Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

5/15/2009
05:54 PM
50%
50%

Security Is Part Of The Cost Of Doing Business

Looking for ROI on a security investment is misguided -- how do you measure the cost of something that doesn't happen? But nothing happening is exactly the return you hope for when you invest in securing your business IT.

Looking for ROI on a security investment is misguided -- how do you measure the cost of something that doesn't happen? But nothing happening is exactly the return you hope for when you invest in securing your business IT.At bMighty's recent virtual event, bMighty bSecure: SMB Security On A Budget, much of the conversation swirled around costs, which makes sense given our current economic state. Just as at a face-to-face event, the interaction between the audience and the various presenters during the Q&A sessions yielded some sparks -- and was where much of the "cost" discussion occurred. During the Q&A for the Security Appliances session one response that particularly caught my ear.

Andrew Braunberg, research director, enterprise software and security, Current Analysis, responded to a question about how to measure the effectiveness of security investment by saying:

"That's the wrong way to look it. Security is never a return on investment argument, it's a TCO argument. Security is the cost of doing business. We're 20 years into the Web now and we all want the benefits of advances in communications and collaboration, but we don't want to pay the bill for it. Security is a cost of doing business. Don't try to sell this as return on investment, sell it as cost of doing business. That's much healthier way to look at it."

He's right -- gauging ROI when the desired outcome is the absence of an event is folly. The best-case return on a security investment is that NOTHING happens. Despite the inherent irony of preventing security failures, measurement is vital to success -- just measure differently. As Braunberg mentioned you should be looking TCO rather than ROI. I'll invoke the quote widely attributed to Peter Drucker, "What get's measured, get's done." If you don't apply some form of quantifiable rigor to how you allocate your budget, how do you know if you're spending too much or too little; the latter being the more perilous imbalance when it comes to security. Of course, measurement can run amuck and if you're looking to literally recoup your investment on security you may be chasing your tail.

It's really hard to quantify something not happening, but that doesn't mean it's a waste of time (or money). By way of example, I'll invoke a snippet of dialog from the 2001 David Mamet film "Heist" between Joe Moore (played by Gene Hackman) and Jimmy Silk (played by Sam Rockwell) discussing the planning of the titular heist.

Jimmy: "Why should it go sour?" ["it" meaning the planned heist] Joe doesn't respond Jimmy: "Was that such a stupid question?" Joe: "You ever cheat on a woman? Something, stand her up, step out on her?" Jimmy: "What?" Joe: "Ever do that?" Jimmy: "Yeah." Joe: "Did you have an excuse?" Jimmy: "Yeah." Joe: "What if she didn't ask? Was your alibi a waste of time?"

The point of course being that simply not using a contingency plan doesn't make developing one a poor use of resources. That's an obvious point with disaster recovery (another of the great sessions at bMighty bSecure), but what is security if not a contingency plan against inevitable threats.

The on-demand version of bMighty bSecure: SMB Security On A Budget is now available and I'd encourage you to check out any or all of the sessions and don't miss our next virtual event in October live.

Follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/benjamintomkins Follow bMighty.com on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/bMighty Add the bMighty gadget to your iGoogle page @ http://www.bmighty.com/tools/gadgets_google/index.jhtml Get bMighty on your mobile device @ http://mobile.bmighty.com

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Mobile Banking Malware Up 50% in First Half of 2019
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/17/2020
Exploits Released for As-Yet Unpatched Critical Citrix Flaw
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  1/13/2020
Microsoft to Officially End Support for Windows 7, Server 2008
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/13/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
[Just Released] How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
[Just Released] How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Organizations have invested in a sweeping array of security technologies to address challenges associated with the growing number of cybersecurity attacks. However, the complexity involved in managing these technologies is emerging as a major problem. Read this report to find out what your peers biggest security challenges are and the technologies they are using to address them.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7227
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
Westermo MRD-315 1.7.3 and 1.7.4 devices have an information disclosure vulnerability that allows an authenticated remote attacker to retrieve the source code of different functions of the web application via requests that lack certain mandatory parameters. This affects ifaces-diag.asp, system.asp, ...
CVE-2019-15625
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A memory usage vulnerability exists in Trend Micro Password Manager 3.8 that could allow an attacker with access and permissions to the victim's memory processes to extract sensitive information.
CVE-2019-19696
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A RootCA vulnerability found in Trend Micro Password Manager for Windows and macOS exists where the localhost.key of RootCA.crt might be improperly accessed by an unauthorized party and could be used to create malicious self-signed SSL certificates, allowing an attacker to misdirect a user to phishi...
CVE-2019-19697
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
An arbitrary code execution vulnerability exists in the Trend Micro Security 2019 (v15) consumer family of products which could allow an attacker to gain elevated privileges and tamper with protected services by disabling or otherwise preventing them to start. An attacker must already have administr...
CVE-2019-20357
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A Persistent Arbitrary Code Execution vulnerability exists in the Trend Micro Security 2020 (v160 and 2019 (v15) consumer familiy of products which could potentially allow an attacker the ability to create a malicious program to escalate privileges and attain persistence on a vulnerable system.