COVID-19 Becoming a Catalyst for Evolving Cybersecurity Leadership

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COVID-19 Becoming a Catalyst for Evolving Cybersecurity Leadership

The main challenge for cybersecurity executives is to integrate risk-mitigating technology into core processes and services perfectly — and to play the long- term game right.

Cyber security professionals are a lot like the first responders, responsible for training, practicing, and endlessly conditioning themselves for the enterprises from the cyber miscreants. Some people are very comfortable in this role, and others aren’t, which often remain the determining factor in the making of a successful cybersecurity leader.

COVID-19 is a risk that the world is combating together, and it’s time for the cyber leaders to shine — taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by the crisis and demonstrate impressive management. CISO should focus on building strategic leadership by establishing a thoughtful vision for how organizations’ security could be best executed for both now and the post-coronavirus world.

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The pandemic has brought cybersecurity in the fore-front and center for all governments and enterprises. Whether the ruling topic is unemployment, or working from home benefits, or streamlining business processes via digital signatures, cyber leaders need to seize the opportunity and seize it fast.

Working from home indeed remains the top-discussed industry issue, since COVID-19 has resulted in organizations transitioning a majority of their office-based operations to the sudden form of remote work. This initially looked like a temporary remedy to be safe from a virus. Still, it’s becoming evident that many of these remote workers may never be returning to their office cubicles, as remote working becomes the new normal. Security leaders need to transition their response from viewing remote working vulnerabilities as a temporary problem in identifying more permanent futuristic solutions.

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Remote work isn’t at all a new business practice, but what’s concerning is the rapidity and urgency in which this transition was made. The security concerns are escalated by a vast and growing landscape of online communication options such as teleconferencing, with enhanced usage of cloud services and apps. The use of data without having adequate remote security policy or technology controls also remains a grave concern. Employees at home are playing games and scrolling Facebook on the same computers that they are accessing sensitive data on. And, securing such systems is the real core challenge in hand.

CISOs have struggled for years to establish their existence amongst other executive leaders. The pandemic is their moment to prove their responsibility, worth, and involvement. Security is never a one-time problem to be solved; it’s a long-term business risk to manage. The security leaders must focus on strengthening their security program to ensure that the focus is on the long game instead of just short-term goals. The CISOs need to have a compass, not a map, to continuously predict future-risks and tackle them in real time to reduce the impact.

CIOs need to develop well thought out future-proof business continuity plans to manage risks in most organizations. Now it is the time to be creative — creative in the use of people and resources, creative in negotiating new contracts with vendors, and creative in extracting maximum value out of the existing technology. The focus should be on how to further integrate cybersecurity technology into the core services and processes in a way to find the real value by mitigating risk.