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  • Komodo Research

How Much Should You Spend on Cybersecurity? A Rough Guide for Management, Board, or You

Confused About Cybersecurity Costs? Get a Budget-Friendly Plan
Confused About Cybersecurity Costs? Get a Budget-Friendly Plan

Last week I met with a Director of a European Bank.

A question he asked me was "How much should we spend on Cyber Security"?

As there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, I will try to break it down:

  • Small Businesses (1-50 employees)

  • Medium Businesses (51-500 employees)

  • Large Businesses (500+ employees)

  • Enterprise Level (5000+ employees)

Small Businesses (1-50 employees): Secure Your Startup/ SMB/ SME

  • Budget: Allocate 5-10% of your IT budget to cybersecurity. Yes, it’s worth every penny!

  • Staffing: Hire a part-time cybersecurity consultant or a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP). Think of it as your digital bodyguard.

  • Tools: Basic but essential – firewalls, antivirus, secure backups. Simple but powerful.

  • Pen Testing: Start with annual penetration tests. Find the cracks before the bad guys do.

  • Training: Annual crash courses for your team. Cybersecurity 101: Don’t click on weird links!

Medium Businesses (51-500 employees): Step Up Your Game

  • Budget: Allocate 10-15% of your IT budget. You’re growing; so should your security.

  • Staffing: Small in-house team (2-5 pros) or a mix of in-house and MSSP. You need specialists now.

  • Tools: Upgrade to IDPS, EDR, and SIEM systems. Fancy acronyms, serious protection.

  • Pen Testing & Red Team: Conduct bi-annual penetration tests and Red Team exercises. Think of it as digital boot camp.

  • Training: Regular, hands-on training. Phishing simulations and incident response drills – make it fun!

Large Businesses (500+ employees): Go Big on Security

  • Budget: Allocate 15-20% of your IT budget. Big business, big targets, big defenses.

  • Staffing: Full cybersecurity department. CISO, analysts, incident responders – assemble your Avengers.

  • Tools: Full suite: threat intelligence, APT defenses, regular pen tests, and Red Team exercises. Cover all bases.

  • Pen Testing & Red Team: Conduct quarterly pen tests and Red Team drills. Treat it like your digital war games.

  • Training: Continuous learning and regular security culture programs. Cybersecurity is everyone’s job.

Enterprise Level (5000+ employees): Fortify the Fortress

  • Budget: Allocate 20%+ of your IT budget. Global scale requires global security.

  • Staffing: Robust, multi-tiered team. SOC, threat hunters, compliance – you name it, you need it.

  • Tools: AI-driven detection, zero-trust architecture, risk management. Go all out.

  • Pen Testing & Red Team: Conduct monthly pen tests and Red Team operations. Stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

  • Training: Continuous professional development and regular Red Team fun. Keep sharpening that axe.

Bonus Tips

  1. Regulatory Compliance: Follow the rules – GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS. Keep the regulators happy.

  2. Risk Assessment: Regular check-ups. Know your weak spots and fix them.

  3. Incident Response: Plan, drill, repeat. Be ready for anything.

Practical Steps

  1. Risk Assessment: Find your weaknesses. Know thy enemy.

  2. Cybersecurity Plan: Strategize. Write it down. Stick to it.

  3. Regular Reviews: Stay updated. Adapt to new threats.

Invest in Cybersecurity. Protect your business. Secure your future. Be a hero, not a victim.


The recommendations provided are based on best practices and general guidelines from reputable sources in the cybersecurity industry, including:

  1. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

  2. Gartner

  3. Ponemon Institute

  4. SANS Institute

  5. (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study

  6. Forrester Research

  7. Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)

  8. International Data Corporation (IDC)

  9. Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report


Explore Essential FAQs on Cybersecurity Spending.
Explore Essential FAQs on Cybersecurity Spending.

FAQs on the Cost of Cybersecurity

1. What's the average cybersecurity budget for a small business?

Aim for 5-10% of your IT budget. Prioritize basic tools (firewalls, antivirus) and annual penetration testing. Consider a part-time consultant or Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) for additional support.

2. How much should a medium-sized company spend on cybersecurity?

Allocate 10-15% of your IT budget. Invest in advanced tools (IDPS, EDR) and build a small in-house security team (2-5 specialists) or leverage a combination of in-house and MSSP expertise.

3. Do I need managed security services for my enterprise?

Yes, for enterprises (5000+ employees), MSSPs are crucial. They offer a wider range of expertise, threat intelligence, and real-time monitoring to handle complex security needs.

4. How can I secure my business from cyberattacks?

There's no silver bullet, but a layered defense is key. At KomodoSec, we recommend a multi-pronged approach. Invest in essential cybersecurity tools, train your employees to be vigilant, conduct regular security assessments to identify and fix weaknesses, and have a well-defined incident response plan to minimize damage if a breach occurs.

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