Calculating ROI for Your Cybersecurity Project: How to Choose the Right Security Tools

CyVent Cybersecurity ROI

CISOs and Board members face a balancing act as they look to build out strong security programs. What tools are truly worth the investment versus the costs of a damaging cyber attack? Though well-known, the potential repercussions of a data breach are still alarming. By some estimates, cybercrime damages will reach $10 trillion by 2025, up from $4 trillion in 2021.


For both CISOs and Board members, a thorough cybersecurity strategy is a critical way to address business risk and promote business health and longevity. The risks at stake, in addition to regulatory scrutiny as well as compliance concerns - think GDPR - are motivating Boards to take a closer look, and they're turning to CISOs for insight. The challenge for CISOs is selecting the best tools from a sea of offerings and then working with the Board and senior execs to deploy them within the organization.

By calculating cybersecurity ROI, CISOs can quantify the value of a new security project to Board members, demonstrate the financial impact of the security budget and how it aligns with the business's overall strategic goals, and foster faster decision-making.


Calculating ROI for Cybersecurity

Calculating ROI for Cybersecurity

At a basic level, one way of calculating a company's cybersecurity ROI involves taking the average cost of an incident and multiplying that number by how many incidents a business might experience in a given time frame. With an approximation of potential expenses, companies can then assess whether the price of the solution and the reduction in incidents it will bring is worth the investment.

Of course, many more factors come into play, which is why calculating cybersecurity ROI is notoriously challenging. The equation also has to represent issues at stake beyond dollars and cents, including potential loss of intellectual property, loss of reputation, and business disruption. There are numerous formulas for calculating cybersecurity ROI, and much research has been done on the subject. How to Measure Anything in Cybersecurity Risk by Douglas W. Hubbard and Richard Seiersen is a good example and a highly recommended resource for an in-depth exploration.

The bottom line is that breaches are expensive. Calculating cybersecurity ROI starts a conversation about whether investing money upfront to prevent a major disruption outweighs the small probability of a significant breach and its ensuing costs.

However, let me propose that many ROI calculators on the market may not be worth your executive time. Would you be intrigued or incredulous?

Identifying Cybersecurity Metrics

Identifying Cybersecurity Metrics

False Alerts

Let's reframe the perception of false alerts. Rather than dismissing them as mere nuisances, consider this: what if these false positives are draining your resources like slow, incremental financial leaks? According to the Ponemon Institute, false positives cost enterprises an average of over $1.3 million in lost revenue annually. If you are not tracking this, you are essentially ignoring a significant six-to-seven-figure problem.

Critical Alerts

Critical alerts for security breaches are often easy to prioritize but hard to cost-justify, often falling into the "priceless" category. However, are they truly priceless? According to IBM, identifying and containing a data breach takes an average of 277 days. What cost opportunities are being missed during this timeframe?

Cost Efficiencies: Moving from False to Critical Alerts

The cost-benefit analysis around alerts often remains rudimentary. Have you considered how much it costs to resolve false alerts, both in the money saved in terms of labor hours and opportunity cost? Conversely, how cost-effective are your incident response measures for critical alerts? Understanding this data is a fundamental aspect of any meaningful ROI conversation.

Where to Find ROI Calculator for Cybersecurity

Where to Find ROI Calculator for Cybersecurity

Evaluating Metrics to calculate Cybersecurity ROI is important, but so is the calculator that doesn't generate generic numbers or require a degree in divination to interpret in any actionable way. However, there are calculators specifically designed for the C-suite, considering the uniqueness of your industry, security posture, and amount of critical/false alerts.

Look for the CyVent Cybersecurity ROI Calculator developed by CyVent's leadership team that incorporates False and Critical Alerts. A properly calibrated ROI calculator can offer you data points that are quantitative and highly qualitative in value, providing actionable insights for enterprise board-level strategy discussions.


Benefits of Calculating Cybersecurity ROI

Benefits of Calculating Cybersecurity ROI

Implementing a cybersecurity protocol and calculating its ROI has been proven to have substantial benefits.

According to a recent study conducted by security leaders IBM, it is projected that the average cost of cyberattacks will soar to an astonishing $4.45 by 2023, reflecting a significant 15% increase over the past three years.

Moreover, an alarming 51% of organizations are actively planning to fortify their security investments in response to breaches. These investments will encompass a range of measures, including comprehensive incident response (IR) planning and testing, robust employee training, and the implementation of advanced threat detection and response tools.

These figures underscore the importance of investing in cybersecurity measures and, with ROI calculations, comes a risk assessment and management, helping businesses understand the comprehensive value these security measures bring in preventing colossal damages.

Remember, Calculating ROI benefits are not standalone – they intertwine and amplify each other, creating a comprehensive, robust cybersecurity framework.

Understanding the Value of Cyber Tools

Organizations often find themselves inundated with many cyber tools and solutions in today's complex cybersecurity landscape. With vendors constantly pitching new offerings to address emerging threats, it becomes crucial for CISOs to evaluate and justify the value of these investments. Calculating cybersecurity ROI provides a systematic approach to determining the worth of a particular tool or solution in the context of an organization's unique security environment.

Evaluating and Prioritizing Security Solutions for Risk Management

With numerous options available, CISOs face the challenge of deciding which security solutions to invest in. By calculating ROI, CISOs can objectively compare different options and have the proper security control. A comprehensive ROI analysis considers factors such as the total cost of implementation, anticipated risk reduction, and the impact on operational efficiency. This evaluation process enables CISOs and security teams to prioritize security solutions based on their expected return on investment.

Achieving Peace of Mind and Problem Resolution

One of the key goals of calculating cybersecurity ROI is to provide CISOs with peace of mind and problem resolution. By understanding the potential value of a security solution, CISOs can make informed decisions about which problems it will solve and the level of peace of mind it will provide. Effective cybersecurity investments mitigate the risk of cyber threats or data breaches and contribute to operational stability, data protection, and regulatory compliance.

Communicating Cyber Risk to the Board

For CISOs, effective communication with the Board is crucial. Security Executives hold increasing responsibility for cybersecurity decisions, considering the regulatory, reputational, and business risks involved. Calculating cybersecurity spending enables CISOs to articulate the reality of cyber risk and provide the Board with the necessary information to make informed decisions. By presenting ROI figures, CISOs and Security analyst can highlight the financial risk and strategic implications of various cybersecurity investments, strengthening their ability to advocate for effective security measures with an appropriate, in-house security team and budget.

Aligning Cybersecurity with Overall Business Strategy

To gain board support and secure adequate resources, CISOs must align cybersecurity with the overall business strategy. Calculating ROI allows CISOs to demonstrate how the cybersecurity budget contributes to the organization's increased efficiency in protecting data, preventing cyberattacks, and complying with the latest regulations. By quantifying the potential return on investment, CISOs can showcase the value that effective cybersecurity measures bring regarding brand reputation, customer trust, and operational resilience. This alignment enhances the Board's understanding of cybersecurity as integral to the organization's strategic objectives.

Embracing Security Tools with Proven ROI

The Importance of a Layered Security Approach

Layered Security Approach

Understanding the Attack Surface

You must be familiar with the concept of a layered security approach. However, it's crucial to consider that not all layers are equally effective. It's not just about having multiple layers; it's about having intelligent layers that actively learn from each other. Each layer must adapt and communicate in real-time to ensure effectiveness with the ever-expanding attack surface.

Recent Advancements in Cybersecurity Technology

As technology evolves, so do the threats. Enter AI-powered threat detection, behavioral analytics, and predictive modeling. These technologies are not mere buzzwords. They have demonstrated remarkable ROI by significantly reducing both breach instances and dwell time, the duration that threat actors have unauthorized access to your system.

The Power of Cybersecurity Artificial Intelligence

Power of Artificial Intelligence

AI for Incident Reduction

Have you ever considered that AI could be your cybersecurity cost-saver? Predictive analytics and machine learning can significantly improve risk management and decrease the number of security incidents, too. Remember, every incident you prevent translates to saved dollars and, potentially, a protected reputation.

AI vs. AI: Staying Ahead of Attackers

This is not a scenario from science fiction; it is the reality of cybersecurity today. We are moving towards a world where it's AI against AI. If threat actors leverage AI to create more intelligent attacks, your AI-driven solutions must be even smarter, faster, and continuously adaptable.

The Efficiency of Automation

Efficiency of Automation

Streamlining Incident Management

Automation is not about replacing human expertise; it's about enhancing it. Incident management becomes effortless when mundane tasks are automated, allowing your IT teams to focus on complex issues that require human intuition.

Boosting Productivity in IT Teams

Imagine what your skilled IT teams can achieve when freed from routine tasks. Automation brings impressive ROI through cost avoidance, significantly reducing the time spent on incident responses and enabling your team to concentrate on strategy and innovation.

Reach out to our team

The cybersecurity landscape is genuinely complex. At CyVent, for example, our mission is to support CISOs as they select and sort through the different offerings on the market. Calculating cybersecurity ROI helps prepare for the coming environment where the fight will be AI vs. AI, and companies that do not have the appropriate AI talent and tools may be at a disadvantage.

We're just an email or a phone call away, eager to provoke your thoughts and arm you with the tools to preempt more and remediate less.

Get in touch with our team.