When an executive doesn’t breathe security day to day like the CISO and CIO, their idea of security is a lot like onboarding a new software for team collaboration that they don’t use much.  They know the software helps operations, but they are unclear of its full potential.

The only way executives will understand the importance security plays in business is if they can understand it through something they can relate to; something that involves business and human components.  For example, protecting business valuables in the event of an unexpected situation like a fire.  Everyone knows what that is like.

So, let me ask you this, if you had to take five things with you in the event of a fire, what would they be?  Or if you had to protect these things at all costs, how would you do it?

In business terms, these five things are something your business couldn’t live without, such as: sustainability, growth, revenue, bottom line, and reputation.

Now let’s add security to these five important business components and see exactly what it means to your business.

Sustainability for a business involves managing a company’s environmental, social and financial demands, as well as the concerns that ensure responsibility and ongoing success; and without security all those areas are in danger.

When a business gets hacked, their environment, which can include the network and data centers or cloud where data gets stored are all now infiltrated by an outsider.  This outsider has access to your data and if the breach is caused by malware, let’s say ransomware, your business operations could become inaccessible to you.

This situation affects responsibility now that your customer’s data is in danger and it definitely affects the business environment seeing as you are potentially offline and without access to your environment.  In turn, the breach also makes a dent in your cash flow due to breach costs, and therefore affects business growth; because you are now losing money due to the clients you will lose following breach and because of the cost per breached record that you will have to pay.

If cash flow is affected, so is your revenue for that year; and again, you see the connection between how prepared you are to respond to breach depending on what security measures you have in place.  Incident response and policies and procedures all play a role in how much of your revenue gets impacted by a breach.

Think about the recent Equifax breach, they are losing money to repair the aftermath of breach and their bottom line is also suffering because of the incident.  Furthermore, the repercussions to a company’s bottom line doesn’t only last a year, just look at Target.  Additionally, study after study shows the dangers businesses face with breach, including the possibility of going out of business completely.

Reputation, the last of the five business areas impacted by security, is as straightforward as they come.  Even though news coverage is good for business, it’s not when you’re on the first page because of breach and headlines that highlight the steps you have or haven’t taken to properly implement an effective holistic security posture.

With all of this in mind and the knowledge that running a business today requires you to be connected to a network at all times and work with digital data, how prepared are you to protect these five important business aspects in the event of a fire, in the event of a breach?

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Photo courtesy of Sergey Nivens