Cybersecurity has long been in the domain of IT professionals. These experts can often give you great guidance and sound policies that enhance cybersecurity. But cybersecurity isn’t only for IT professionals and managed IT services. Cybersecurity starts and ends with the executive team.
It takes contributions from every single employee in the company to maintain a secure network environment. Only leadership can prioritize cybersecurity for all employees. Additionally, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance. All businesses are connected to the internet, which means a data breach or disruption can impact sales, crippling the organization’s ability to conduct business. Because of the importance of cybersecurity to maintaining business and the widespread nature of cybersecurity practices, the leadership team must be involved with setting cybersecurity policies and determining whether to use managed IT services.
While it is great to understand that executives must be involved in the organization’s cybersecurity, there are other reasons to include cybersecurity topics in all executive meetings. The inclusion of cybersecurity in these meetings designates a time and place for executives to address cybersecurity issues. One survey found that 40% of C-Suite executives admitted that they lacked a clear understanding of cybersecurity protocols within their organization.
But a clear understanding of cybersecurity protocols – and their deficiencies – is often the foundation of a plan to enhance security, which is vital to the company’s ongoing operations. Adding these topics to the executive meeting agenda is one way to ensure that the executive team can get the information they need about the company’s state of affairs. This action often leads to the leadership team identifying areas where they can devote additional resources to enhance current security measures, including managed IT services.
Why Some Companies Hire a CISO
Because of the need to increase cybersecurity visibility for the leadership team, many organizations have determined that they need to hire a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or appoint someone within their current security team to fulfill this role. This individual can work with the leadership team to establish and maintain a cybersecurity strategy and framework tailored to the organization’s specific digital threats. They can also ensure that the strategy and framework conform to industry standards and national and international compliance requirements. This individual will also be the connection between the leadership team and their managed IT services.
Defining the Critical Cybersecurity Functions
The leadership team – whether they identify a CISO or not – can also play a crucial role in the following critical cybersecurity functions:
- Identifying the roles and responsibilities for those implementing and managing cybersecurity measures. This function includes identifying the roles and access levels for all employees.
- Facilitating communication and collaboration across departments and divisions that results in a holistic approach to cybersecurity that benefits the entire organization.
- Incorporating cybersecurity risk assessment and management as a priority within the organization’s comprehensive risk management and mitigation processes.
- Leading employee training and education efforts.
- Providing recommendations to maintain or increase aspects of the organization’s preparedness.
- Identify the appropriate level of resources required to achieve the desired level of cybersecurity preparedness.
- Ensuring that any actions taken to improve cybersecurity are proportionate with the risk presented to the organization.
- Engaging in cybersecurity discussions with the IT team and communicating with the personnel accountable for achieving specific cybersecurity goals.
- Prioritizing employee training and education on cybersecurity. Employees take cues from leadership, and efforts to keep staff education current must be embraced by the leadership team. They can work with the IT department to develop and implement a cybersecurity training program for new employees and an ongoing one for existing employees. Employees should also have an understanding from leadership that cybersecurity training and practices are an integral part of their job responsibilities.
- Ensuring that cybersecurity considerations are accounted for when the organization enters into new contracts and arrangements with vendors and other third parties.
- Conducting regular reviews of the organization’s cybersecurity policies.
- Fostering an atmosphere that inspires innovation and prioritizes security concerns in all of its activities.
As you can see, the executive team plays an important role in cybersecurity. After all, they set the overall mission and direction of the company, including making decisions related to the allocation of resources. When cybersecurity becomes a priority for the executive team, it becomes a priority for the company. These executives promote the importance of security within the organization, including efforts related to employee training.
Executives must understand that they play an important role in the overall security and well-being of the company. Defending from digital attacks is now a permanent part of priorities for modern leaders. Bringing this topic to the forefront of executive meetings ensures that cybersecurity will get the attention it needs to secure your company’s data. To learn more about leadership’s role in cybersecurity, contact Sagacent Technologies today.
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning, and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.