Let common sense guide security ROI

Monday, 20 October 2003, 11:42 AM EST

I got another letter from a reader the other day telling me that companies will always consider security a "grudge" spend, despite the increasing awareness of the need to protect our computers, networks, and information. Why? Because there's no demonstrable ROI for executives making purchase decisions.

I don't buy it. Granted, I'm not aware of a lot of formulas out there showing that if you purchase X amount of intrusion-detection systems you'll save X amount of money and increase revenue by X percent. How much value can you place on protecting proprietary business intelligence or customer information or intellectual property? How much value can you place on your company's reputation as one that is safe to do business with? Well, it's not a scientifically derived answer, but I'd calculate a heck of a lot of value.

An executive from a security vendor told me recently that part of the problem is that there are so many potential vulnerabilities, threats, patches, etc., that people often don't know how to prioritize. Good point. Here's something to consider.

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