CVE-2024-3400: PAN-OS Command Injection Vulnerability in GlobalProtect Gateway. Learn More

CVE-2024-3400: PAN-OS Command Injection Vulnerability in GlobalProtect Gateway. Learn More

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SpiderLabs Blog

Cost Management Tips for Cyber Admins

As anyone who has filled out an expense report can tell you, cost management is everyone's responsibility. Organizations must apply a careful balance of budget planning and expenditures that are in sync with the company's changing cash flows.

IT administrators understand the responsibilities of cost controls, but everyone has stories about surprises in operational costs they personally incurred or which came out of the blue: for example, storing an unusually large volume of logs in an AWS S3 bucket, powering up a large Azure virtual machine. 

 

What are some basic principles for monitoring operational costs?

So, here are a few questions you should ask when it comes to cost management as it relates to security operations:

  • Is there a clear, documented direction from management regarding the services that fall under Security Operations?
  • Do you have a method for mapping operations to costs?
  • Are there tools in place to automate and monitor these operations?
  • Is there alerting in place to provide warnings if costs are exceeded?

All cloud vendors provide cost-monitoring solutions, so it’s usually just a matter of using the resources they provide to responsibly monitor security operational expenses (examples will follow).

 

What steps can you take to monitor operational costs 

There are some basic steps to follow when it comes to applying effective cost monitoring to existing and new resources/services. Let’s take a look:

  • Before turning on a resource, understand the cost by reading documentation or consulting with the applicable vendors.
  • Get approval via a change management process that this service is authorized, and costs are understood by the necessary departments.
  • Carefully monitor all changes in units of hours, not weeks.
    - Use tools like Power BI to create detailed cost-tracking dashboards.
  • Tag all cloud resources so each can be searched and applied to budget tracking reports.
  • Create segmentation between resources by using subscriptions (Azure term) or Projects (Google term).
    - If possible, make each department and/or application owner responsible for the costs of their IT resources. This is accomplished in part using methods like resource tagging and subscriptions.

 

How can Security Operations Plan for Future Costs?

Cybersecurity is an ever-changing field, and keeping up with attackers requires frequent changes to an organization’s defense posture. These changes require a strong understanding of security architectures and a method for prioritizing security services based on risk and budgets available.

Here are some points for preparing for future security operations costs:

  • Know your cost calculators. All cloud vendors provide cost calculators, which may help with planning.
    - However, these calculators don’t help with everything, so it’s typical to spend time with your vendors to better understand their fees.
  • Look for security solutions that provide built-in cost estimators and tracking.
    - For example, Azure’s Defender for Cloud and Sentinel provide cost estimator reports.
  • Have a clear plan for showing management your needs.
    - Tools like Power BI can provide clear visualizations for presenting your needs.
  • Do a gap analysis - what you have vs what you need.
    - If you have a good understanding of security architectures, then presenting a gap analysis that shows missing security technologies can be very effective.
  • Consider a phased approach. Negotiate costs with vendors to allow for a phased approach so you can understand the costs and change control complexities before going all out with a new technology.
    - Many security vendors will want a long-term commitment and will negotiate accordingly. But often, a deep dive into a new technology is not cost-efficient until the staff is ready to use it. So, a smaller unit purchase may be a better first phase to get ramped up on the service and better understand costs vs value.

 

Summary

Keeping security operations costs under control is challenging, but good tools are available to help.

Planning budgets around ever-changing security tools requires good security architecture knowledge and the ability to prioritize security technology needs based on available funding.

 

References

 

About This Blog Series

Follow the full series here: Building Defenses with Modern Security Solutions

This series discusses a list of key cybersecurity defense topics. The full collection of posts and labs can be used as an educational tool for implementing cybersecurity defenses.

 

Labs

For quick walkthrough labs on the topics in this blog series, check out the story of “ZPM Incorporated” and their steps to implementing all the solutions discussed here.

 

Compliance

All topics mentioned in this series have been mapped to several compliance controls here.

David Broggy, Trustwave’s Senior Solutions Architect Implementation Services, was selected last year for Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award.

Operational Technology Security Maturity Diagnostic

 

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