When most people hear the word modernization, they don’t think of dialogue. Yet ensuring a shared strategy, common language and knowledge of security vulnerabilities among the C-suite and the boardroom is critical to a successful modernization.
Take, for example, the role of the Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) within a company. The astronomical increase in cyber-attacks and multiple points of vulnerability makes the CISO position critical to the business' success. Yet, too often, these leaders are isolated from other C-level executives, from the Board of Directors, and from the overall modernization strategy – despite being able to provide crucial information to these leaders.
Those organizations that have modernized and include the right team in the executive conversation, including the CISO, outperform their challengers. Socializing the CISO with other top-leaders also provides six additional, major benefits:
1. Empower Leaders with Vital Industry Insights
At the highest levels of management, leaders often lack knowledge around the organization’s cybersecurity posture and situational awareness – including line of sight on the greatest risks the company and their employees face. This includes the need to understand key data points around what CISOs are protecting in the first place, where the sensitive information is stored and how all sensitive data is being protected.
2. Bolster Risk Management Framework
Whenever a major attack occurs, it’s evident that most companies enter a panic mode, which often further undermines end-user confidence. By having a CISO address the board with a sound cybersecurity procedure that considers the broader risk management framework, organizations are better armed to mitigate potential cybersecurity breaches.
3. Protect the Business with an Executive Mitigation Plan
Too often, top executives are initially at a loss when a successful breach occurs. By aligning the CISO with top leaders, executives can be in lockstep when it comes to understanding the path they need to take the second a breach is uncovered. This can go a long way to earning customer confidence in a company.
4. Conceptualize a Proactive Plan towards Compliance
CISOs are becoming compliance experts, which is something most top executives often worry about. Especially with the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which offers stiff fines for companies that don’t protect the privacy of citizens from the European Union. By including CISOs in the boardroom, the board can get an expert’s view on regulatory compliance. This is useful particularly in highly regulated sectors like Retail or Finance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), Sarbanes-Oxley, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), or in Healthcare with HIPAA.
5. Build Synergy Between Leaders, especially the CIO
In large banks, for example, it is common for over 200 tools to exists that focus on managing data. This overabundance leads to the need to prove the value of data beyond simply protecting it. Otherwise, why invest in all those tools? By aligning CISOs with other C-level executives like Chief Analytic Officers (CAOs) and Chief Information Officers, organizations can get a better sense of the value of big data and big data initiatives.
6. Bolster Defenses and Better Protect the Customer
The more CISOs learn about the business, the more they are able to understand the customer and proactively search for ways to bolster defenses. This alignment also helps CISOs better understand situational awareness, potential threats and gaps, insider threat protection awareness, and the effectiveness of anti-phishing campaigns.
Modernization doesn’t always have to apply to technology. Often it can be something as seemingly innocuous as a conversation. The idea is to build a culture that fosters shared knowledge and strategies, so that organizations elevate the way they provide value to their customer, clients and employees.