In this day and age, where everything is going digital; CEOs can no longer, and aren’t any longer, ignoring cybersecurity. Some CEOs do their best to adopt a cybersecurity posture that secures their organization, but others are still in a place of insecurity, and this doesn’t come from lack of trying.
The thing is, a CEO isn’t in the knowledge of cybersecurity; they’re in the knowledge of running a business and trying to ensure its success. Now, a CIO is helpful to get a business on the right track, but not always does this mean true security for that business. The reasons for this continuous state of lack in cybersecurity within the enterprise are many.
One of the most important reasons is the fact that the CIO isn’t always able to convey the imminent need for a business to do more for cybersecurity in a way that the CEO understands.
Some CIOs try to communicate the need to do more, but due to the lack of in-depth knowledge of the CEO on cybersecurity matters (it not being their area of expertise), the CEO thinks that what is being presented to them is an exaggeration and/or unnecessary. This is also why typically; a business only becomes proactive in reaching a holistic and healthy cybersecurity posture after a breach takes place.
It’s human psychology; until faced with the problem face on, the experience of needing to do something more in an area that isn’t within one’s peripheral view (and mindset), won’t become obvious and is disregarded as exaggerated by another person bringing forth that need (the CIO when for example they bring up to the CEO that more budget, resources and people are needed).
A very simple way to set CEOs on the right track when looking into cybersecurity on their own or when talking about cybersecurity with their CIO is the following three-step guide (a cheat sheet or checklist of sorts).
True (or as the industry calls it: holistic) cybersecurity comes from:
These three things enable a CEO to know what to look for when thinking about cybersecurity and wanting to do it right, without waiting for breach to take place; and without the CEO having to learn about cybersecurity in an in-depth way.
Let’s take a closer look at what key areas these three-steps involve so that it becomes clear what to look for when implementing such an approach to cybersecurity within the enterprise or what needs to be done when wanting to implement cybersecurity to beat risks and get ahead of threats.
You need to have security experts at your side.
- Whether it’s an in-house CIO or a risk management company such as NCX Group that has the expertise you need ready to assist you to implement a holistic cybersecurity posture.
This person gets you to set up your foundation for cybersecurity which involves everything from tools to technology updates (anti-virus and server set-up, software, patching, PC updates, etc.) to setting up business continuity plans, to incident response and disaster recovery, to employee cybersecurity awareness training (including how to recognize a phishing email, which if interested, we have a cybersecurity training option for SMBs that starts you off for free, here’s the link); and appropriate use of BYOD and/or IoT device use within the enterprise and when working remotely.
You need to understand that there is no silver bullet to cybersecurity, it’s a process that involves the entire way you run your business, take care of your data, and how your entire network and operations work together online and offline.
- This means your business continuity and disaster recovery plans, for example, are always actively in place, not set away in a file cabinet never to be seen again (well, not until disaster strikes).
Even though this seems hard, it isn’t once you realize that integrating cybersecurity within how you run your business, simply means: having eyes on all your data and your network; updating software and technology according to where those updates are needed; evaluating the tools you use (third-party tools and apps included) with security in mind; and keeping up with the privacy requirements to protect your business data (employees and clients).
You want to adopt cybersecurity tools that help to reduce alerts (false positives), which take away a lot of time and brainpower from the people in your security team (especially if your security team is a solo operation).
- Your security expert is the one who can best advise you on the suite of cybersecurity tools and technology that are best to invest in, while keeping in mind the other two components to a holistic cybersecurity posture (people and process).
In the absence of a security expert to advise you, just remember, that one piece of technology can’t keep you secure from all cyber risks. It’s not because the companies that create the technology aren’t doing their best; it’s that cyber criminals are always actively looking for ways to get inside your network. With that in mind, choose technology that has eyes on your network, your data, your cloud and/or data center, and also all equipment you use within the office.
This three-step guide is essentially, the basic foundation for a holistic cybersecurity posture that will help any CEO to be proactive with cyber risks and to set up cybersecurity within their business operations in a way that prepares to fend against existing and new cyber risks long-term.
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