Cost-Efficient Cybersecurity for the Public Sector

How the Public Sector Can Optimize Its Cybersecurity Costs

According to the FBI, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, cyberattacks went up by an astonishing 400%. While both public and private institutions are targeted by cybercriminals, the public sector tends to be less prepared. According to research, 80% of government cybersecurity leaders say private-public partnerships are a necessity in order for the public sector to keep up with the constantly evolving and changing cyberthreats. The lack of sufficient funding is one of the main reasons public institutions find themselves in a more vulnerable position. 

With this in mind, how can public organizations increase their cybersecurity without breaking the bank? 

Balancing the costs and needs of cybersecurity

Cybersecurity can be improved on two levels: the system and employees. Both can be done with minimal spending if you know where to spend and where you can avoid cutting into your budget. 

On the system level

  • To increase the security of data, consider switching to a hybrid model. This means your data will be stored on a private cloud of a trusted third-party provider. You get the benefit of having a private cloud with your data being isolated from that of other organizations without having to invest in servers and maintenance.  
  • Automate threat detection. This will take a lot of the pressure of threat detection off your analysts and give them a chance to respond only to those threats that the system deems serious instead of sifting through an overwhelming number of possible threats. This also reduces the likelihood of missing an important threat. 
  • In fact, automation is your best friend when it comes to cost-efficiency in cybersecurity. Automate user access and user management to eliminate the threat of unauthorized access to data by employees and to more efficiently spot suspicious user behavior.
  • Keep the anti-malware software on all computers and various devices up to date. There is really no financial cost associated with it, but it makes a big difference to the level of security of your network.
  • Purchase a cybersecurity insurance policy. While this is an additional cost, the monthly payments pale in comparison to the costs of a successful attack.

On the employee level

The first and, by far, the most important step is to make cybersecurity training a regular habit. Train your employees on the basics of cybersecurity: how to spot phishing attempts, the importance of multi-factor authentication, etc. One of the easiest ways for hackers to infiltrate a network is through its users. You will be able to eliminate a huge amount of risk by educating your employees on responsible cyber behavior. In 2020, phishing alone accounted for 25% of successful data breaches.  

When it comes to hiring for your cybersecurity team, know the difference between different roles within this field and hire according to your needs. The cybersecurity skills gap and shortage already make hiring the right people a challenge. 70% of cybersecurity professionals claim that their organization is impacted by the cybersecurity skills shortage. Use your cybersecurity budget wisely by understanding the type of skills your organization requires.

  • Information systems security managers create and coordinate your cybersecurity plan. This person will be the go-to for making sure that the systems you have in place are the correct ones, up to date, and are in working order.
  • A security architect’s job is to anticipate weaknesses in your cybersecurity and fix them before criminals can take advantage of the opportunity.
  • Your network security engineer will focus on all your software and hardware needs, keeping them up to date and working with third-party vendors. This person will also maintain your firewall, VPN, protocols, etc.  
  • Depending on the size of the organization, a systems security administrator can do anything from managing software and network security to exclusively monitoring security protocols. They will also organize times for penetration testing and identify best practices for IT.
  • A computer security analyst will perform risk assessments, security audits, and continually combat any potential security risks. 

Remember, no organization is too big or small for cybercriminals to target.