Outcome-based security can transform your Cybersecurity Strategy

In the constantly evolving and dynamic cybersecurity space, businesses often find themselves trapped in a reactive cycle, responding to crises one after another.

However, a paradigm shift towards outcome-based security can break this cycle, providing organizations with a proactive and progressive approach to align cybersecurity with business goals.

Reactive cybersecurity is no longer enough

Many businesses grapple with the reactive nature of traditional cybersecurity strategies, facing issues such as limited visibility into risks and incidents, difficulties in recruiting skilled professionals, and the wastage of time and resources. This reactive stance leaves organizations vulnerable and ill-equipped to address the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

The Promise of Outcome-Based Security

Outcome-based security offers a transformative solution, enabling businesses to connect cybersecurity efforts with specific business benefits. By adopting this approach, organizations can achieve a complete view of their risks and security maturity, gain competitive agility, manage costs more effectively, and, crucially, measure the value of their cybersecurity investments. The core idea behind outcome-based security is to provide every company with a defendable, governable, and sustainable level of control. While it's impossible to eliminate every cybersecurity challenge, complete visibility empowers organizations to reduce stress and work towards creating desired business outcomes.

The key benefits of an Outcome-Based Security strategy are as follows:

  • Alignment with business goals: Outcome-based security allows organizations to align cybersecurity initiatives with specific business outcomes. By clearly connecting security measures to tangible benefits, businesses can articulate the value of cybersecurity in terms that resonate with stakeholders, including the board and executive team.

  • Risk visibility and security maturity: This approach gives organizations a comprehensive view of their risks and security maturity. By understanding where vulnerabilities exist, businesses can prioritize efforts and resources to address critical areas and enhance their overall security posture. 

  • Competitive agility: Outcome-based security provides organizations with a competitive edge by allowing them to adapt quickly to changing threat landscapes. By focusing on desired outcomes, businesses can respond more efficiently to emerging challenges and stay ahead of potential threats.

  • Cost management: Managing costs effectively is a critical aspect of cybersecurity. Outcome-based security helps organizations allocate resources strategically by investing in measures that directly contribute to desired outcomes, avoiding unnecessary expenses on technologies or practices that do not align with business goals. 

  • Measurable value: Perhaps most importantly, outcome-based security allows businesses to measure the value of their cybersecurity efforts. By tying security initiatives to specific business benefits, organizations can demonstrate the impact of their investments and make informed decisions about future cybersecurity strategies.

Practical Steps for Implementing Outcome-Based Security

To successfully implement outcome-based security, organizations can follow key recommendations derived from Forrester's in-depth survey of cybersecurity and IT decision-makers:

  • Agree on business outcomes: Collaborate with stakeholders to define and agree on specific business outcomes. Map these outcomes to security investments, threat models, and security controls.

  • Provide clear communication: Clearly communicate how proposed security investments contribute to the agreed-upon business outcomes. Shift communications from technical jargon to explaining the specific benefits derived from each security measure.

  • Align priorities with desired outcomes: Regularly reassess security priorities to ensure they align with the desired outcomes. Recognize that achieving the highest level of maturity in every security area may not be necessary and focus efforts where they matter most. 

  • Adapt procurement and legal processes: Prepare procurement and legal teams for the shift to outcome-based security purchasing. Understand that vendor agreements may differ from traditional contracts, requiring a collaborative approach to address concerns early in the process.

  • Encourage collaboration: Recognize that security is a business enabler, not an isolated function. Engage with stakeholders from various departments to gather insights and ensure that security outcomes align with broader business objectives.

  • Optimize technology portfolio: Analyze the current security technology portfolio and eliminate tools that do not contribute to desired outcomes. Redirect spending towards technologies that align with the organization's cybersecurity strategy.

  • Implement continuous monitoring: Establish monitoring mechanisms to track agreed-upon metrics and demonstrate the effectiveness of security investments. Keep metrics simple to avoid overly focusing on measurement rather than achieving the desired outcomes. 

Outcome-based security represents a fundamental shift in how cybersecurity strategy can and should be implemented. It will empower businesses to move from a reactive stance to a proactive and progressive approach. By aligning cybersecurity efforts with specific business outcomes, organizations can not only enhance their security posture but also measure and communicate the tangible value of their investments. As cyber threats continue to evolve, adopting an outcome-based approach is essential for businesses aiming to stay resilient, competitive, and in control.

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Outcome-based security that serves business objectives is where every organization should be heading. And don’t just take our word for it. Join featured speaker Laura Koetzle, VP, Group Director at Forrester, and Christine Bejerasco, Chief Information Security Officer at WithSecure, for insiders’ look at why so many organizations are making the move to outcome-based cyber security. 

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