It is a question that we often hear. Sorry, we don’t have a formula ROI=… to reveal.What ROI for a security audit The return on investment of penetration testing is complex to measure, but we are giving you 4 keys to demonstrate the financial benefits of pentest. Security is not only useful to avoid potential problems, it mostly creates value encouraging sales.

1/ Investing to avoid a loss or a higher future expense

Penetration tests are a preventive action. Pentests, by simulating realistic attacks of malicious hackers, enables to detect security flaws, technical as well as logic (this article explains more precisely what logic flaws are).

Resolving these vulnerabilities upstream allows to avoid potential data breaches or hacking, which, if they would happen, could need important immediate expenses: incident management, setting up temporary solutions, crisis communication…
Security incidents can also lead to a consequent loss of earnings if the continuity of services is interrupted or if business applications and data are inaccessible or lost.

Moreover, they can have long-term consequences more difficult to calculate (loss of commercial or confidential information, legal implication, deterioration of brand image leading to a loss of trust of users…).

Security audit does have a cost, but it is an investment for the global functioning of the company. Cybersecurity has indeed become a decisive factor for the good execution of activities.

2/ Differentiation with a secure solution

News related to cybersecurity did the headlines all along the year, from Coincheck in January to Facebook in October. Consequently, decision makers from all lines of activities are paying attention to this subject. Especially for purchases of BtoB digital solutions, security is a key element in the buying decision.

Being able to differentiate oneself from its competitors with a secure product (as a CRM software following the highest cybersecurity standards, or a financial application guaranteeing to its customers regular security audits) is a real advantage in the exchanges.

Communication about security, with precise elements, brings a real value to your digital solutions. Documents, as the ones we mention in the next paragraph, can be transmitted to your clients to prove your involvement for security, in order to win new contracts. In fact, it is not enough anymore to say that one is “secure”, it has to be demonstrated.

Attention! Communication about security has to be reasonable, proportionate to the risk and security level. It should not be forgotten the probability to attract hackers who would like to try the security, either for the personal challenge or because they wish to verify the real protection level…

3/ Documents to win new clients

Once penetration tests are finished, a security audit report is handed over. Confidential, this report resumes the tests conducted, the vulnerabilities found and remediation recommendations to implement. The digest of the report can be shown to clients, partners or insurers in order to prove your commitment to security.

It is also possible to receive an audit certificate or seals certifying that pentests were conducted. These documents can be included on your commercial proposals, on private space for your clients, on documents for your partners, on your public website… depending on your communication objectives.
Delivered by a third-party body (the provider doing the audit), they reinforce the trust of users in your solution and/or company.

Realising a pentest is then a commercial investment, just as technical or marketing investments. The ROI will be visible in signed contracts.

4/ Strengthening its intangible assets

    A/ Developing its brand value

Some companies only match with legal requirements or pass over “barriers” that their investors, partners, clients ask them (specific requirements or worries) …
Other companies choose on the contrary to launch voluntary a deepened effort for security, in order to have a brand value associating security with their other characteristics.

Certifications can be obtained to build and give credibility to this brand image, as ISO 27001, SOC 2 … Penetration tests are part of this action and improve the value of the whole enterprise.

A brand image leant on security allows you to be way ahead of your competitors. It pushes to visit a website, to get informed about a product or a service, etc. It reassures from the first contact between your clients and your enterprise.

In the current context of preoccupation of personal data, brands need to emit a global secure image. For any big brand, the slightest rumor of an online data breach can have a negative effect on sales.

    B/ Preserving its strategic data

Last but not least, companies store mainly their strategic and commercial data dematerialized. Its integrity and confidentiality are a source of value too often underestimated. They are part of immaterial assets of the enterprise, which security audits preserve, which then leads to reinforcing brand value.

To conclude, security audits bring many advantages to companies: they reduce risks, preserve and make the enterprise’s value grow. Even if there isn’t a dedicated formula to measure their return on investment, the positive impact on sales and success of a company is clear.