Business Leader and their role in cybersecurity

A Business Leader’s Role in Cybersecurity

In today’s digital landscape, businesses are at a greater risk of cyberattacks than ever. With the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks, it has become imperative for business leaders to engage in cybersecurity initiatives actively. According to various studies:

  • 83% of consumers in the US claim they will stop spending at a business for several months immediately after a security breach. [1]
  • Over a fifth (21%) of consumers will never return post-breach. [2]
  • Half of small businesses (50%) that suffer a cyberattack go out of business within six months. [3]
  • 90% of SMBs have concerns about their company’s cyber-resilience or preparedness during a crisis. [4]
  • 83% of organizations have experienced more than one data breach. [5]
  • 43% of cyber-attacks occur on small businesses, and only 14% are prepared for them. [6]
  • 33% of data breach costs are loss of business. [7]
  • The average total cost of a data breach in 2023 is USD 4.45M, up from 2022. [8]

 

With statistics such as these, cybersecurity is not just a matter of protecting data and implementing a security department to oversee it; it’s a business imperative. In this blog, business leaders will gain insights into their role in cybersecurity, highlighting its importance and offering guidance on essential measures to ensure a secure business environment.

 

How Does a Business Leader Influence Cybersecurity?

Business leaders have a significant influence on cybersecurity within their organizations. By leveraging their authority and strategic vision, they can shape the company’s security posture and foster a culture of security throughout all levels of the organization. Here are key areas where business leaders can exert their influence:

 

  1. Influencer in Business Decisions and Priority Setting: As a business leader, you are crucial in decision-making. You can ensure that cybersecurity considerations are integrated from the outset by actively participating in discussions regarding technology investments, projects, and initiatives. By championing security initiatives, you prioritize data protection, ensure vulnerabilities are remediated, guarantee security requirements are integrated into projects, and improve overall business resilience.

 

  1. Setting Strategy and Vision for the Company: Business leaders have the authority to establish the strategic direction for the entire organization. In cybersecurity, this means developing a clear security strategy that aligns with the company’s goals and risk appetite. By defining the vision for cybersecurity, leaders can shape the organization’s security culture and guide its long-term security initiatives and investments.

 

  1. Fostering a Culture of Security: Creating a culture of security is a responsibility that starts at the top. Business leaders should lead by example and demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity. Leaders can instill a security-conscious mindset by openly discussing the importance of security, encouraging open communication about potential risks, and recognizing employees who prioritize security.

 

  1. Allocating Sufficient Resources: Business leaders control budgets and resource allocations, making them key decision-makers when investing in cybersecurity. Leaders must allocate sufficient resources to implement and maintain adequate security measures. This includes budgetary allocations for security technologies, personnel training, security audits, promoting security practices, and engaging external services when necessary. By providing the resources needed, leaders demonstrate their commitment to security and enable the organization to protect against evolving threats.

 

  1. Making Security a Priority: To ensure cybersecurity receives the attention it deserves, business leaders must make it a top priority within their companies, departments, and teams. Leaders create an environment where security is embedded in day-to-day operations by emphasizing the importance of all aspects of the business, from product development to customer service. This includes incorporating security requirements into projects, remediating vulnerabilities promptly, securely configuring systems, and ensuring that security becomes an integral part of the organization’s fabric.

 

 

Why Should Cybersecurity Be Important to a Business Leader?

There are several reasons why cybersecurity should be critical to a business leader:

 

  • Cyberattacks have increased in frequency, sophistication, and overall business impact: With the rise of cybercrime, businesses are facing increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, which can cause significant financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liabilities. Statistics increasingly reveal that many companies are not ready for a cyberattack and will not survive the damage it causes. Businesses must be better prepared to handle cyber threats.

 

  • Technology is essential in achieving business goals: In today’s digital era, businesses rely on technology to remain competitive. Therefore, protecting technology assets is critical for business continuity and success.

 

  • Regulatory compliance requires understanding overall business processes: Several regulatory frameworks, such as HIPAA and PCI-DSS, require organizations to have a robust cybersecurity program. Compliance with these regulations can help businesses avoid fines, lawsuits, and reputation damage.

 

  • Business leaders are better positioned to manage supply chain risks than IT personnel: They can identify and manage supply chain risks, which can significantly impact cybersecurity. Leaders are committed to ensuring a secure business environment by setting clear cybersecurity requirements, performing due diligence, and monitoring suppliers to ensure their vendors and partners have adequate cybersecurity controls.

 

  • Businesses should treat cybersecurity as an investment rather than a cost: Companies must avoid treating security as a cost and consider it an investment. Implementing an effective security program can reduce the risk of cyberattacks, lower insurance premiums, and increase customer trust. Customers are increasingly interested in their vendor’s security practices and want assurance that their supplier is investing in protecting their data.

 

Business Leaders Should Ensure Their Business:

To maintain a strong cybersecurity posture, business leaders should ensure their organization:

 

  1. Understand its risks: Conducting a risk assessment can help identify potential vulnerabilities and determine the potential impact of a cybersecurity incident. Additionally, conducting comprehensive risk assessments enables informed decision-making and the allocation of appropriate resources.

 

  1. Has the appropriate level of protection against predicted threats: Based on the risk assessment, the organization should implement reasonable security measures to protect against potential threats. Business leaders must ensure their organization has the appropriate level of protection against predicted threats. Protection mechanisms include implementing advanced security technologies like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, encryption, and multi-factor authentication.

 

  1. Has the appropriate administrative and technical controls (including insurance): Organizations must implement an effective cybersecurity program that includes administrative and technical controls to protect their technology assets. Controls may include policies, procedures, cyber insurance, strong access controls, and employee security awareness training. Controls will help mitigate security risks and ensure the company has a strong security posture.

 

  1. Implements a culture of security: Creating a security culture starts with leadership. Business leaders should prioritize cybersecurity awareness, encourage employees to adopt secure practices, include security requirements in projects, and report potential security incidents. Regular communication, training programs, and reward systems can foster a security-conscious workforce.

 

  1. Conducts security education and training: Cybersecurity is an ever-changing landscape, so it’s crucial to have a continuous training program to keep employees aware of new threats and risks.

 

  1. Has a response plan to security incidents: Business leaders should develop comprehensive incident response plans to minimize the impact of a breach, ensuring a swift and coordinated response. Regular testing and refinement of these plans are essential to maintaining their effectiveness.

 

Conclusion

As a business leader, your active involvement in cybersecurity is paramount for the success and resilience of your organization. Understanding your role in protecting against cyber threats, promoting a security culture, and implementing proactive security measures will safeguard your business, enhance customer trust, and drive long-term success. Partnering with cybersecurity experts like Vanguard Technology Group can provide the necessary expertise and guidance to navigate the evolving cybersecurity landscape and strengthen your organization’s security posture.

 

Remember, cybersecurity is not just an IT concern in the digital age but a business imperative.

About the Author

Brent Neal

Brent Neal

Brent Neal, the lead vCISO and principal advisor at Vanguard Technology Group, brings over 25 years of extensive experience in Security, IT, and GRC departments. With expertise in strategy, governance, program development, and compliance, Mr. Neal has paved the way for VTG’s comprehensive services. We specialize in providing holistic consulting, strategic planning, and tailored solutions to meet the unique security needs of various industries. Our expert guidance helps organizations establish a strong security posture, align initiatives with business objectives, and confidently navigate the evolving cybersecurity landscape.

References

  1. 83% of consumers in the US claim they will stop spending at a business for several months immediately after a security breach: Bitdefender, September 20, 2019, Businesses Can Lose Half of Customers after a Data Breach, Research Shows, https://www.bitdefender.com/blog/businessinsights/businesses-can-lose-up-to-58-of-customers-after-a-data-breach-research-shows/
  2. Over a fifth (21%) of consumers will never return post-breach: Bitdefender, September 20, 2019, Businesses Can Lose Half of Customers after a Data Breach, Research Shows, https://www.bitdefender.com/blog/businessinsights/businesses-can-lose-up-to-58-of-customers-after-a-data-breach-research-shows/
  3. Half of small businesses (50%) that suffer a cyberattack go out of business within six months: US Securities and Exchange Commission, October 19, 2015, The Need for Greater Focus on the Cybersecurity Challenges Facing Small and Midsize Businesses, https://www.sec.gov/news/statement/cybersecurity-challenges-small-midsize-businesses#_edn6
  4. 90% of SMBs have concerns about their company’s cyber-resilience or preparedness during a crisis: Kaspersky, Cyber-resilience during a crisis, https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/smb-cyber-resilience-report-2022/
  5. 83% of organizations have experienced more than one data breach: IBM Security, Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, https://www.ibm.com/account/reg/us-en/signup?formid=urx-51643&utm_content=SRCWW&p1=Search&p4=43700072379268622&p5=p&gclid=Cj0KCQjwk96lBhDHARIsAEKO4xb-k66lvYCKXITsFZljfkagzBBaa9lsbLPE1ZVhMHjw2cxKuALHc5EaAkQ_EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
  6. 43% of cyber-attacks occur on small businesses, and only 14% are prepared for them: Astra, June 19, 2023, 51 Small Business Cyber Attack Statistics 2023 (And What You Can Do About Them), https://www.getastra.com/blog/security-audit/small-business-cyber-attack-statistics/#:~:text=Top%20Small%20Business%20Cyber%20Security%20Statistics%202023,-Here%20are%20the&text=Accenture’s%20Cybercrime%20study%20reveals%20that,and%20%24653%2C587%20on%20cybersecurity%20incidents
  7. 33% of data breach costs are loss of business: IBM Security, Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, https://www.ibm.com/account/reg/us-en/signup?formid=urx-51643&utm_content=SRCWW&p1=Search&p4=43700072379268622&p5=p&gclid=Cj0KCQjwk96lBhDHARIsAEKO4xb-k66lvYCKXITsFZljfkagzBBaa9lsbLPE1ZVhMHjw2cxKuALHc5EaAkQ_EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
  8. Average total cost of a data breach in 2023 is $4.45M USD: IBM Security, Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, https://www.ibm.com/reports/data-breach?utm_content=SRCWW&p1=Search&p4=43700077724063991&p5=e&gclid=Cj0KCQjwxuCnBhDLARIsAB-cq1rnabOG7GNf8CfOWKR8aC2CWZEARUhkO06k8fTwvahoezYhDA1HDxIaAklJEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

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