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    What you'll read:

    • The challenges and benefits of resource optimization. 
    • How resource optimization helps your team stay agile and adaptable in a changing economy.
    • Steps to start your resource optimization strategy. 


    As we settle into the new year, the state of our economy is likely changing. While some experts predict the economy will improve in 2024, others forecast slow growth. Regardless of what the economy looks like, optimizing your resources will help your organization improve efficiency, save costs, and show ROI. 

    What does resource optimization look like in 2024? It'll mean being intentional about the tools and assets that provide value and understanding when to eliminate excess. While the benefits don't come without challenges, we've outlined the steps to create a practical resource optimization strategy that will be essential for cybersecurity and IT resource management in any economy. 

    Why you need to maintain a lean resource toolbox  

    Over the last few years, we've seen a tumultuous economy rock nearly every sector, including cybersecurity, which had more than 110 cybersecurity companies make cuts since the beginning of 2023. After enduring a hectic 2023, it's clear that the days of overspending and over-hiring are over, and IT and security leaders now must evaluate their existing tools and assets to understand deployment, usage, and value better. Being more intentional about resources and overall spending will be critical to tackling challenges including: 

    • No matter what the economy looks like, the skills gap will exist: With skilled IT and security professional shortages still predicted to impact organizations in 2024, there isn't enough talent to efficiently manage high-volume security programs and ongoing cyber threats. 
    • More tools mean more security gaps: Though it may seem that the more solutions there are in your toolbox, the more prepared you are, that's not always the case. Adding more solutions to your tech stack not only increases complexity, but creates security gaps and vulnerabilities in your attack surface. 
    • Data privacy regulations are increasing: As states and federal agencies introduce new cybersecurity rules and regulations, efficiently conducting audits and correlating data will be essential to staying compliant. 

    The challenges and importance of resource optimization in cybersecurity

    Resource optimization is an increasingly important component in team efficiency, effectiveness, and cost savings. Putting a renewed focus on resources and dollars spent, including identifying cost inefficiencies, can help IT and security teams discover where hidden costs lie, decrease overall spending, and shift unrealized spending from assets or resources that aren't being used or showing ROI. However, it's easier said than done. Resource optimization can take time, especially when teams are already strained trying to focus on high-priority projects.

    • Working with owners or administrators takes time: Teams often work in silos, so trying to understand the context of a resource and identify what tools aren't being used or optimized can be a lengthy process. This is especially true in larger organizations. Aligning resource and tool priorities can be a painstaking process, but a BISO can be a valuable asset to help start and accelerate resource optimization discussions.
    • Resource usage may differ: Different business units may use a tool or asset differently to achieve a particular goal or solve a pain point, but efforts can often be duplicated.
    • Lack of resource visibility: You can't use what you don't know exists. Without insight or comprehensive, real-time data into every asset deployed and used, costs can quickly skyrocket due to duplicated, overlapping, or simply forgotten-about resources.

    Four steps to optimize your resources

    While the challenges may be intimidating, the benefits of resource optimization alleviate them. Using tools and assets efficiently helps to eliminate unnecessary costs, increase productivity by reducing manual or duplicated efforts, and improve risk mitigation. And with major events like the Great Recession often spiking cybercrime, taking proactive steps to stay agile and adaptable in resource planning can help teams efficiently navigate an ambiguous economic outlook. These steps can help kick-start your resource optimization strategy and get your team on track:

    Assess your current resource environment

    This means evaluating your hard costs, like equipment or software licenses, and soft costs, which include manual processes and human capital, to get a comprehensive understanding of what resources your team or organization has. 

    Identify inefficiencies

    After understanding your resource environment, identify where inefficiencies lie. Inefficiencies could mean spending too much time on low-value manual tasks or hidden costs from excess software licenses or seats, tools that relieve the same pain points, or outdated or forgotten infrastructure. 

    Determine which resources align with your goals

    It can be easy to think every tool will help your team advance, but too many resources can result in convoluted processes. Consider which tools or assets efficiently and effectively help your team do their job when determining which resources need to go or stay. Consider automating where you can to reduce inefficiencies and allow your team to focus on strategic and high-value tasks. 

    Measure resource ROI

    If the shiny new tool isn't providing value or showing ROI, then it's probably time to say goodbye. By measuring resource ROI, you can get an accurate and data-driven view of the best resources for your team's unique needs and goals. Consider assessing and aligning your Key Performance Indicators with resource ROI measurement to get an idea of what's valuable or not. 

    Having complete asset visibility and inventory across your cyber landscape can help your team stay agile in any economy. By creating proactive strategies to optimize your resources, your team can work efficiently, respond to incidents quicker, and decrease costs. 

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