Despite the increase in cyberattacks in recent years, few companies still commit to in-house cybersecurity investments. The paradox then comes from organizations that sell cybersecurity solutions to third parties, but their internal systems are dated or deficient. Digital exposes our data to great risk, and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) should raise awareness among leaders on this issue where prevention is definitely better than cure.
4 aspects to focus on convincing leaders to invest in cybersecurity
Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and CISOs are well aware of improper corporate data protection risks. However, when they have to explain them to a company’s leaders or managers, they often mistake using complex terms or dwelling on the technical part at the expense of the practical part. In the implementation part, the benefits to the company in terms of economics and business impact are evident. This is why it is important to take action from the first presentation of a Cybersecurity solution.
1. Clear and engaging communication
When we sit around a table, whether it is an internal meeting with the cybersecurity department or whether the expert is an outside consultant, we must establish a relationship of trust. Especially if we decide to outsource the protection of a company’s most important value: confidential data and information. The person speaking will need to convey trust first through nonverbal communication and then a concrete, clear and comprehensive presentation. Cybersecurity software is not a one-time product but a lasting solution. Therefore, the relationship that is established between the team and the executives must be strong.
The CEO, or their decision-maker, does not want to listen to a monotone talk about the qualities of a solution or technical aspects that they do not know how they will affect the entire organization. The slides or material created for the meeting should be tailored to the potential customer using his data and internal processes.
Better if, instead of cold data and statistics, a story (storytelling technique) is used to lower that reality into a hypothetical risk situation. Taking, for example, a cross-departmental figure, one can simulate a hypothetical hacker attack during usual activities. Showing how easy it is to be fooled by an email that simulates internal conversations makes the danger concrete.
2. Cyber everywhere: show all sectors involved
Whether the company has an in-house IT security department or relies on an outside consultant, this solution will involve all departments and employees. The leader must understand that cyber risk management strategy is not the sole responsibility of the IT department. Confidential and sensitive data affect the entire company, and it is not enough to implement software.
You have to train employees and show them the possible threats and what to do when an attack alert appears. But also how to enable protection on some data and exclude others. In short, technology offers opportunities and facilitates the process, but protection needs responsible behavior and an awareness that every employee will have to achieve.
What will be the key element that every entrepreneur will want to know? Right after the economic investment is made, time is another crucial variable. If I have to involve all departments, I want to know how long they will have to pause their activities, how long the training will last, but also what the impact will be on the entire business ecosystem.
Having emphasized that cybersecurity risk management strategy involves all departments and not just IT, it is useful to further explore how technological innovations are affecting our companies and society in general. To delve deeper into these topics, I recommend reading the book ‘Toward a Post-Digital Society: Where Digital Evolution Meets People’s Revolution’, which provides an in-depth analysis of the impact of digital technologies on our awaiting future.
Convincing leaders to invest in cybersecurity requires focusing on clear, comprehensive, and personalized communication. Click To Tweet
3. Outline the cybersecurity ecosystem and the business skills required
Addressing digital threats requires the creation of a true cybersecurity ecosystem that incorporates technology, financial investment, organization, and human resource skills. In order to make decisions involving a high degree of accountability, leaders will need to ensure that there is cross-sector collaboration.
Spreading a culture that is attentive to corporate security means thinking along these lines in both the strategic and tactical phases, reserving a part of each sector’s planning for cybersecurity. The consultant or an internal CISO will need to help leaders understand that to create an ecosystem that works. It is necessary to move from awareness of adequate data protection to a security culture.
It will, therefore, be necessary to draft a Cyber Risk Assessment that:
- identifies the areas of greatest risk;
- provides specifically designed solutions for data protection;
- detects any bugs or threats;
- and defines the Cyber Emergency Response Plan, i.e., how to respond to attacks and procedures for data recovery.
To bring this process back to all company areas, it will be necessary to train resources based on their activities and provide them with the required skills to proceed independently by incorporating security techniques into their tasks.
4. An explanation of the financial commitment required and the impact on business
The real focus of the meeting is the financial part of the investment to be undertaken and the data showing the impact such an implementation would generate in the company. Managers and board members need to know all the variables that affect the risks and opportunities related to security to understand the operation’s real value.
In addition, it will be critical to know the time frame for action so that funding is adequate and timely. In the exposition, CISOs will need to highlight:
- metrics useful in protecting information, monitoring systems, and verifying human behavior;
- proactive measures that will mitigate any threats;
- long-term strategies, including objectives, technology and service investments, and return on investment (ROI);
- impact of the implementation on internal procedures (installation time, training, and how it will change business operations)
- what the operational, management, and maintenance costs will be over time.
If leaders fully understand the severity and risks of a cyber attack in their company, they will listen carefully to this phase. Indeed, losing customer data and stopping production or operations because of a systems attack are significant image and economic costs, and few companies are willing to take these risks. If they do, it is because they are unaware or because they do not really understand the entire process.