The CISO’s Ultimate Budget Retention Playbook for 2023

April 24, 2023  Jeff B. Copeland

This comprehensive resource guide was compiled for cybersecurity leaders who want to secure or improve their budgets through the rest of this year and next.

In a recent Wall Street Journal-led panel discussion regarding Cybersecurity Management Strategy during economic downturns, 3 security leaders suggest prudent investment decisions will be crucial in order to meet demands for both budget and security.

Where will these cuts likely come from?

According to the panelists, leadership teams tend to make cuts in a few key departments first. CEOs will need to trim any area of the budget that fails to serve immediate priorities. Furthermore, leadership is likely to deeply scrutinize current investment decisions per department and determine clear value from each line item.

We work with CISOs every day on prioritization and justification exercises, preparing clear project roadmaps, and leveraging cyber risk quantification (CRQ) to secure the proper budget for personnel, tools, controls and infrastructure.

We’ve compiled a few resources and stories CISOs can learn from and leverage to help prepare you for your next budget battle.

How to prepare for and win the budget you need.

CRQ using Factor Analysis of Information Risk (FAIR) is uniquely designed to not only provide accuracy in determining the value of an IT security program, but to enhance decision-making accuracy around control investments.

Here’s a quick guide on 3 proven approaches to budget justification and a case study from a security team that identified an area of weakness within their environment: data loss via misaddressed emails containing sensitive information.

If you want to learn more about the controls evaluated, and their decision-making progress, check out the full story here.


How to Present Your Analysis to Leadership and the Board.

In order to win support from leadership, CISOs will need to pitch a win-win solution that solves for budget and control requirements, congruently.

Learn about how one CISO reversed a budget cut to preserve and maintain a key program using this effective CRQ-based ROI report.

This will also highlight report visuals, the team involved, the approach and process to securing this key win. Check out the full story here.


How to Leverage a Risk-Based Cybersecurity Program to Better Prioritize & Defend Control Investments.

In some cases, the budget will be decided with very little adjustments to spare.

This may mean accepting defeat, in some cases, or represent a perfect opportunity to proactively prepare for the hour when budget increases and defense investments are prioritized.

The best way to prepare accurately, is by leveraging a program that clearly organizes your valued assets, the inherent risks associated with these assets, and probability of these assets suffering a negative event within a clear timeframe.

Use this guide to help you understand how to begin this process with your team immediately.


3 Transparent Ways to Defend Your Budget

According to Deloitte's CFO Signals survey, many chief financial officers are feeling pessimistic about their company's financial outlook, with cost management being their top priority for 2023.

However, despite this, 79% of respondents plan to make new investments in digital transformation.

This poses a challenge for CISOs and other cybersecurity leaders, who will need to do more with less.

Luckily, there is a way for CISOs to demonstrate the effectiveness of their cybersecurity risk management programs that focus on compliance, ongoing maintenance, and exploring new projects.

Learn more about these 3 highly effective approaches to exploring new opportunities within a cybersecurity budget through prioritization and justification here.

Using Risk Treatment Analysis to Creatively Demonstrate Existing Control Value

An advantage of Risk Treatment Analysis with the RiskLens platform is the ability to create up to four comparisons in a single risk assessment, which saves time and reduces re-work. The report is customizable and reusable, allowing for efficiency and consistency in risk treatment options.

The RiskLens platform features the capability to easily provide a cost/benefit analysis for security investments. It also enables CISOs and other cybersecurity professionals to make informed decisions on which controls to invest in, and how to optimize security budgets.

You can use it as a powerful tool that provides objective, risk-based assessments for prioritizing and budgeting cybersecurity investments, or ask one of our experts to do it for you here.

How to Review Existing Cyber Risk Treatments and to Find Additional Budget Improvement Opportunities.

In this 30-minute introductory webinar, experts teach the power and flexibility of Risk Treatment Analysis, a decision-support strategy for comparing controls and other risk treatments in terms of risk reduction and return on investment.

In this webinar you’ll get clear examples, case studies, and LIVE instruction on how you can create a clear picture of which option most cost effectively meets your current needs, with reporting in dollar terms easy to communicate to decision makers.


Be Proactive. Create a Program that Secures Your Budget in Any Economic Environment.

Defending the budget is nothing new. In fact, it has become a crucial skill for cybersecurity leaders who want to run successful programs in a cyclical economy.

Use these resources to begin creating a plan that you can clearly communicate to your team, key stakeholders and, in some cases, the board.

RiskLens offers a full suite of budget prioritization and justification programs specifically for high-impact CISOs and cybersecurity leaders. Feel free to learn more about the RiskLens Platform analysis and reporting capabilities here, or learn about how we can execute a program for you, and get a head start on implementing a successful CRQ program today.