The need for organizations to prove their relevancy in the digital age means unprecedented amounts of network traffic and data are being generated, and attack targets are expanding faster than ever. At the same time, adversaries are becoming increasingly sophisticated, creating cyber threats that are more intrusive and harder to detect. Gone are the days of building a business perimeter, simply sitting back, and feeling secure.
The risk exposed information poses for a business is a serious one, but there is another just as formidable problem that exists today: Many businesses only think of cybersecurity as an IT concern, not as a business risk requiring the same degree of board-level attention as any other. Organizations that aim to turn cybersecurity into business value are in a far better place to sustain growth, operate securely, and uphold customer trust. If you’re not there yet, here are some ways to get your cybersecurity working hard for your business.
Start with a Meeting of the Minds
When cybersecurity meets rather than defeats business, innovation and evolution are fueled. Successful organizations view the stuff required to secure information assets not as a drain on the business, but as a way of supporting digital offerings and a sound business model. Cybersecurity can be a powerful enabler for your business when it is an integral part of the corporate strategy and supported with the right culture, technology, policies, and performance measures, plus the understanding of how these things bring business value and return on investment.
Albeit, cybersecurity can be expensive. But when senior stakeholders across the business work together to clearly define specific risks and then prioritize them, you find out where to target spending to best protect the business. More than any leader a CFO understands the need to make risk-based decisions, so make sure this person is at the table.
Good governance and effective cybersecurity investment go a long way in minimizing cyber risk and promoting business success, as Cisco’s Cybersecurity as a Growth Advantage survey found. The 2016 survey showed that smart leaders see cybersecurity as both “a necessary cost of doing business” and a “competitive strategy that enables greater innovation.”
Focus on Business Impacts
A security incident can have significant and lasting effects for your entire business—loss of share value, legal action, and customer mistrust, just to name a few. Here again is why it’s important for business leaders and tech leaders to manage cybersecurity as a collaborative effort, and to not look upon it as merely a technology challenge.
Security breaches are often shortcomings in basic processes and policies. Allowing contractors access to restricted systems or not taking a broad enough approach to the monitoring of malicious activities are examples of oversights that can be costly to your organization as a whole. For this reason, it makes sense to view cybersecurity and risk through a business lens, and link them to business outcomes.
To do this, assess cybersecurity performance by aligning metrics to corporate strategy. Include business metrics in the assessment of cybersecurity in areas such as the evaluation of risk, and proof of competence in detecting and defending against attacks and remedying the root causes of problems to give senior leaders a more rounded understanding of performance. Measures of cybersecurity incidents in terms of cost and impact to business operations, and demonstrations of technology initiatives that have mitigated risk or enhanced performance, will reveal the business value of cybersecurity.
Establish a Cybersecurity Culture
Without a compelling reason to behave in a secure manner, employees often follow cues from those around them, which can fuel the risk of a data breach. Although a strong security culture can in part make up for a lack of business controls by prompting staff to do the right thing despite the environment, a poor culture will often override adequate policies.
When you implement initiatives such as user-awareness training to help non-technical personnel learn to identify potential threats and question insecure business processes, you make cybersecurity everyone’s responsibility. And when you encourage technical staff to engage with colleagues across the business, you help cultivate internal security talent and foster a deeper understanding of issues surrounding cyber risk. By establishing decision-making processes for staff and creating a security-minded workforce, you are more likely to be successful in defending against insider attacks, social engineering, and other security threats.
Keeping executives and employees engaged in the business value of cybersecurity requires steadfast commitment and communication reinforced by the CIO and technology team. Cybint Solutions is here to help with cyber education solutions to get everyone on the same page, speaking the same language about investing in your company’s protection.