Re: The Return on Investment of Good Security

Adriel T. Desautels wrote:
While I understand and respect your point of view I disagree. If
you pay for quality security services you will probably avoid suffering
the damages of a successful compromise. If you avoid that compromise
then you never need to suffer damages and lose money as a result. I
suppose thats not really savings, but it does prevent loss.

Very true and I am not debating the need for asset protection, simply
the semantics of the term ROI in regards to security expenditures. I
just don't see how there is a return, simply a reduction of loss.
Obviously mitigating loss can amount to almost the same thing as
increasing value or increased earnings when we simply look at dollar
amounts on a +/- basis, but it is not earnings we are looking at which
is what ROI is focused on. Security is an expense justified to prevent
loss, it is not the same thing as generating additional revenue. I
understand that when project decisions are made we have to use similar
language as the "ROI guys" to get funding for competing projects, but
its not ROI.

If on the other hand you do not use a quality service provider then
you do run the very high risk of suffering a compromise. So then I'll
ask, how much are your assets worth? What is the value of your network,
its systems, your emails, your customer information, your source code,
etc? Is it worth more than $20,000, is it worth more than $50,000.00?
If it is then why would you choose the bunk security service over the
real one?

So the question really is, are your assets worth protecting Tony? If
you're interested I can prove my point about the differences in
quality. Have my team do a followup penetration test and allow us to
reproduce the threat that you'll likely face in the real world. We'll
probably get in, thank god we're the good guys right? Too bad most of
the bad guys are testing you better than most of the security providers
though. ;]

On Jan 3, 2009, at 10:20 AM, tony_l_turner@xxxxxxxxx wrote:

I've always felt that any attempts to calculate ROI for security
investments led to confusion. There really is no return on investment,
just mitigated or avoided risk. Its similar to buying insurance
(although that creates a certain amount of risk transference) but
either is a completely different scenario then buying a server or a
new DBMS that directly translates to increased transaction volume or
decreased contact times. ROI on security is a misnomer. It is an
attempt to justify security expenditures and while some sort of model
is needed to represent the impact for the investment and the returns
gained, ROI seems a poor choice.
------Original Message------
From: Adriel T. Desautels
Sender: listbounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: pen-test list
Cc: security-basics@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Jan 2, 2009 6:45 PM
Subject: The Return on Investment of Good Security

Latest blog entry for those who care. This one compares the Return on
Investment of good security services to the Return on Investment of
poor quality security services. As usual comments and criticisms are
welcome and appreciated.

Direct link as requested:

Adriel T. Desautels

Subscribe to our blog

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Adriel T. Desautels

Subscribe to our blog

Relevant Pages