HBR – The Behavioral Economics of Why Executives Underinvest in Cybersecurity

Determining the ROI for any cybersecurity investment, from staff training to AI-enabled authentication managers, can best be described as an enigma shrouded in mystery. The digital threat landscape changes constantly, and it’s very difficult to know the probability of any given attack succeeding — or how big the potential losses might be. Even the known costs, such as penalties for data breaches in highly regulated industries like health care, are a small piece of the ROI calculation. In the absence of good data, decision makers must use something less than perfect to weigh the options: their judgment.

But insights from behavioral economics and psychology show that human judgment is often biased in predictably problematic ways. In the case of cybersecurity, some decision makers use the wrong mental models to help them determine how much investment is necessary and where to invest. For example, they may think about cyber defense as a fortification process — if you build strong firewalls, with well-manned turrets, you’ll be able to see the attacker from a mile away.

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Alex Blau

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