost-effective tools, success isn’t always guaranteed. Without proper resources, attempting to set up comprehensive cybersecurity measures to avoid the poverty line will prove incredibly challenging.

Thankfully, you can always take advantage of third-party resources. Bytagig is an MSP that can help with all your major cybersecurity and IT concerns.

For more information, contact us today.

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