Cybersecurity for the C-suite: Bridging the Gap between Business and Cybersecurity
In the business world, there is a common misconception that cybersecurity is purely a technical issue. However, this could not be further from the truth. The reality is that cyberattacks can have a devastating impact on businesses of all sizes, and it is essential for C-suite executives and board members to step up and collectively recognize cyber risks as a business risk and top priority.
In this article, I give you a glimpse of our book co-written with Shamane Tan and Hai Tran about the key responsibilities of C-suite executives and board members in order to better understand their role in uplifting the business’s cyber resilience. We also explore the traditional perception that cybersecurity is a complex and difficult topic, and explain why it is so important for non-cyber executives to have a basic understanding of these issues.
The first step to take is understanding that cybersecurity is not just a technical problem, but a business one as well. This means that the responsibility for managing cyber risks does not lie solely with the chief information security officer (CISO), but must be shared by all members of the C-suite. Each executive has their own area of expertise and focus, but they must all work together to ensure that the company is taking adequate steps to protect itself from cyber threats. A CISO can have the best security roadmap in the world, but if the CEO does not provide adequate funding or the CFO does not allocate resources efficiently, the roadmap is worthless.
The second step is recognizing that the traditional perception of cybersecurity as a complex and difficult topic is one of the main reasons why non-cyber executives have been hesitant to take on this challenge. While it is true that cybersecurity can be complex, it is not an insurmountable task. By working together and taking the time to educate themselves on the basics of cybersecurity, C-suite executives can develop the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively protect their businesses from cyberattacks.
The third step is managing cyber risks adequately. C-suite executives need to work with their board members to ensure that cyber risks are properly managed. One way to do this is by implementing a Cybersecurity Oversight Program (COP). The COP should include an annual review of the cybersecurity program by independent third parties, as well as regular updates to the board on progress made in implementing the roadmap.
Confusion between cyber threats and cyber risks is commonly the biggest mistake in the industry. Building cyber risk scenarios to understand better a cyber attack or a data breach consequence is the best approach to building an efficient and business-aligned cybersecurity strategy and roadmap. This roadmap should be designed to help the company identify and implement cost-effective, relevant, and adequate security controls. It should outline the steps that the company will take to improve its cybersecurity posture, as well as the resources that will be allocated to this effort. Additionally, the roadmap should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it remains relevant and cost-effective.
The cyber resilience roadmap needs to be cost-effective and relevant to the company. In order to be cost-effective and relevant, your cybersecurity program has to take into account four key areas:
- Governance and Organization
- People & Culture
If you want to learn more about each of these key areas, I encourage you to check out our book. In it, we dive deeper into each one of these topics and explain why they are so important for businesses to consider when building a strong cyber resilience foundation. We also provide guidance on how organizations can get started on uplifting their cybersecurity posture.
This roadmap should take into account the company’s size, industry, and risk appetite. The roadmap should also address the following key areas: governance, awareness and training, detection and response, and recovery.
Another way to ensure that cyber risks are managed effectively is by having a clear and concise incident response plan. This plan should be tested regularly and updated as needed. In the event of a breach, the incident response team should be activated immediately to minimize the damage and contain the breach.
Finally, businesses need to have a comprehensive cyber insurance policy in place. This policy should cover all potential expenses that may be incurred in the event of a data breach or cyber-attack, including but not limited to: notification costs, credit monitoring services, forensic investigation costs, legal fees, and public relations expenses.
By understanding the basics of cybersecurity and taking steps to manage cyber risks effectively, businesses can protect themselves from the damaging consequences of a data breach or cyberattack.
The fourth and last step is to never give up. The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, which means that businesses must be prepared to adapt their strategies and roadmap accordingly. It is also important to remember that even the best-prepared companies can fall victim to cyberattacks. However, by remaining vigilant and committed to protecting their business, C-suite executives can ensure that their company can weather any storm.
By following these steps, C-suite executives and board members can begin to take proactive measures against cyber attacks, instead of simply reacting to them after an attack has occurred. Cybersecurity is a business risk that cannot be ignored, and C-suite executives and board members need to step up and collectively recognize this fact. Only by doing so can they hope to protect their businesses.
If you are a C-suite executive looking to improve your company’s cybersecurity posture, we encourage you to check out our book. This book will demystify the traditional perception that cybersecurity is a technical problem, drawing parallels between the key responsibilities of the C-suite levels to line up with the mission of the chief information security officer (CISO). It includes tips and recommendations on how to start and continue our cyber resilience journey, and help businesses identify and implement cost-effective, relevant, and adequate security controls.
Building a Cyber Resilient Business: The cyber handbook for non-cyber executives
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Thank you for reading!
By Magda Chelly
Chief Security Officer | TEDx Speaker | Author & Keynote Speaker | IFSEC Global Top 20 Cybersecurity Influencer | Entrepreneur | PhD, S-CISO, CISSP, Cert SCI (General Insurance)
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