Whenever my personal budget is down and I am concerned about tightening my belt I seem to always turn to fixing things in my home. While my wife would prefer that our household budget always be up rather than down, she seems happy when I suddenly begin completing half-done projects around the house. I look for those projects that don’t require much outlay of cash. Things that I do with existing supplies left over from previous projects. This usually involves some painting and general repairs and that sort of thing – nothing that requires a big purchase to get started.
Several things happen when I go through these phases. First, I get projects done that I hadn’t previously completed. Suddenly a cupboard door is working better, a hinge no longer squeaks, the chipped paint on the wall is repaired or the grout in the tile is finished. The other thing that happens is I have increased the value of my home. The return on my investment for those projects goes up simply by completing them. Finally, I have killed enough time that my financial situation has changed and my budget is better and I can go out and start a few more projects that may end up half completed over time.
After speaking with a number of the CISOs in my CSO Breakfast Club chapters I have learned that this year is going to be a year to “fix the squeaking hinge”. In other words, CISOs will be turning internally, focusing on ways to improve their programs with smaller budgets. Most of our members have told us they have seen drastic cuts to their budgets – to the point that many planned projects and procurements have been put on hold.
One CISO in particular, Dana Pickett from T Rowe Price, told me “My team and I are focusing on optimization this year. We are finding ways to streamline processes, more efficiently use our existing technologies and formalize processes and document procedures.” I think those are great ideas.
Below I have compiled a list of the top 5 things I am recommending to my colleagues and clients to do during this down economic period. Take a look. Perhaps some of these will work in your environment.